On December 7-11, 2020, Mirza Dinnayi, 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate and Co-Founder and Director of Luftbrücke Irak (Air Bridge Iraq), traveled to Armenia and Artsakh to show his solidarity and support local humanitarian efforts.
“Since the war and until the war was stopped, I was dreaming to visit Armenia, because I wanted to see my lovely people, my lovely friends, and to see what’s happened with them. It was emotionally important for me to see what the situation was,” said the activist to Mediamax.
Mr. Dinnayi’s started his visit by paying respect to the wounded soldiers currently being treated in the Erebuni Medical Centre and Heratsi Hospital Complex. Having dedicated his life to making sure armed conflict survivors get the best medical care, the activist was impressed with the quality of healthcare services provided by local hospitals and eager to discuss cooperation opportunities between Air Bridge Iraq and the Heratsi Hospital Complex. “We have great experience in the treatment of injuries and post-traumatic disorders and will be able to focus on those projects,” stated Mirza Dinnayi, adding that the post-war period was more difficult than war.
|Mirza Dinnayi at the Heratsi Hospital Complex. Yerevan, Armenia, December 8, 2020|
After that, Mirza Dinnayi, whose father Hassan Ali Agha used to be Chief of the Dinnayi Yazidi tribe in Iraq, went to Quba Mere Diwane, the largest Yazidi temple in the world located in Aknalich, Armenia, to meet with the members of the local community. Talking about the historic ties between the Armenians and the Yazidis, who form the largest minority group in the country, Mr. Dinnayi has previously stated that “people who have survived genocides and other crimes against humanity have something in common. They all – Armenians, Jews, Rwandans, Congolese, Bosnians and Yazidis – have believed in one principle: they were chosen to survive by destiny, because they have a duty to fight for the rest of our human community.” Following that, the 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate took part in a stamp cancellation ceremony organized by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in cooperation with HayPost and the Ministry of High-Tech Industry of Armenia.
|Mirza Dinnayi meeting with the members of the local Yazidi community. Aknalich, Armenia, December 8, 2020|
On December 9, Mr. Dinnayi departed to Artsakh to meet with local officials and people affected by the war. He also had an opportunity to get a closer look at the locations of some of the 46 projects for Artsakh supported by Aurora. Mr. Dinnayi visited Kindergarten #1 where windows that have been destroyed by the shelling are currently being restored with Aurora’s funding. His next stop was at the Stepanakert Rehabilitation Center named after Caroline Cox, which has been providing rehabilitation to children and adults with disabilities since 2008. Today, soldiers and civilians who have suffered casualties during the war are getting treatment there on a daily basis. Mirza Dinnayi met with Vartan Tadevosyan, the center’s director. After that, Mr. Dinnayi headed to the Stepanakert Clothing Factory where women who have lost their sons and husbands during the war or are still looking for them have the opportunity to work and communicate with each other, trying to return to normal life.
|Mirza Dinnayi looking at the Kindergarten #1 damaged during the war. Stepanakert, Artsakh, December 9, 2020|
Later, 2019 Aurora Prize Laureate Mirza Dinnayi also met with Artak Beglaryan, Ombudsman of the Republic of Artsakh, to discuss the aftermath of the war and the damage it has inflicted upon the civilian population now facing a full-scale humanitarian crisis. Mr. Dinnayi has made a point of the importance of raising international awareness of the situation in the region that too often remains overlooked by the global community: “Since everyone is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, few know what is going on in Artsakh.” Together, Mr. Dinnayi and Mr. Beglaryan visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Stepanakert where soldiers of both Artsakh wars are buried. Before departing Armenia on December 11, Mirza Dinnayi also visited the Yerablur Military Pantheon to honor the memory of the Armenians who have sacrificed their lives for their homeland.
|Mirza Dinnayi at the Yerablur Military Pantheon. Yerevan, Armenia, December 11, 2020|
This visit was part of Aurora's international program of inviting the world humanitarian leaders to Artsakh. By bringing them to the region, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative aims to find new opportunities to help the people of Artsakh, to support Artsakh’s international standing, and to highlight both Aurora’s program in the region and its role as an active member of the global humanitarian community. Summing up his visit to Artsakh, Mirza Dinnayi said: “The world doesn’t know enough about the situation in Artsakh. The timing was bad for poor people in Artsakh, because all Europe and the world were busy with COVID-19. We need to raise more awareness about the plight of the people from the humanitarian point of view.”