In Sadistic Pleasures, an independent journalist documents the true stories of torture, pain, and merciless psychological abuse endured by 14 Armenian soldiers and civilians who became prisoners of war in Azerbaijan during the Forty-Four Day War in 2020 for control of the autonomous Republic of Artsakh. This book contains their first-hand memoirs of what goes on behind enemy lines, hidden from the scrutiny of the United Nations and international human rights organizations.
The testimonies of these brave POWs reveal the mindsets of the perpetrators of heinous war crimes during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War—ordinary people who are motivated by generations of political indoctrination of hatred for Armenians. They expose an international epidemic of racism and bigotry behind this humanitarian crisis in the Turkic world that must be overcome through free journalism and public reporting before peace can ever return to this disputed territory.
Additionally, these historic interviews are framed by a historical overview of how the dispute over Artsakh arose. Included here is the region's ancient past, Stalin's reassignment of the region to Azerbaijan during the Soviet Union, the near-unanimous declaration of independence in 1991, the First Nagorno-Karabakh War that followed, and the 26 years of frozen conflict with Armenia since.
"Arakelyan portrays the victims who were targeted because of their identity and not because of their personality: targeted because they were Armenians. These individual stories tell the reader about hatred of the Armenian ethnicity, that the victims were victimized not because of their goodness or malice but because they belonged to a certain group of people. They tell of the physical and psychological damage the victims suffered during their captivity.
This publication is not only an important documentation of individual fates but also a source of evidence of international crimes committed before, during, and after the Forty-Four Day War in Artsakh in 2020."
"Sadistic Pleasures… offers devastating insights into the dynamics of violence defined by a national hatred handed down over many generations, by distrust of one's neighbor, driven by the need for revenge.
Reading this book highlights the chasms of violence to which nationalism leads and invites us to empathize with the victims. It also demonstrates the helplessness of human rights organizations in the face of perpetrators who are determined to dehumanize those at their mercy, to cause them lasting physical and psychological harm. This book prompts us to make an emphatic commitment to humanity and sincere adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law. Sadistic Pleasures is an indispensable source, valuable documentation from which to draw a sense of the inexplicable."