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Myths and phobias by Armenians: Reflection on "enemy image"

06 January 2010 [12:58] - TODAY.AZ
Remove or not remove? Today many people ask this question referring to the "enemy image", rooted in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Some argue that by getting rid of phobias, the parties will easily build confidence that will create a primary condition for peace in the region. Others argue that conflict resolution is impossible without any psychological change. Some intellectuals attribute the shuttle visits that they make from time to time to a need to communicate while more radical people cultivate phobia, insisting on impossibility of living together.

Of course, both sides have certain phobias and complexes. It does not matter where the horse will stand – before or behind the cart. The main thing is that this cart moves steadily in the right direction, even if it does not pull, but pushes the horse. The issue of speed becomes awkward after nearly 16 years of unsuccessful negotiations.

As a former presenter of the "Crossroads" TV program, I dealt with this same "enemy image" for 9 years. I failed to remove it. I do not believe it to be possible untill at least one square meter of the occupied territories is liberated. I have quite peculiar experience, and would like to share some thoughts.

Outside experts are right in their arguments that the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is full of various myths. Each side is convinced of its absolute rightness and lie of the enemy. It often reaches full absurd and marasmus. Participants of back discussions believe that allegedly some elements give them even more rights. In this case, let's talk about the wrong track held by Armenian "experts".

It is alleged that:

- "As Armenians are indigenous people, they  have a historic right to the territory of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and Georgia."

In fact, they are viewing Dagestan and the North Caucasus, but in view of special relations with Russia. No specific public statements are made in this regard. In my humble understanding, to claim the territory of neighboring states by defying the history (more than doubtful, although it is not the decisive moment) is a blatant mockery over the international law. If one revises borders of countries under that principle, the world will look totally different and wrong. Exaltation of one nation over others is an ordinary fascism. In the meantime, there is little prove to show who are indigenous people in our region. Everyone has his/her own "truth".

- “Azerbaijanis, like Turks, have always killed Armenians, including women and children.”

I will not argue about the "genocide of 1915”, let them to address this issue with Turks amid  “warming of relations." But people in Azerbaijan have no doubt that in this period (+ / - a few years), the carnage in Zangazur, Karabakh, Shamakhi, Baku, Guba and other cities were committed by Armenians. There is enough evidence to prove it.

 - "Armenians in Karabakh has always been oppressed and hated."

No "expert" brings intelligible evidence in this respect. In the meantime, worsening of “the Karabakh issue" is primarily due to the events of 1965, when Moscow, offended by Ankara, allowed Armenians to organize the first demonstration over the notorious "genocide". Another reason was that Azerbaijanis were also nominated to high-rank state positions not in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, but in the former Azerbaijan SSR in general after Heydar Aliyev came to power. Armenian elite in Azerbaijani began “to rock the boat” precisely after this.

- “Armenians were expelled from Nakhchivan.”

Yes, at present there is no Armenian there or their number is small (unfortunately, the exact statistics of mixed marriages are not available). But what about Azerbaijanis who once made up absolute majority in Yerevan and minority in Armenia?

- “It was Azerbaijanis who first began the military conflict.”

This statement sounds unconvincing, because refugees from Qafan [Armenian city] appeared earlier than other events occurred. Aside from this, it was Armenians who shot two young Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

- "Armenians have a right to self-determination."

First, who said that this right is prevailing in international relations? Secondly, Armenians have a country like Armenia where they can determine their destiny. Thirdly, let someone first prove that Armenians were able to fully self-determine in Armenia’s territory. Fourthly, self-determination does not mean complete separation without fail or annexation. Fifthly, why in this case Azerbaijanis deported from Armenia are denied the same right?

- "Rights of national minorities is violated in Azerbaijan.”

Oh my Lord, Azerbaijan has these minorities at least, but what about mono-nation Armenia? Maybe, they will still show Yezidi Kurds, who are often commit self-immolation outside Armenian state authorities?

- “Azerbaijan possess nothing except oil and gas.”

This is a false position. Facts and figures clearly show that Azerbaijan has everything plus oil and gas. No other way.

- "Azerbaijan does not respect human rights, therefore, Armenians will not be able to live under Baku’s jurisdiction".

Is Armenia a cradle of democracy? Slaughter of  March 1, 2008 revealed essence of the regime in Yerevan while Azerbaijan “cannot boast such events.”

-  "Azerbaijan does not display constructive position constantly threatening by resumption of hostilities."

Then does Armenia display such position by holding Azerbaijan’s territory under occupation and dusting all the brains for almost 16 years? I propose an experiment - Armenians return Karabakh and in addition we take away Zangazur  region from them. Who will be more aggressive?

The list of myths and phobias can become infinite. I am very far from argueing that all ideas voiced in Azerbaijan are absolute. But there is a great truth - the longer the negotiation process will last,  the more "falsehood" will appear. It is high time to put an end to the conflict, because I do not think that living together is impossible. The more hatred is cultivated, the more we will be ashamed to look into each other's eyes in the future.

Kanan Guluzade
Day.Az writer

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