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Afet Sariyev
The lessons
of Afet Sariyev
in Human Rights Defenders School
December 2007
The lessons of Afet Sariyev The lessons of Afet Sariyev The lessons of Afet Sariyev The lessons of Afet Sariyev The lessons of Afet Sariyev
Step into the Dialogue 2:
Azerbaijan - Armenia - Turkey

Caucasus Center
of Peace-Making Initiatives

by support British Embassy in Armenia
The principles of today’s government of our country is both the logical suggestions of “yesterday’s” military events and the logical grounds for tomorrow’s peaceful processes. At the present political time period, the future normalization of the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia is being established.

It is quite reasonable to have great patience for the sake of the preservation of lives of hundreds and thousands of young people of either side which inevitably are destined to die and become invalids in case no peaceful solution of the problem is found. I hope Azerbaijan is firmly abiding by this principle.

I have heard a lot from our intellectuals stating about the directions and wishes of young people: to die for the Homeland is honor. They wish to clarify that at the same it is disgraceful and shameful of the rest of them, if they failed to seize the opportunity to prevent the death of the hero for his or her Homeland.

Fortunately, our president is progressive enough not to make mistakes in such priorities, not to be seized by panic or hysteria of the claims of the “patriots” urging to start a war. In due time, when it was necessary to undertake similar steps, such “patriots” had already avoided shedding their own blood by leaving the territories and running to settle down in big cities. And now they wish to rectify their acts and deeds at the expense of the new generation and at expense of their blood (they are sure to be in the front). At the same time they even wish to build their political career at their blood. It is the Karabakh conflict which gave cause for such people to rise to the political arena which was already under the attention of the people. Say, it is a psychological factor of the attraction of the military situation for such people. A man, known as commonplace and ordinary to some people only and who cannot be an example for patriotism, has a chance of satisfying his or her own vanity without even putting much of his or her intellectual efforts in it. The environment of such people is a tool for the excitement of the effects, that is a momentary dissatisfaction of unfarsighted citizens, appeals to destruction and murders.

To a great pity, such appeals were always attractive for dull-witted people, whose personal life was less perspective. And that is the reason why the instrument of influence always works smoothly in third countries.

Appeals and pathetic shouts deprived of any normal grounds, that is the traditional speech which is heard from the stands and used by new “patriots” who were involved in the war for the territory for the reasons of mega-political intrigues.

It become common for many people to make claims and demands and use such expressions from the stands as “people demand…”, “people want…”. In this way, radicalism, in spite of the violence of its achievements, gradually assumes a shape of a “national psychology” for conflicting nations.

Those who propose applying other approaches are stigmatized by such groups of traitors. That is why it is still better to think as a “flock” or “herd” than based on objective criteria and be critical to oneself. Besides, it can exclude many “leaders” which they will never allow to be. In order that it will never happen, we need to create an image of “genetic enemy”, that is, of the corresponding side of the conflict. We need to continuously emphasize negative views and aspects of the project. The apogee in this is that any Armenian is an enemy to an Azerbaijanian and any Azerbaijanian is an enemy to an Armenian. Moreover, immoral acts in respect of each other can be regarded as legitimate.

As a result, shameful and disgraceful Sumgait and Khojali events emerged. They are an example to the above-mentioned data. I consider that joint processes disclosing the criminals and offenders against mankind are to be held in respect of the events. It should not be forgotten the brutality existing at the start of the conflict on frontier zones! Freedom to sadists who do not earn contempt but honor for his or her “work” done! Do today’s shouters and babblers demand the same state of our nation “in the name of the nation itself”? The inadmissibility of this state for the sake of saving future victims of their “patriotism” is evident for any sensible citizen. Therefore, it is vital to make any possible and impossible efforts for it never to happen anymore.

One of such efforts is regarded to be a more honest attitude to understanding of the process of the peaceful decision which ought to automatically remove the propaganda of the image of the so called “genetic enemy” and replace it with a sense of a nation which rarely approves the decisions of its leaders.

Personally, it is quite clear for me that intellectual people were not affected by the radicalism taking place under the skies of the conflicting sides.

Music, painting, literature, poetry, if they are not the servers, then they are not affected by the propaganda of the image of an enemy. Science is all the more so. What on earth do they fall under the zone of universal hatred? Why not listen to love songs sung “at the other side of the conflict”? What are our politicians scared of? Scared of agitations and propaganda of an enemy voice? It appears they have no trust for the people (that is, for themselves) even at such a level. But even if it is so, does it not speak of danger of its own agitation and propaganda by applying methods of manipulation and mesmerization of the people, though with an opposite sign?

The creation of similar informative vacuum only hinders from making real estimation of today’s state of affairs.

Why is it so that some official from TV can stop the screening of a Russian movie on ORT without permission only for the reason that the movie is called “Armenian wedding?” Who authorized his or her to carry out such a “patriotic” job?

The informative vacuum is being generated in all the layers of our conflicting countries. Do the diplomatic contacts dealing with peaceful solution of the conflicts of authorized representatives have to be held behind the closed doors? No matter how much you think, you will never be able to find any reasonable justification for a permanent job. For what reason do the elected representatives of the people have to conceal their negotiations from the people themselves? Why do we have to hear such indefinite and obscure standard phrases about crucial and fatal negotiations of the presidents, ministers of foreign affairs and others and not a single word of theirs? It is indeed the deepening and intensification of the vacuum which is not to happen. Such actions cannot fall under the category of civilized attitude to the conflicting subject. It can only hinder its peaceful solution. Both of the nations ought to make their choice out of the created informative vacuum. Moreover, they ought to follow the negotiations of their leaders and, if they wish, they ought to have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the situation going on “on the other side” in the lives of ordinary people. They ought to find ways to compare themselves so as to be devoid of any mutual phobia.

Just talk to the veteran of the Patriotic War whether he has ever listened to Bach or Beethoven music with hatred when the Germans bombed his country? This question may sound absurd and preposterous. And this happened in case of a real enemy who is willing to enslave and physically destroy his country. In our case, it is another, incomparable, but at the same time it is a reaction, the reason of which is a complete infectiousness of this phobia which is rather intensified.

Both cold and tuberculosis have a common symptom, that is cough and both of them are considered to be diseases. But we are regarding them as equally fatal diseases.

A similar differentiation is required in our case. There is no point in treating all alike or reducing all to the same level. In our case, we are dealing with relations which are to be settled and with not the war which should take place according to some people considering themselves the most patriotic of all patriots. That is why the annihilation of one part of the population living in Karabakh for the good of another part of it is an act of brutality, offense for a civilized world.

Probably, it is high to put an end to it. The war only takes place de jure. De facto… - unfortunately, there is no suitable term for it to express our longstanding fatigue and sickness of what is going on around.

It differs from the present war in the fact that its end presupposes a mandatory joint inhabitation on Karabakh territory on one and the same streets and in one and the same houses of Armenians and Azerbaijanians. A safe travel and movement of these representatives is supposed to take place on territories.

However, one must be nearsighted so as not to see archicomplexity of the achievement of such a world after experiencing exasperation of the population towards each other for so many years. These representatives will face difficulties living on the powder-barrel of Karabakh when any trifle event can lead to bloodshed.

As a matter of fact, to prevent it from happening through overseas peacemaking forces is a complete fiction. It is a short-lived and ineffective measure. Blood will be inevitably shed among the population if the order is attempted to be administered through foreign methods of force. There will surely be a group of people who will benefit by this mass slaughter in Karabakh. No peacemaking forces will ever make them stop. Thus, it will lead to many provocations.

It appears that long-expected solution of one problem will smoothly and gradually pass onto another, the second problem. The declaration of the guarantee of a quiet life is simply words, that is why they are not regarded as serious.

Probably, it is not only a political but also a social consent of the conflicting countries on the preventive settlement of the imminent problem, the obligatory integration of such ethnic group of Karabakh people and the nations, on the whole. We have to seek consent from now.

But what is it that we have to consent with and what is not? It is the question!

Which is better: to speak the way most of us do or demand administering self-critical approach to the conflict situation?

In the first case, most of people experience a psychological crisis which brings about a sincere conviction that he or she has indeed a critical approach, but he simply shares the opinions of the majority. As an example, let us take the communists-atheists who are now certain that they have always believed in God, but concealed this fact. Tomorrow, God forbid, if an old regime is established, then I am dead sure that they will sincerely assert the opposite.

This example can be applied to most of other deeds of people looking like and acting like werewolves (not in a bad sense of a word).

In the second case, its social outcasts represented in the society in small numbers, but necessary for the development of the country. Since they are regarded to be the catalysts of new approaches in critical situations, then a question sacramental to one’s logic is raised before the people: “And why is it so and not the other way?” As a rule, the correct discussion on such questions always reveals something new hidden either intentionally or unintentionally.

In order not to solve the second problem, although to alleviate it as much as possible and as far as possible, it is necessary to conduct very serious work starting from “yesterday”. And the solution of the problem is not to be regarded as secondary and of minor importance. Otherwise, further it will be too late.

Afet Sariyev
The article was written in 2005
Publication date: 19-01-2008