Can peace be spontaneous?
Azerbaijan, December 1st – arrival and follows a rhythm I appreciate. December 2nd, meeting at the UN – recommended by the UN office in Baku. I met Mr. U. Mirzayev, president of The International Press Institute on December 3. A long encounter, where he talks about his childhood shattered by conflict and his family’s refugee status. Will I understand the Nagorny Karabakh conflict that has been lasting for 30 years? I might not find the solution to peace if peace is not wanted.
Mr. Mirzayev admits that he hates Gorbachev! The one we admired in the West made some mistakes on his way out. The Armenian lobby is strong and Gorbachev had two Armenian advisers and during the Soviet Union soldiers were made of Armenians, but not from Azerbaijanis. I am told of the conflict, of the territory torn apart, of the void that this leaves in them. Okay, I could write an article on the conflict, books have been. But three decades later, who are the Azerbaijanis today? Their daily life? I’m trying to understand hatred versus “we will never forgive.”
I often travel with a word
Hatred is a word that questions me for a few days now. I realize that I don’t really know hate. There are those who annoy me royally as I am very impatient, but hate? I’m looking for and I don’t think I know the feeling. Hate to the point of killing? To hope for the death of someone. Again I am reminded of my society, the one that has known so few conflicts, where we were not taught to hate those we did not agree with even if we were not encourage to marry them! The society now talk about peace in the world, peace in its heart. I think of my hours of meditation, my search for inner peace and once again, I see there are evidently several worlds in our world.
Then, and it came as a surprise, Mr. Mirzayev offered me an apartment for free. Could peace come so spontaneously. Sometimes we tend to believe in miracles, but I must admit I internally appealed to them. I already had the impression of doing it when I started this trip.
Mr. Mirzayev also agreed to put me in contact with journalists in all the countries of Central Asia. With that and the UN, I can make my way in the region. The funding remains !! Let’s see if the miracles will continue in 2020.
I am offered an appartment that brings me the word “us.”
The next step is to cross that sea
It’s Saturday morning, pyjamas and tea. There are no coffee makers and no toaster in the Airbnb. Instant coffee? I had forgotten it existed. Linked to our great need for habits, breakfast is the meal we are most attached to. Important part of our table-culture. The positive view is that this tea cure might be good for my health!
It’s been slow in Georgia and I won’t have time to go to Armenia before the Christmas and New Year holiday season. Little by little my reading helps me to understand the Nagorny Karabakh Karabakh conflict and relations with Armenia.
I will hear the story, seen from across the border, at a later date. There is the idea that the powers may be fueling the conflict. Such a good reason to justify their power over their population. Refugees and their children still have refugee status. We need to have figures. What is the real source of this conflict? The desire of the territory by the Armenians? The desire of the Russians to have conflicts in the region? Russia sells weapons to both sides. Status Quo: let’s review all this after the death of Putin who keeps a military base in Armenia and who promised to use it if Azerbaijan tries to recover its territory with the weapons it sells to them. Yes, you have to be strong to discover the world through politics. I don’t know yet what children learn at school.
One of our great similarities in the world is that we are all brainwashed.
I’m invited to speak in a sociology class at UDA University in Baku. I am a little surprise to see more young men than young women. Statistics are starting to show even in the classrooms. The conservative movement is strong and they abort the girls the minute the test confirms the gender of the fetus. Azerbaijan is very close to being the first of the gender gap in the world 118/100. Soon they will overtake China.
I like to talk to men.
Every day I am asked if I like Azerbaijan. We need to be loved and I find it interesting that we also need our country to be loved. Our collective image as a group matters. Another interesting question is: “Do you see us in the east or west?”
A good centre to look into all directions.
In Baku, I feel more in Europe than in Asia. They want to see themselves in the West. They would like to have, as in Georgia, the right to travel to Europe without a visa. Politics decided otherwise. With neighbors like Russia, Turkey, Iran and Central Asia on the other shore of the Caspian Sea, it is difficult to exclude politics in decisions.
Even if the West might not approve of it all, like it or not, at some point you have to have relationships with your neighbors. Whatever the neighbors life has offered you.
Here is the land of fire gas and oil, I do not know if they are loved but they are desired by people from all horizons. In power, a family educated in Russia, which controls everything and does not share everything. An oligarchy very conscious of its reputation wanting to build a modern country.
What makes it very interesting to me, coming from Quebec, is that Azerbaijan is a secular country. We talk more easily about secularism here than in Canada. They do not hide their pride of it.
Secularism and education and so much more. I would like to go more about the good bequests left by the late Soviet Union. I will focus on that as I continue in the region. But corruption, economic inequalities, inequalities between men and women, the lack of democracy during elections and an almost nonexistent civil society .
What we do to humanity for the love of power! For one, we let go of our youth in search of opportunities in other countries.
I’m leaving for Ganja, the country’s second city to search for “my family.” Why not a family in Baku? People in Baku seem to think the country is Baku. The scenario of daily lives of families in the capital city has become the same as in every big city in the world: Rushing through the day. Pushing your way into the subway.
Here people are very polite. I am always offered a seat in public transports. But when it time to enter a metro car, no one is polite! I still have not learned how to push. It brings me back to Estonia, to Moldova. Pushing your way during the Soviet Union years, that would be an interesting subject I had not thought of yet.
But hey, I like Baku, the color, the way all architecture blend well together. I like the beautiful facade on the sea that hides so well its inequalities.