Today, Azerbaijan
Jan 6 2010

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 clearly be 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

- "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

- "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

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