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Sleeping with the Enemy

4 August 2010 No Comment

Prologue

I click a link on Facebook posted by a friend. It takes me to news published in an unfamiliar media outlet. “Azeri girl…love with ….Armenian….Disgrace…. Azerbaijan in shock…..”.

I read on… a love-affair between an Armenian and an Azeri girl studying in London. As far as we know, an Azeri girl, apparently the daughter of one sinister, pardon, minister. But did the media conduct a social survey? How can someone assess the whole country being in shock? What is the barometer of disgrace?

My neighbor who can never forgive himself if he misses any news on TV did not hear about this “shocking” news. The gossip women in the business center who know the latest snippets about everyone’s life are silent about the “disgrace”. My friends, some of which are moderate nationalists and jump at this kind of news, are not aware of this “treacherous” love-affair.

Clear. Mediocre media strategy. Mediaeval media tactics.

Media evil.

———

In every civilization politics has always been engaged in the manipulation of minds, provocation of the crowd, and speculation when it comes to ‘news.’ And the mediocre media was the direct tool to achieve it.

And the media in both Armenia and Azerbaijan are of this kind. They have always been trying to depict an ugly image of the other and agitate hatred and bias among the masses. The use of the “enemy factor” in the media is especially an enticing “shockonator” for nationalists in both countries, showing that Azeris cannot stand Armenians and vice versa.

As for shock and disgrace, there is a big question in my mind as to what shock and disgrace this love-affair represented. There are many other things in both countries that are a total disgrace, starting with corruption, through human rights violations, and ending with an outdated mentality.

And while I can consider the possibility of this love-affair happening, I question whether it could shock the whole of Azerbaijan. Objectively speaking, there are many people from Armenia and Azerbaijan who meet, befriend and fall in love with each other. Following the logic of the media, Armenia and Azerbaijan should have fallen into a state of stupor long ago.

Politics and media. The two helpmates in propaganda. But as every harmful thing with side effects, they do also. By trying to stop people from communicating with each other, they make people want to do so even more. And as old it sounds, the forbidden fruit is always sweeter.

Putting Emotion in Motion

Negotiation, reconciliation, arbitration, mediation …. all possible “tions” have been used and misused in attempts to achieve peaceful dispute resolution.

Peaceful means resorted to a) on a high-officials level and b) by males in conflict resolution have proven to be less practical, if not at all, so far. Take almost any dispute and there is a clear picture how these pointless “tions” are just a gambit move in the political game aimed at masking the real intentions of some of the third parties involved in resolution (=interested in fueling) of the conflict.

International organizations and other third parties with “noble” intentions may bang their heads against brick walls trying to end the conflict peacefully, but as someone who is non-political, non-media, but practical, I can say that there would be a huge difference and impact in terms of progress if the following factors were taken into account:

venue of where the conflict is being solved;
tools used in negotiations;
actors involved in the settlement of the conflict

In other words, shifting the focus from the round tables to a more human and personal level. In fact, ordinary people in Armenia and Azerbaijan have discovered this truth already. Besides sharing the same culture, dreams, and toasts, some also share friendships and even romance.

Epilogue

Always question what you read. Especially in the media. Of both countries.

And do not waste you time trying to spread the word.

Spread the love instead.

Everywhere.

Reader in Baku

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