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The Lack of a Dialog Between the Societies: the Biggest Missed Opportunity

By Gegham BAGHDASARYAN
Editor-in-Chief of “Analyticon” journal
Stepanakert

 

Recently I have seen remarkable information.
The Nagorno Karabakh conflict is one of the few frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space, and even in Europe as a whole, that can be solved. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the meeting with the students of Russian universities and representatives of youth organizations spoke about it.

At the same time, the Russian President opened up some interesting details, and taking into account the delicacy of the moment, expressed the hope that Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents would understand it:  “Surprisingly, the entourage of the both presidents –President Aliyev’s and President Sargsyan’s, naturally, get on well with each other: they speak Armenian, and then easily turn to Azerbaijani, and vice versa – from Azerbaijani to Armenian. It simply goes just before my eyes. Even more,it is, certainly, some concealed   moment. But I hope, they both Serj Azatovich and Ilham Heydarovich would not be hurt, if say that they get along quite well with each other. When we sit together at the table, they communicate very well “, - Dmitry Medvedev said (www.regnum.ru/news/fd-abroad/armenia/1458226.html 21.10.2011).

What is it, if not dual standards; we have got used to complain or lament of them, saying that the international community or some individual countries consider otherwise the issues that we think similar to ours. However, there is quite a delicate moment in all this. We are treated in such a way by the others – other countries or organizations, but as it has just been turned out, we treat this way our own people.

First of all, it is true with the Azerbaijani leadership, and particularly the president of that country, who uses the language of hatred and enmity publicly (from the scene), but behind the scenes speaks a human language. Serj Sargsyan is much more sincere in it, so he is in a more advantageous situation. Anyway, he does not hide the concessions from his people (whether such concessions are justified or not, it is another question) and understands that some day they will be made public. However, he also speaks with the Armenian society, sometimes using different languages, depending on the situation in the negotiating process. Meanwhile, Aliyev always uses different languages at home and outside the country, as a matter fact, putting his own people into a very controversial situation.

As for the NKR authorities, their position is not clear at all, and that is why insincere, at least regarding their own people. For example, the NKR authorities, on the one hand, say that we have no liberated territories, and it is the NKR territory, but on the other hand, they say that they unquestioningly trust the authorities of the Republic of Armenia (RA). However, the RA leadership speak about giving up the liberated territories to Azerbaijan as a concession.

Anyway, the leaders of the parties to the conflict speak within their countries, using the language of hatred and enmity, designed  for the local, domestic consumption, meanwhile keeping all the good,  according to the “good” Soviet tradition, for “export,” i.e. they use human language behind the scenes.

It is appropriate here to remember an old joke about dozens of meetings between Aliyev Sr., and Kocharyan. Reportedly, they had the time to speak about everything except one thing. They did not speak about … the Karabakh problem.

Thus, as we can see, the authorities reserve the human language for themselves and the language of hatred and enmity – for peoples.

The societies of the parties to the conflict should take this circumstance into account and not to let the authorities make them a toy in their hands; so the societies should be able to urge the authorities to hold an honest and sincere conversation with them.

One way or another, but the societies of the parties to the conflict should find a language to speak with each other, which will require a dialog to be held just by them, not letting the authorities to make a monopoly out of it. And even if the dialog between the authorities achieves concrete results, it will mean nothing without a dialog of societies, without building confidence bridges between them.

The absence of a dialog between the societies has been the biggest missed opportunity; since the very first day.

And here it is proper to remember Artsakh politologist Murad Petrosyan’s words. “If the construction of the peace building started without deep-rooted changes in the public consciousness (with active authority of third parties), the fate of such a building, even having a completed roof,  would sooner or later  share the fate of the Palestinian peace … The key to the real peace for Armenians is  hidden  in the Azerbaijani public consciousness, not in the hands of the ruling elite; and the same way, the key for Azerbaijanis  is hidden in the Armenian  public consciousness… The path to the success in the negotiating process lies through the moral and spiritual improvement of the societies.”