miercuri, 31 octombrie 2007
I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear
Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you ..
Where it was dark now there's light ,
Where there was pain now there's joy,
Where there was weakness, I found my strength .
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come .
miercuri, 24 octombrie 2007
The Armenians are a people with a prominent place on the long list of those shafted by history. They may consider, as Congress wavers on an Armenian genocide resolution so tantalizingly close, that they are about to get it again.
Like others in their ancestral neighborhood, the Armenians are a proud people who consider themselves to represent the ancient origins of man and civilization. In their case, direct descent from Noah, who landed his ark on their sacred mountain of Ararat, currently and regrettably located on the wrong side of the Turkish border. They will also proudly tell you that they were the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 A.D. And that more or less ever since, they’ve waged a rearguard action for Christianity and western civilization.
Armenia once stretched from the Mediterranean to the Caspian. Today, there is an Armenia of memory and dreams, preserved and nurtured in multi-generational exile in California, Massachusetts, France and Lebanon. Actual Armenia is a wretchedly poor rump state, landlocked, wedged between enemies in Turkey and Azerbaijan, with unstable Georgia to the north and pariah Iran to the south, a survivor of the highly successful Turkish ethnic cleansing campaign of 1915-22, and a victim of the Soviet political and economic oppression that followed.
It is a tortured history. The Armenians have been fighting for a very long time, often without friends, in a part of the world where it is sometimes necessary to choose one’s allies and one’s enemies according to the circumstances as they present themselves. Their experience has made them tough, bitter, resourceful and determined, a people not to be trifled with. It has also made them very practical.
Consider the example of General Dro.
Drastamat “Dro” Kanayan was born during an earthquake in 1884, an Armenian in what is now eastern Turkey. He was buried in exile in a New England blizzard in 1956. In 2000, accompanying the party that brought his exhumed remains home, I witnessed his final triumphal return amid hail and the crash of lightning to Bash Abaran, the scene of his 1918 rout of a Turkish division.
Dro started his career as a terrorist, fighting the Russian occupiers of eastern Armenia. By 21, he had committed three political assassinations — two Russian officials and one Armenian collaborator. But in 1914, he chose the Russians over the Turks as the lesser of two evils. Czar Nicholas would later decorate him for bravery.
“I am a soldier,” Dro is reported to have said as he prepared to join the Russian army to fight the Turks. “I know nothing about politics. But I am convinced that this will be the last and decisive battle. Freedom or death. And I also have a feeling that many of us will not return from the battlefield. Great work requires many victims.”
Dro’s lifelong concern was Armenia’s survival. Who he aligned himself with and how he might feel about them was secondary to the needs of his people in the moment. Because he had no other choice. Czarist Russians against Ottoman Turks. German Nazis against Soviet Russians. Turkish-allied Americans against the Soviet Union. Dro had to make his calculations and make his choices in a life spent at war.
So Dro threw his lot with his erstwhile enemies, the Russians. By 1918, Russia was involved in its own revolution and Armenia was left to defend itself against the Turks. Dro is noted in Armenian history for insisting forcefully that Armenia sacrifice territory to Turkey — including his own hometown of Igdir — so that the outnumbered Armenian troops could consolidate on a smaller front and save something of Armenia.
Then, as the Turkish army advanced and Armenia’s politicians in Yerevan considered capitulating before they were overrun, Dro demanded that the army be allowed to fight until the end. The Turks were routed weeks later in two key battles, one of which was fought by Dro and his men.
In the last days of May 1918, the roads over the mountain passes leading to Yerevan were clogged with thousands of desperate refugees and bedraggled Armenian soldiers, retreating ahead of the Turkish army. Armenian officer Arthur Ayvazian described chaos, panic, death and starvation.
“Men, women, children, babies, deserting Armenian soldiers in military uniforms, cows, donkeys, carts, etc., were all together in one solid mass, going nowhere,” he wrote. “I saw … hungry Armenian refugees, mostly women, with sunken eyes and cheeks, bent over, like a herd of sheep, plucking green grass with their fingers and eating it. …I saw the bodies of dead babies wrapped in rags.”
Turkish forces were closing in on Yerevan from the west in a three-pronged attack at Sardarabad to the south, the mountain pass at Bash Abaran in the center, and Karakilisa farther north, according to UCLA professor Richard Hovannisian and other sources. Armenian forces managed to halt the southern Turkish advance at Sardarabad on May 22.
At Abaran, Dro, then 33, commanded a brigade of about 3,000 Russian-trained regulars and guerrillas. On May 25, he sent his cavalry against the Turkish line near the village of Knodakhsaz. But where they had expected to find a regiment of Turks, they found a division of 10,000. Dro’s cavalry were pushed back with heavy losses.
On May 26, the Turks counterattacked with a pincer movement, attempting to encircle Dro’s smaller force. His men dug in and held along a line of villages. Dro, known for his fearlessness as a military leader, is said to have used the cover of a sleet storm to personally reconnoiter the Turkish positions and rearrange his own troops.
On May 28, he lured the Turks into the open. He had concealed the arrival of 1,700 reinforcements, which he sent forward in a furious assault.
“Half the cavalry was slaughtered,” said Martin Kanayan, the general’s son. “But when the cavalry charged them, even though they lost so many, it terrified the Turks and broke their line.
“After they had repelled the Turks, his comment was, `My sons, my brothers. There is no way you can stop and rest. You have to keep pushing them over the horizon,’” Dro’s son said. The routed Turks abandoned equipment and weapons as they fled. Dro’s troops recaptured Bash Abaran May 29, securing the route to Yerevan and sending the Turks in full retreat.
The news of the victories lifted the spirits of the refugees and inspired soldiers further up the line, leading to a successful push against the northern Turkish advance at Karakilisa.
“It was a beautiful spring evening, but the road was covered with disorganized soldiers, covered with mud, tired and dispirited. The endless row of wagons of refugees, horsemen here and there, a cannon on wheels, cries, noise, confusion,” recalled one veteran, quoted by Hovannisian. “But then suddenly the news and everyone listening emotionally to news that our side had crushed the enemy. … Excitement and joy for those tired and depressed people. `Our boys have triumphed, we have defeated them.’ … It was a miracle.”
Within two years, that miracle had expired. At the age of 35, Dro began a lifelong exile after the Soviets invaded his briefly independent Armenia, ending up in Romania by the start of World War II.
Turkish critics, who accuse Dro of a long list of war crimes, have slammed him for collaborating with the Germans after they occupied Romania. A fierce anti-communist, promised of a free Armenia by the Nazis, Dro raised and led an Armenian force that was part of the German Army on the Russian Front. Armenian scholars say he was not a Nazi and claim he used his influence among the Germans to save captured Red Army Armenians from Nazi death camps.
By Dro’s bier in Yerevan in 2000, I met an old Soviet Red Army veteran, there to pay his respects to the forceful Armenian in a German uniform who he said intervened to save him, when Germans had ordered him shot in the Ukraine in 1944.
“He saved my life. What else can I say,” said Arutyun Sevoyan, 78, his chest full of Soviet medals. “I have tears of happiness, of joy, to see Dro’s body returned to his homeland. He was a god who saved my life, and those of 5,000 to 7,000 other Armenians. Dro was a hero then and always will be in my eyes.”
Dro himself was later saved from Soviet imprisonment and probable death when Allied intelligence officers, with whom he is said to have maintained contact during the war, spirited him to America and allegedly employed him as an agent in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.
America, Armenia’s best hope, was ironically allied with Armenia’s old enemy, Turkey, against a new common enemy, the Soviet Union. Dro’s reburial in free Armenia in 2000 did not just honor his victory over the Turks that allowed what is left of Armenia to exist. It represented a final triumph over the Soviets and not least a triumph over bitter political divisions within the larger Armenian diaspora.
Dro’s is a tale of resourcefulness, determination, brinksmanship and practical compromise in a war that never ended, with only partial victories and few satisfactions.
Recognition of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians and the theft of their property by the Turks remains a burning issue for Armenians today. Armenians in Nagorno Karabagh have fought bitter war to hold Armenian lands against the Turkic Azeris as recently as the 1990s.
Armenians are justified in their frustration and anger over the world’s failure to acknowledge the murderous injury they suffered, and Turkey’s absurd denials and prosections that continue to this day, and have campaigned long and hard for the United States and other nations to address that.
Many in Congress are recognizing, however, that in the bad neighborhood that is the Middle East, America has an ongoing war of its own, and needs to choose its enemies carefully. The Armenian genocide is, outside Turkey, universally accepted history, and Turkey only makes itself look foolish by denying it. But Turkey is a vital supply route for the U.S. military in Iraq, and there are also highly sensitive issues surrounding Kurdish rebels use of Iraqi territory in their guerrilla war against the Turks. Revisiting the more sordid aspects of Turkish history, some congressmen are beginning to recognize, may run counter to vital American interests in time of war.
War supply issues aside, current events may have superceded Congress’ moral concerns. Kurdish separatist attacks and the Turkish military response in the last few days have raised the specter of a new combat zone in a formerly quiet corner of Iraq. It’s a prospect that may have sobered even the Democratic-led United States Congress, notoriously unconcerned about the consequences of its actions regarding Iraq.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had said she would go ahead with a vote on the Armenian Genocide resolution, but late last week was said to be wavering in the face of opposition. Her poor choice of enemies in this case is now being called one of her greatest missteps.
Questions have been raised about the extent to which Pelosi’s desire for Armenian justice is a principled moral stand, as opposed to an underhanded effort to undercut a war she has not been able to influence the progress of the war more directly. If that is the case, it is beyond ironic that Pelosi would risk new hazards for American soldiers, and pursue a course toward enabling a new genocide in Iraq, through a symbolic assignment of blame on the murders of 90 years ago. Given Pelosi’s earlier efforts to boost Syria, an overt adversary of the United States, it is heartening to see her own party’s membership apparently acting as a check on her dangerously poor judgment. It is probably too much to hope that Pelosi, having made a poor choice of enemies, risks losing allies.
But Armenians themselves may want to consider whether it advances their cause to expect Americans in time of war to act against America’s interest on their symbolic behalf. The blood of Armenian genocide victims does cry out for recognition. But the example of their own hero suggests that each day is another day, each battle another battle, and you have to choose your allies and your enemies carefully.
duminică, 7 octombrie 2007
A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner. However, he was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.
"I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it.
He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs, and gave VD to his sister. I was appalled. But as the days went on I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people."...
Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived," said the politician. "In fact, I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession."
Moral: Never, Never, Never Be Late!
comment: i mean NOT EVER! LOL :)))))
The French and Turkish Foreign Ministers agreed that their countries have more similarities than differences and that continued dialogue between the two nations has the potential to improve relations. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his guest, French Foreign Minister and Minister of European Affairs Bernard Kouchner, were speaking at a press conference Friday during a visit by Kouchner to Ankara. Babacan said the French Foreign Minister was informed that Turkey does not want to be dragged into discussions about the future of the EU and awaits the fulfillment of European promises made to it. The two were set to have a second round of talks in the evening, when, according to Babacan, they would discuss Turkish and French interests in other countries, especially the Middle East.
Kouchner was also scheduled to visit President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where discussions were expected to focus on issues such as a “committee of wise men” and “privileged partnership.” Babacan informed Kouchner about Turkey’s unwillingness to even discuss the possibility of a status other than full membership in the European Union, Zaman reports.
As to the French bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial, the French Foreign Minister claimed in the press conference that the law will not cause any difficulty between Turkey and France and that nothing has been decided upon yet. The committee of wise men France is supposed to discuss the future strategies and boundaries of the EU. France also asks that this committee work on the Mediterranean Union that France wants to see Turkey a part of.
In an interview with the Milliyet newspaper, Kouchner said that France recently went through a difficult period in its relations with Turkey and that his visit should be regarded as a symbol of a mutual desire to give a strong new impetus to relations between the two. Kouchner is the first high-level French official to visit Ankara since Nicolas Sarkozy, a staunch opponent of Turkey’s EU accession, was elected president in May. Sarkozy has repeatedly said Turkey does not belong in the EU, arguing that it is geographically in Asia.
comment: WHAT A HYPOCRITE. i wonder with how much was he bribed....
vineri, 28 septembrie 2007
miercuri, 26 septembrie 2007
Will Turks lose the battle they have never fought? => hell yeah..the battle they never fought against facing their own hypocrisy and cowardness. they WILL loose it, sooner or later. they are smart about one thing, though...the best defence is offence. since they exhausted all the "proofs" they (can) have against us, all there is left to do is trash our memories, slam us with dirt, dishonour our dignity in every way they can. they'd better look in the mirror before they call us arMONEYians, leeches, and whatever else...
p.s.: no more comments. my blood started boiling...
sâmbătă, 22 septembrie 2007
Father, Maker of heavens, God of all the earth
Only through your mercy does my soul have worth
Holy. holy , holy is your name
Lord of hosts, tears of heaven rained down from eternity
As this ship is sailing through the vast and lonely sea
And the sun is hidden from the sky
Oh lord, Give my eyes a clearer view of the dry land
Let me here the rustling leaves
Lord plant my feet upon the ground and let me stand
Holy One spread Your mighty hand across this ocean
Still rolling waves and commotion
Lead me to a place I can call home
Oh Lord only You are worthy of my praise
And I will glorify You all of my days
Narrative: In the time of Noah, the Almighty God sent a raging flood to cover the earth because men had turned away from Him. Yet, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God directed Noah to build a great arc and carry two of every creature. Noah endured forty days of rain and months of wandering the open sea. Finally the arc came to rest on Ararat. Ararat is the ancient word for the land of Armenia. It was in this place where God gave men a second chance.
Mighty God I have traveled many years in longing.
Searching for a land for my belonging
I am tired, no longer want to roam
Lord of all, bring this vessel filled with your creation
Take me to the land and build a holy nation
Of a people that are called Your own
God above, all my life is dedicated to Your will
And I know Your spirit tells me to be still
Oh Lord, in this dream I have dreamed of what can be
I follow after You
For through Your hand of providence I will be free
joi, 6 septembrie 2007
Glinting off the black Caucasus Mountains, the morning sun gives Stephanakert the gleam of a town freshly scrubbed. Everywhere roads are being laid and houses restored. Women wrapped in blue nylon overcoats and woolen leggings sweep away litter from the town square. And on Stephanakert's main Azatamartikneri (Partisans) Street, stores display fresh fruit and cheeses alongside refurbished restaurants and a new discotheque.
The tranquillity is a veneer. Stephanakert is the capital of Nagorno Karabagh, an area in the Caucasus measuring 4,388 square kilometers that is home to around 120,000 Armenians. For the last decade, it has also been one of the most fiercely contested places on earth. Formerly an "autonomous region" within the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, Karabagh declared its independence following Baku's secession from the Soviet Union in October 1991. Azerbaijan responded by annulling Karabagh's autonomous status.
Over the next three years, an utterly ruthless war for the enclave raged between Karabagh, aided by Armenia from the west, and Azerbaijan, aided by Turkey, which blockaded both Armenia and Karabagh to its east. By the time a cease-fire was declared in May 1994, an estimated 35,000 people (including 4,000 civilians) had lost their lives and a colossal 750,000 had been displaced, as Armenians in Azerbaijan and Azeris in Armenia fled the other's territory after atrocities were inflicted on and by both sides.
Yet the Karabaghcis preserved their de facto independence–in fact, they extended it. By the close of hostilities, Armenian forces held a further 12,000 square kilometers in southwest Azerbaijan, or 20 percent of the former Soviet Republic's national territory. But this conquest has exacted a toll on Armenia, both regionally and domestically.
In 1997, Armenia's then-President, Levon Ter-Petrossian, warned his people not to become drunk on their military successes. They had not "won the war" for Karabagh, he said, "but only a battle." He urged them rather to accept a phased solution to the conflict based on a proposal from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in which demilitarization of the enclave would be followed by negotiations with Azerbaijan on its final status. Ter-Petrossian's reasoning was as prescient as it was unpalatable. The world "will not tolerate for long the situation created by the Karabagh because it threatens regional cooperation and security as well as the interests of the Western oil consortia," he said. And unless the Karabaghcis face this fact, "tomorrow we will strive to achieve what we today reject, but without success, as has often been the case throughout our history."
Nor was Ter-Petrossian's only concern the diplomatic damage that would accrue to Armenia from an uncompromising stance on the Karabagh. Even more threatening were the domestic demons the Karabagh war had unleashed within Armenia proper. One was the resurgence of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, or the Dashnaks, an ultra-nationalist movement whose territorial ambitions include not only the Karabagh but also those parts of "Greater Armenia" currently within the borders of Turkey and Georgia. Not surprisingly, such belligerence ran afoul of the increasingly moderate turn of Ter-Petrossian's foreign policy. In 1994, he banned the Dashnaks from political activity inside Armenia and imprisoned their leader, Vahan Hovanissian, for alleged links with underground movements accused of subversion and assassination.
But Ter-Petrossian was also under pressure from those sectors of Armenian society–such as the intelligentsia, the industrial working class and pensioners–who yearned more for the stability of the old Soviet era than for the Karabagh. The ongoing blockades imposed by Turkey and Azerbaijan and increasing military expenditures had tipped an already shaky economic situation into free-fall. By 1998, the Armenian economy remained aid-dependent, with over $700 million received in the last decade, yet beset by low wages and high prices due to blockade-induced shortages. Armenia also exhibited a growing disparity between a new political-military elite (centered around the Defense Ministries in Armenia and the Karabagh and comprising many of Armenia's old Communist nomenklatura), who have profited by controlling scarce trade routes, and the increasingly impoverished majority of Armenians, saddled with an unemployment rate unofficially estimated at over 20 percent.
Charged with defeatism over the Karabagh by the Dashnaks and "corruption" by the intelligentsia, Ter-Petrossian resigned in February 1998 in a velvet coup engineered by Prime Minister Robert Korcharian and hard-line Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkissian. But the presidential election a month later merely exposed the fractures in Armenian society that Ter-Petrossian had sought to address.
Armenia's last Soviet Communist Party leader, Karen Demirchian, garnered 40 percent support in the first ballot in March 1998, a protest vote that most Armenian analysts read as nostalgia for the days when Demirchian's power was autocratic but "everybody had jobs." Indeed, some believed that Demirchian would have won the presidency outright if not for a judicious mix of ballot-rigging and the political support given to Ter-Petrossian's anointed successor, Korcharian, by the Dashnaks and Sarkissian's similarly chauvinist Yerkrepah movement. Such support had a price, however. The first was Korcharian's aggressive reassertion of the nationalist consensus that all the Azerbaijan territories would be held until Baku "conceded" on Karabagh's political status. The second–made two days after Ter-Petrossian's resignation–was Korcharian's decision to lift the ban on the Dashnaks as a political movement.
Despite his nationalist rhetoric, Korcharian was forced to plough the same political furrow as his predecessor. In fact, he dug even deeper, meeting no less than four times with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Haider Aliyev, to resume negotiations on the Karabagh crisis and press ahead with the same, deeply unpopular "market" reforms of the economy. Nor had Korcharian healed Armenia's internal divisions, though the fault-line was now less with the Dashnaks (who remain Korcharian's main support base) than with his erstwhile ally, Sarkissian.
In August 1998, Armenia's prosecutor-general (and confidant to the new president) was killed in his office in murky circumstances. In December, Sarkissian's deputy defense minister was murdered for equally mysterious motives. Although investigations of these murders were quickly smothered by Armenia's press, rumors abounded in Yerevan that relations were "not normal" between the president and the defense minister. In Yerevan, a refrain not heard since the Soviet era suddenly returned: "The first thing a president must do," said one Armenian commentator, "is neutralize his defense minister."
But Sarkissian refused to be "neutralized." In the run-up to the May 1999 parliamentary elections, he forged a pact with Demirchian by forming a new parliamentary bloc, the Union Alliance (UA). It was a profitable gambit: the UA won 61 seats of the 131-member parliament, Demirchian became parliamentary speaker and Sarkissian was named Armenia's latest prime minister. At the time, opinion was divided as to whether Sarkissian had co-opted Demirchian's challenge at the behest of his president, or whether the new coalition augured a future opposition to Korcharian.
The true motives behind this political marriage will probably remain a mystery. On October 27, 1999, five gunmen stormed Armenia's parliamentary building and killed Sarkissian, Demirchian and six others. In return for the safe evacuation of those held hostage in the building, Korcharian promised the assassins a "fair trial" and the right to broadcast a statement on national television. The gunmen's leader, Nairi Unanian, a former member of the Dashnaks and editor of the ultra-nationalist magazine, Dashnik, read the following statement: "We wanted to save the Armenian people from perishing and to restore their rights," he said. "Those responsible for robbing the country must face trial along with us." The Dashnak "national consensus" on Karabagh was neither addressed nor mentioned. As for the government's increasingly Ter-Petrossian-like policies on the enclave, these would remain "unaffected," said Korcharian.
Armenia's Common State
It is easy to understand the weight of the consensus, if not yet its relation to Sarkissian and Demirchian's assassinations. For a people whose modern national identity was forged in the 20th century's first genocide, the loss of Karabagh could indeed be seen as "turning the last page of Armenian history" (as expressed by the martyr Monty Malconian, a Lebanese-Armenian who fought and died in the Karabagh in 1993). Beyond this, all Armenians view the struggle for the Karabagh as that of a people striving to determine their own national status and to right an old political wrong. Claimed as Armenian by both history and demography, Karabagh was illegally ceded to Azerbaijan by the Russian Communist Party in 1921, partly to curb secessionist ambitions within Armenia and partly to reward Baku for its support of the Bolshevik Revolution during the civil war that forged the Soviet Union. The author of that decision was the Bolshevik Commissar of Nationalities: Joseph Stalin.
Whatever its provenance, Karabagh was an integral part of Azerbaijan's territory for 70 years. If the Armenians can claim the right of self-determination, Azerbaijan can claim the right of the territorial integrity of its internationally recognized borders. Is there any potential settlement that can reconcile these two rights? Seeking regional rehabilitation, Armenia's leaders are desperately groping for one.
In November 1998, the OSCE proposed "a common state" as a new basis for negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Naira Melkoumian, foreign minister of Karabagh's self-declared Republic, explains its rationale: "We want to create a common state on the former territory of Soviet Azerbaijan, in which relations between Karabagh and Baku are horizontal rather than subordinate." Accepting that such an entity would enjoy "something between autonomy and independence," she continued, "the world need not recognize Karabagh as a state. But Azerbaijan must recognize our right to determine our own laws, political system and, above all, our own defense."
This might facilitate a mutual repatriation of refugees to Armenia and Azerbaijan. As for the Azeri territories Karabagh now occupies, these, too, can be returned, except for those linking the enclave to Armenia proper, says Melkoumian. Political leaders in Yerevan are even more accommodating. Aside from the issue of security for Karabagh's Armenians, "everything is negotiable," says Anahit Mirzoyan, an aide to President Korcharian.
Everything in the Caucasus is being "negotiated," though the "Independent Republic of Karabagh" is unlikely to play much of a role in the eventual denouement. At a December 1998 Council of Europe meeting convened to discuss the "common state" proposal, Azerbaijan refused to countenance any solution to the conflict other than "broad autonomy" for the people of Karabagh. With the first Caspian Sea oil coming onstream in November 1997, Azerbaijan clearly believes (as did Ter-Petrossian) that "the Western oil consortia" will press for a solution based on a return to the status quo ante–even if, as many now predict, the Caspian field yields less a "new Kuwait" than another "North Sea." Even without the boon of oil, Azerbaijan has grounds for wanting to play the long game on the Karabagh.
After seceding from the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan initially turned its back on the newly established Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in favor of "defense alliances" with Turkey and the US. Motivated by the pan-Turkic visions of former Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey, both postures turned out to be enormous follies. Although sympathizing with the plight of their Azeri brethren in the Transcaucasus–and imposing the blockade on Armenia–Ankara was reluctant to send troops to the Karabagh and risk what President Yeltsin threatened could be "a third world war." Russia was outraged by Baku's perfidy and quietly but effectively supplied Armenia and the Karabaghcis with enough hardware to give them the military edge.
Weakened by losses and a looming civil war, President Elchibey fled Baku in 1993. He was replaced by Azerbaijan's ex-Soviet Politburo member, Haidar Aliyev, who steered Azerbaijan back into the CIS and extracted the country's troops from the morass of Karabagh by signing the 1994 cease-fire. Veteran Azerbaijan-watcher Dilip Hiro says Aliyev was wise enough to understand that "no matter how fondly" Azeris may "entertain the vision of a pan-Turkic entity stretching from the Mediterranean to China while excitedly calculating their oil fortunes (as urged by Elchibey), they cannot escape the constraints of geography and history (as explained by Aliyev)." But Aliyev also realized that the geo-political alignments of the post-Cold War era would–once their essential axes crystallized–strengthen Azerbaijan's claim to Karabagh.
The first new alignment was Turkey's burgeoning alliance with Israel. Consecrated by a series of military agreements signed between Ankara and Tel Aviv in February 1996, Aliyev strove to enlist the Israeli lobby behind Azerbaijan's claims in the US Congress, a forum where the small but powerful Armenian-American lobby had historically punched above its weight. After years of quiet cooperation with Armenians in America–grounded in a common experience of genocide and the perception that both Israel and Armenia were isolated states threatened by hostile neighbors–Israel's leading advocates in the US began urging Congress to lift the sanctions imposed on Azerbaijan after it blockaded Armenia in 1991. And although the Armenians have so far resisted this pressure, few expect their hold on Congress to endure indefinitely, especially during a US presidential election year.
Furthermore, Turkey now occupies a key position in the "new strategic concept" the US ordained for NATO at the alliance's 50th anniversary meeting in Washington last April. Modeled on military interventions in Iraq and Kosovo, this new concept envisages NATO as a pro-active organization primed to fight for its members' geographically undefined "common interests." (See El-Gawhary's article in this issue.)
NATO's sphere of influence now covers "the Caucasus and Central Asia," says Dan Plesch of the British-American Security Information Council. It certainly covers Azerbaijan. In March 1999, Charles Wax, head of the US European Command, held talks with Aliyev about Azerbaijan's readiness to host a NATO military base. Aliyev has yet to comment publicly on these overtures, but he has not denied them.
Against these realignments, Karabaghcis posit a countervailing coalition comprised of Armenia, Russia and Iran. But the "strategic partner" here is Russia, says Armenian political analyst Mark Gregorian. This is not due simply to Yerevan's utter dependence on Moscow for energy and military needs, but also stems from "shared national and cultural values" resulting from 70 years of Soviet rule.
Armenia's relationship with Iran is less ideological than pragmatic. Wary of Turkish and NATO ambitions in the Caucasus (and sobered by the impact resurgent Azeri nationalism might have on its own Azeri citizens), Iran effectively sided with Yerevan in the war over the Karabagh by keeping its border with Armenia open while Turkey and Azerbaijan closed theirs.
Gregorian fully expects this "balancing" axis to endure, despite Russia and Iran's current domestic crises. "In terms of foreign orientation, Georgia is pro-American and Azerbaijan is pro-Turkish. The only reliable ally Russia has in the region is Armenia. Were Russia to lose us, it would lose the Transcaucasus and perhaps even the Black Sea," he says. Tehran seems to agree, given the "effective collaboration" Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has offered Russia not only on Armenia but also during Moscow's 1994 and 1999 offensives on the virtual and actual North Caucasus states of Chechnya and Dagestan.
Naira Melkoumian also endorses Armenia's alliance with Russia and Iran, although she views it less as an end than a means. "For us, Russia is the road to Europe because Russia's future is with Europe," she says. This explains why Armenia has courted such bodies as the OSCE and Council of Europe as mediators of a diplomatic resolution of the Karabagh conflict. It is also why–"as a secularist and a woman"–Melkoumian supports President Mohammed Khatami's efforts to mend the rifts between Iran and the European Union. Yet set against Turkey's military assets and Azerbaijan's real or potential oil reserves, what can resource-starved Armenia and Karabagh offer Europe in the Caucasus? "Stability", says Melkoumian.
Which is another of saying that Armenia–and only Armenia–can deliver a deal on the Karabagh. Melkoumian also knows the price. For whatever the political form of the conflict's resolution, any settlement will require the return of the Karabagh to its pre-1991 borders. This has been made clear to Yerevan not only by Azerbaijan and the US, but also by Russia, Iran and the European Union. And it has been made plain to the Karabaghcis: not one country–not even Armenia–has recognized their self-declared Republic. Ter-Petrossian's warnings and the "common state" idea are meant to prepare Armenian public opinion to bite hard on the Karabagh bullet. The severance may even arrive during the watch of the "nationalist" Korcharian. "As long as the Karabaghcis have control over their own security, ‘it doesn't matter whether Karabagh is inside or outside Azerbaijan'. Korcharian said this before he became president. I don't think he has changed his mind," says Gregorian.
The Road Into (and Out of) Karabagh
It is a scenario few in Karabagh are likely to accept. "We will not be ruled again by Baku–forget it," says one local in Stephanakert. A young Armenian woman insists that "while the people of the Karabagh are weary of war, they would fight again to prevent their land returning to Azerbaijan." And it is perhaps this impending sense of unfinished business–along with the skirmishes that flare up sporadically along the cease-fire lines–that accounts for most Karabaghcis' pessimism about the myriad building sites sprouting up all around them.
The road out of Stephanakert is freshly paved. It climbs out of the Karabagh Mountains before descending into Armenia. The entire stretch is technically within Azerbaijan, though no Azeris have lived there since the war. The road, built during the last two years of Ter-Petrossian's administration, reportedly cost millions of dollars. "That's a lot of money in Armenia," muses Max Sivaslian, a French-Armenian journalist based in Yerevan. In a war zone like Karabagh, who would risk such an investment? That depends, Sivaslian observes, on "whether the road is intended to keep Karabagh in Armenia or take the Armenians out of the Karabagh."
=> any comments?
Ó, Uram, nem birom rímbe kovácsolni dicsõségedet.
Egyszerû ajakkal mondom zsoltáromat.
De ha nem akarod, ne hallgasd meg szavam.
Tudom, hogy zöldel a fû, de nem értem minek zöldel,
meg kinek zöldel.
Érzem, hogy szeretek, de nem tudom, kinek a száját fogja
megégetni a szám.
Hallom, hogy fú a szél, de nem tudom, minek fú, mikor én
De ne figyelmezz szavamra, ha nem tetszik Neked.
Csak egyszerûen, primitíven szeretném most Neked elmondani,
hogy én is vagyok és itt vagyok és csodállak, de nem értelek.
Mert Neked nincs szükséged a mi csudálásunkra, meg zsoltárolásunkra.
Mert sértik füledet talán a zajos és örökös könyörgések.
Mert mást se tudunk, csak könyörögni, meg alázkodni, meg kérni.
Egyszerû rabszolgád vagyok, akit odaajándékozhatsz a Pokolnak is.
Határtalan a birodalmad és hatalmas vagy meg erõs, meg örök.
Ó, Uram, ajándékozz meg csekélyke magammal engem.
De ha nem akarod, ne hallgasd meg szavam...
"what is going on, your Armenian nazi blood got heated up?"
hell yes it did! these people should be jailed, or better yet, i would have a plastic surgery on them, removing their vocal chords..so they would never be able to say such abominable things...
we are taught that we should move on, forget the past, step into the modern age...we are taught that the best possible thing to do is 'drop the fucking history and move on'...ok.. i drop it..but will my ancestors' memory be honored? i mean not even honored..but respected. will it? will justice be given to them? will their soul be let to rest peacefully? will their ashes stop shaking under the ground at such atrocities that are happening now..?
who the hell are these people to tell me what to be? what to feel? what to love? what to honour? what to respect? what to pray for? what to LIVE for? and HOW to do it..? who the hell do they think they are...???
miercuri, 5 septembrie 2007
NO, i am NOT perfect. i am only HUMAN... with flaws, with weaknesses, with unperfect spots... if my being the way i am makes me less likeable, then so be it! i don't want all the morons to love me. i don't even want them to like me. not even to accept me. i do not have any intention whatsoever to kiss asses to be promoted, to flatter to be liked, to take two steps backwards to be allowed to take one to the front, neither to bend my principles, views over life and ways of action, nor to bow in front of others' without being logically convinced or inappellably persuaded.
If i am to be rich, to have things i long for in my life, if i am to gain prestige and respect, if i am to have comfort, it will be by my two own hands. ALONE!
and NO, i won't censor myself if you hurt me. NO, i won't shut up. i will unhinderedly say 'FUCK YOU!'