20 Years of Peace in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)

6X4A3195a20 years ago at 12.01am on May 12 1994, a ceasefire was finally enacted to stop the unnecessary bloodshed in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. It was not a peace agreement, it didn’t actually resolve any political or territorial position – it simply stopped the bullets flying.

In the 20 years since then, bullets have flown and young soldiers have been killed and unfortunate citizens near the border areas have lost their lives. Each one a devastating and life-long tragedy for their families and loved ones – from whichever side.

And for what reason?

I am not aware of a situation, anywhere in the world where the imposition of an agreement based on territorial integrity when in conflict with the wishes of the people has ever resulted in long-lasting peace

I am in no doubt that the people of Artsakh would accept the return of Azerbaijani villagers back to their homes, once a peace agreement has been signed, and their status as an independent country has been recognized. With the security of these in place, then they can control their future.

I realize that the international politicians, and the paid “Conflict Resolution/Peace Building” NGO’s have been successful in consuming money for 20 years but have done little to move the situation forwards. Perhaps a different approach is required –

In a few weeks I return for my 10th visit to a place that I almost consider to be a second home. But I know that I always have the luxury of having a safe first home. In amongst the obvious poverty, and troubled peoples that carry on with their daily lives, there is a curious normality, and youthful vibrancy which always makes it a pleasure to visit.

But it is always a difficult place to visit – there is a harsh reality behind the on-going threat from Azerbaijan which I never forget – I know I can never understand it. I can witness, observe, and empathise as much as I like, but I can never feel the 24 hour emotion of living there. I am privileged to see life in the raw, but not simply as a tourist, or a casual visitor, and I remain profoundly respectful of what I see and experience. At times it is heart-breaking.

No one in Artsakh wants a war. I’m sure that no one in Azerbaijan, apart from a few, wants a war. The time is right to close this episode, take a quantum step, bury the problems of the past and look forward to the future where the people can finally live in the world that they voted for in 1988

Categories: War and its Legacy

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