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End ‘Conflict Tourism’. Armenians, Azeris are People Too: Georgy Vanyan to International Agencies

What today in the process of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is called “people’s democracy” is an activity that instills the idea of an insurmountable conflict, said head of the Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgy Vanyan, in an interview with 1news.az.

“And the more the conflict is perceived as irreconcilable takes root in people’s minds, the deeper the conflict goes. The deeper the conflict, the greater the racism and theory of our genetic incompatibility. In the current situation, there’s no place, no area of application for public diplomacy in its true sense. There is potential, of course — it’s in human nature itself. But diplomacy needs contact and mutual interest. We have neither one nor the other.

“In today’s situation, normal contact between our societies is impossible due to the prevailing ignorance in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and in everything surrounding it. However, the question of willingness for normal contact and even ‘co-existence’ of our people is quite relevant today. All those who comment on and examine the conflict mandatorily view this topic. Such an approach is a time bomb that takes a person hostage, obscures his mind — the bomb is triggered instantly, transforming into a traitor anyone who asks, ‘Doesn’t the Armenian/Azerbaijani society consist of ordinary, normal people? Or are they a flock of wild, bloodthirsty predators who, until the wall separating them breaks, will tear each other to the end?’

“The verdict on this issue is doubted in neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan because the Azeris are not people according to the Armenian patriotic tribunal and Armenians are not people according to the Azeri patriotic tribunal. And we see the logical extension of this in the bold and unexpected assertions of modern public diplomacy that ‘there are people among them too.’ And this is presented as the result of tourism of many years and a big budget, with the tantamount pathos of Olympic achievement and highly spiritual attainment: ‘Among them there are people too’.

“What should be done? It’s necessary to stop and get out of inertia… In the context of the question ‘What should I do?’ I want to take this opportunity to urge international organizations and foundations that manage taxpayers’ resources not to encourage the practice of supervisors regulating relations between peoples of neighboring countries. I urge funding for ‘conflict tourism’ to end and to redirect those funds to financially compensate the victims of war and those who are suffering losses to the ongoing conflict.”