"Dear workers of cultural institutions of Russia, where is your tolerance and objectivity?!"
The last war between Azerbaijan and Armenia began a little over two months ago. And all these weeks I, like all the representatives of both the Azerbaijani and, probably, the Armenian people who live outside their homeland, literally did not look away from the monitor for a second, hoping to find at least some information about the course of the war. This is not just the excitement of a fan who supports his team, as during some football game.
This war affected me not only mentally, but literally physically; my relatives fought on the front line, the bombs thrown on the city of Ganja exploded a few hundred meters from my grandfather's house. I am not complaining or trying to pity the reader with this story. War is a terrible thing and I am sure that eyewitnesses and participants on both sides can tell more terrible stories. And they tell. Some of these stories are true, and some are sheer propaganda. And this is war. Rather, its other face, which is often called the information war. All wars and among all peoples are accompanied by such informational stuffing about fearlessness and chivalry of their own, about meanness and vandalism of the enemy. But as a historian, I know that to complete the picture, you need to look at the subject of study from different points of view. Therefore, I looked for any information in various sources.
I have been living in Europe for more than thirty years and during this time I got used to the fact that the European media cover only those events that are important to them or affect their interests. And I understood that it would be naive to expect from them any information about the events in the distant Caucasus. I was also aware that Europeans would cover events only from the point of view of their viewer or reader. For example, "a war broke out between Muslim Azerbaijan and Christian Armenia around the disputed territory called Nagorno-Karabakh." At first glance, the information is flawless. Yes, the bulk of the population of Azerbaijan is Muslim, and it is difficult to deny that the Armenians are Christians. At first glance, these are harmless facts, but tendentiousness is evident.
After all, the European media will never cite news that "Catholic France is currently negotiating with Orthodox Serbia around something."
There will never be such news: "The President of Jewish Israel flew today to Berlin, which is inhabited by Protestant Christians."
Because religious affiliation has nothing to do with the event itself. But when it comes to distant countries, whose names are barely pronounced in the West, perhaps such a clarification is important for someone. Or someone considers this circumstance itself important.
Therefore, giving up hope of getting reliable information or unbiased analytics, I decided to turn to the Russian media. Once we all lived in one country and should not know each other badly. To be honest, I don't feel nostalgia for the Soviet Union. On the contrary, I am glad that my country Azerbaijan is today an independent state and I value this independence very much!
I drew attention to one regularity: regardless of whether you live today in your homeland or abroad, meeting former Soviet people, you do not treat them as foreigners. 70 years of common history are making themselves felt.
I confess that I have never followed the Russian media very much; rare articles that friends sent to me or single programs on the Internet that seemed interesting to me. And yes, for obvious reasons, I expected a slight pro-Armenian bias in the Russian press. But what I have seen over the past two months has exceeded all my expectations. The programs of Vladimir Solovyov, where he and his numerous guests were not only on the Armenian side, but at times even openly called for a war with Azerbaijan. Or the program "60 minutes" on the same federal TV channel, where both the presenters and invited experts reached outright threats against Azerbaijan ...
They will object to me that these are independent journalists, there is freedom of speech in the country, and everyone is free to express their subjective opinion, which may not coincide with the official position of the state. Indeed, all these programs of "independent journalists" were discordant with the statements of both President Putin and Minister Lavrov.
Eastern sages say that the truth is divine and no mortal is able to know it completely, but must strive for it. Another name for truth is justice and objectivity. These categories are inaccessible to mortals, because we are initially prone to subjectivity. However, everyone should strive for this. Especially a journalist who has an audience of millions. It is not only responsibility for your thoughts and words, but also a simple sense of trust, respect and authority.
Unlike Europeans, North Koreans recognize that they are being bombarded with propaganda
Once a well-known French musician who often visits North Korea, an interlocutor from Western Europe was asked a difficult question, which, among other things, contained the statement: "How do North Koreans tolerate this hellish propaganda that pours out on them with huge tubs?" The answer was surprising: "The level of propaganda in North Korea is not much different from that in Europe. In Europe it is done more delicately. But unlike us, North Koreans are quite aware that propaganda is pouring on them, but the Europeans are not."
Gentlemen, journalists, when, instead of covering events, you engage in rabid propaganda, the effect of your words loses its sharpness. You become a party to the conflict. No, worse, you become those who "add fuel to the fire." Conflicts often need the help of an impartial third party to help resolve the problem. But if this third party does not adhere to neutrality, then the conflict flares up with greater force.
In this sense, I was unpleasantly surprised by the appeal of the cultural workers of Russia to UNESCO to protect the Christian monuments of Karabakh. At first glance, this looks like a good intention. But only at first glance. In addition to the appeal, the letter also contains the accusation. I could now give a hundred arguments in defense of Azerbaijanis and even more accusations against Armenians. And this is understandable - I am an Azerbaijani and my position in this war is clear from the outset. But what the figures of Russian culture have done has become another contribution to the information war. Azerbaijanis and Armenians are fighting, and everyone has their own vision of this struggle. The information front is also a battlefield.
It may seem strange to you, but I can quite understand the Armenians. No, I do not justify them, but I understand their aspirations and desire to win. But I cannot understand you, dear cultural workers of Russia. Where is your tolerance, tolerance and, finally, objectivity ?!
But it is not all that bad. A couple of lines I read today give me hope that everything will work out. And these are the words spoken by one Armenian to the Russian peacekeepers on the contact line in Karabakh: "When you visit the Azerbaijanis, you will find out that they are also hospitable. They are not animals, they are people too. I don't blame them, my dears."
For hundreds of years, our peoples lived side by side and most of this time peacefully. The Caucasus is a common home for us, and in the future we will have to be neighbors. The time will come to put up and forget past grievances. It is always very difficult to erase from memory what brought pain not only physical, but also moral ... I know, this is a long and difficult path, but we, Azerbaijanis and Armenians, will have to go through it.
But I don't know if I can forgive those who tried to multiply our pain by gloating and adding fuel to the fire for the sake of some ratings or other preferences. In the East, they say that a wound from a sword heals quickly, but from a thrown word - no.
About the author: Azer Ziyadli was born in 1966 in Azerbaijan, graduated from the Azerbaijan Polytechnic Institute, served in the army. Since November 1989 he has been living in Germany. In the early 1990s, he studied linguistics and philosophy at the universities of Hanover and Irvine. For more than two decades he has been studying the history of Azerbaijan and the ancient Turks. Author of scientific articles.