Autumn 1998 (6.3)
Loving Too Much, Hating Too Much
"The nation which indulges towards another habitual hatred or habitual fondness is to some degree a slave. It is a slave to its own animosity or to its own affection - either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interests."
George Washington, first President of the United States, in his Farewell Speech at the conclusion of his second term of presidency in 1796. Washington was particularly referring to the United States, then a "third-world country," in its relationships with England and France. Now, more than 200 years later, his words still ring true in regard to the Caucasus and Caspian regions.
"We live in such a strange world. Billions of dollars are spent to protect the biodiversity of our planet by protecting wild animals, rare plants and even the tiniest insects. But where do human beings fit into the picture? So often the world sits idly by, watching ethnic conflicts flare up, as if these were mere entertainment rather than human beings whose lives are being destroyed. Shouldn't the existence of even one single refugee be a cause for alarm throughout the world?"
Urkhan Alakbarov, geneticist, in an interview with Azerbaijan International, emphasizing that the deepest concern of science must always be mankind. Alakbarov was referring to the tragic situation that exists in Azerbaijan where nearly 1 million people live as refugees in a population of 7.5 million.
"The condition of war and lack of any settlement greatly damages both Azerbaijan and Armenia. However, Azerbaijan has more potential than Armenia. If the status quo continues, Azerbaijan will achieve much more than Armenia. This is obvious. But I would not like to have Armenia as a starving, embittered and "armed-to-the-teeth" neighbor. It is in the best interests of both of our countries to reach peace and develop together rather than annihilate each other."
Vafa Guluzade, Foreign Affairs Advisor to President Heydar Aliyev, in an interview with the Armenian news service Snark on June 16, 1998.
The Human Heart and Peace
"The human heart yearns for peace and love and freedom. Peace heals, elevates, and invigorates the spirit. Peace represents the health of humanity. To achieve peace, we must enlist our highest moral instincts. We must pledge, in the deepest recesses of our hearts, to respect others as we wish to be respected and to use good reason, persuasion, and good will, and not resort to a war of words or arms to influence opinions and policies. To achieve peace will require a powerful will, scrupulous character, steadfast courage, dogged discipline, and a passionate devotion to the noblest human principles. But the rewards more than justify our unremitting effort, for peace permits each of us to move forward, unimpeded, to improve humanity's lot."
Michael E. DeBakey, 90, the world's most famous heart surgeon, has just returned from Azerbaijan in August, where he met with President Aliyev to discuss plans for the establishment of a Medical Heart Center in Baku. DeBakey is Chancellor Emeritus at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Seeds of War
"No country recognizes Karabakh's independence. This is U.S. policy and it is the policy of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]. In other words, all of these countries [53 out of 54 - except Armenia] recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and that Karabakh is within the borders of Azerbaijan. Unless you want an unending future of conflict, tension and periodic wars, we urge that you talk to Azerbaijanis and the three sides reach a 'modus vivendi.' No side can win 100 percent. As I said, there is not even a dialogue, much less any progress toward an agreement [these days]. We believe that Armenia cannot realize sustained, robust economic growth unless there is a solution to the Karabakh dispute.
"As I leave Armenia, I urge you not to become complacent and think that everything is OK - it is not OK. The seeds of war are there. You should try to remove them through political negotiations...If there is no political negotiation, inevitably military tensions and military buildups go forward, eventually leading to another conflict and war. And then the process starts all over again."
Peter Tomsen, at a press conference in Yerevan, Armenia, on August 20, 1998, on the completion of what he described as "three wonderful years" as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia.
From Azerbaijan International (6.3) Autumn 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.