Blood, Oil: Which is Thicker?

Garen Yegparian


Here I am, trying to make sense of things. But, the last few days of developments and news are giving me a case of cognitive dissonance. It doesn’t help that we, Armenians, see what Turkey and Azerbaijan do as inextricably intertwined… even though sometimes they are really NOT.

There was some good news on the Hrant Dink case. A court ordered further investigation of civil servants who might have been negligent or complicit in Dink’s murder plot.

Then we had Azerbaijan downing an unarmed helicopter on a training mission resulting in the death of three members of Artsakh’s military. The Azeris are making no effort to hide or mask their provocation, since the defense ministry has announced that an officer has been honored for downing the aircraft.

Obviously, the loss of life is the first concern. Second is that the Azeris continue to probe for weakness and instigate tension along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan front. Third is that Artsakh will now be compelled to teach Azerbaijan another lesson. How can that lesson be anything but withering? And when it happens, would it be any surprise if the Azeris used it as a pretext for yet more cross-border attacks? If war is near, this is the shortest route to it.

While all this is happening, we read about “Landmine Free Artsakh Committee” raising money for the HALO Trust’s ongoing efforts to rid the area of landmines and other ordnance. The European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Ambassador Herbert Salber wants to visit Artsakh to develop awareness of conditions on the ground. Both of these are bits of good news.

Yet, there’s the countervailing bad news of the Minsk Group and other international institutions issuing their usual bloodless call for “restraint,” “non-escalation,” “honoring of commitments,” etc. Don’t these people have a conscience? Don’t they have brothers, sisters, children, and parents whose death would sorely grieve them? Why do they not strongly condemn the perpetrator of the crime, clearly naming Azerbaijan as the responsible party and taking punitive steps against it? Doesn’t this look like shades of Turkey’s Genocide denial and international complicity with it?

I can only see black, not just figuratively, but the darkness of oil. There’s no other rational explanation for the international community’s inertia in confronting Azerbaijan’s repeated ceasefire violations. These people are so worried about Baku’s petty dictator and his tantrums that they render all other considerations moot.

What are we to do? No doubt, there’ll soon be a gaping crater where the shooting that downed the helicopter came from. And after that? We must keep plugging. No one said liberation of a homeland is easy.


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