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  • Feminist Peace Collective

A joint statement by Armenian and Azerbaijani feminists on the revolutionary March 8 : Down with your patriarchal "peace"!

The statement is available in Armenian , Azerbaijani and Turkish languages.


On this revolutionary 8th of March, we, the feminists of Armenia and Azerbaijan, unite and say: Down with your patriarchal "peace"!

 

Over the past three years, the authorities have fuelled the flames of animosity, cynically claiming progress towards peace while stoking the fires of nationalism. They speak of borders and corridors, all while neglecting the urgent need for genuine reconciliation.

 

But we see through their façade. Their hollow promises of so-called peace are to point fingers to the other side, reinforcing oppressive structures and silencing dissent internally. They prioritize their own power and security, while disregarding the well-being of those they claim to protect.

 

We refuse to be complicit in their charade. We demand an end to their manipulative games and false narratives. Our struggle is not for deterrence, balance of armament but for true peace between people.

 

Enough with these illusions! We recognize that, in the eyes of the authorities, our perpetual endangerment is a prerequisite for their own safety. But who do they truly safeguard? Certainly not the people. The ruling class, who strive for one thing: to create a supposed collective interest through nationalism and secure their profit and retention of power through this war work. The bitter reality is that they are the architects of our peril. Our task is therefore to suffocate this peril at its roots through collective action.

 

Why should we place our trust in the Aliyev regime — a regime that pollutes lands and poisons people with toxic mine water, such as in the village of Soyudlu; that metes out violence against dissenters, including elderly women of Soyudlu during the protest in 2023; that carries out ethnic cleansing of over 100.000 the Armenian populace of Nagorno Karabakh under the guise of "just revenge," before it purposefully let Armenian populace of Nagorno Karabakh starve for over 10 months through a blockade in 2023; that claims part of Armenia as "historical lands of Azerbaijan" and carries out conspiracies a.k.a. historical revisionism through propaganda in the media, and that perpetuates its grip on power through sham "elections"?

 

Why should we put any faith in Aliyev's sexist and fear-mongering regime that adhering faithfully to its tyrannical  traditions, recently kidnapped and imprisoned over 20 journalists just two days before March 8, to supress the feminist demonstration in Baku from going public? At its core, this regime's assault on independent journalism is a brazen attempt to silence voices of truth and dissent, thus perpetuating a system of oppression and exploitation. By monopolizing information and crushing any semblance of independent reporting, Aliyev's regime seeks to entrench its power and dominance over the masses, which they already have to a great extend.

 

Inspired by the playbook of his authoritarian brothers like Erdogan and Putin, Aliyev employs fear tactics as a means of control. Erdogan's ruthless crackdown on media dissent and Putin's ultra-conservatism - new export material - serves as a precedent and inspiration, one that Aliyev seeks to emulate in his quest for unchallenged authority. This calculated strategy entails a gradual erosion rather than a rapid one, as legal amendments and systematic targeting of activists and journalists pave the way for totalitarian rule.

 

Make no mistake: Aliyev's regime is no sovereign.  Despite all the efforts to demonstrate independence and create the image of the mid-power in the region, in the end, Aliyev regime's trajectory towards ultra-conservatism, ultra-nationalism and pan-Turkist ideologies is indicating who holds the ropes in this puppet theatre and how the war is going to be permanent, rendering the notion of so-called peace a distant fantasy. Western democracies, in their purported efforts at mediation, appear complicit in this dangerous trajectory, tacitly endorsing the regime's interests.

 

Then why should we place our faith in liberal democracy, a system that legitimizes fascist regimes like Azerbaijan's under the guise of achieving so-called peace? Figures like Charles Michel exemplify this hypocrisy, engaging in diplomatic gestures while turning a blind eye to the regime's atrocities, including torture, kidnapping, and the imprisonment of dissenting voices. They prioritize economic interests, exemplified by hosting events like the 2024 Climate Change Conference in Azerbaijan, which serves to expand the so-called "free market" and thereby sustains the fascist regime's grip on power. We reject both paternalist liberal authoritarianism through so-called "dimokrasi" in the region and etatist authoritarianism of Aliyev.

 

Why should we place our trust in the Pashinyan regime, which co-opted the uprising of Armenia's working class in 2018 and imposing neoliberal policies shortly after coming into power, such as the flat taxation system, and the suppression of the movement against the goldmine in Amulsar? Instead of bringing a resolution, Pashinyan  doubled down on the nationalist and militarist rhetoric of his predecessors. The 2020 escalation of the 30-year-long war showcased just how much all the Armenian governments had misinformed and isolated the Armenian public from the realities around Karabakh: the occupation of the 7 regions, the inevitability of compromise to achieve a resolution and the atrocities committed by the Armenian side.

 

The Pashinyan regime gave mixed messages about the conflict, initially talking about resolutions that would be acceptable to the people of Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. However, they soon shifted to the same nationalism that had existed before. This shift was coined four years ago by Pashinyan's infamous phrase "Arstakh is Armenia, period!". Thousands of people have died in those four years, yet the mixed messaging continues.

 

The Pashinyan government has no problem keeping the Armenian population in uncertainty. They speak about "peace talks", "opening of communications' and a "Peace crossroads" no less. Yet the "peace talks" are failing, people continue to die on the borders and the society keeps living in uncertainty, with constant fears of  new escalations and no perspectives or ideas about reconciliation. This is because these talks aren't aimed at achieving peace in the region but rather gaining or maintaining political power and serving the interests of various geopolitical actors.

 

In the minds of these regimes, the "peace" is not about the people. It's about trade routes, the flow of goods, imperial interests, and not the people. And while the two regimes are gambling, the threats of possible escalations continue. They have co-opted the discourse on peace and made it all about themselves.

 

We refuse to submit to their oppressive reign. Our bodies, our region, our communities—they are not bargaining chips for their political games. We know this ongoing conflict is not merely between nations—it is an assault on our very existence. We, the women* and queers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, find ourselves ensnared in a web of deprivation, violence, and uncertainty, all fuelled by the relentless militarization of recent years. Our bodies, our lives, our present and futures—all sacrificed on the altar of masculine pride and militaristic agendas.

 

We are coerced into birthing soldiers for their wars, forced to abort female fetuses deemed unfit for their violent ambitions. Our voices are silenced as we toil in unpaid or low paid private and public care roles, relegated to the margins of society. We are trans women that face constant threats and violence, we are queer youth that struggle with the weight of societal rejection and despair.

 

The patriarchal oppression we endure and the false promises of peace they peddle serve only to perpetuate their dominance over us. We also know that resolution 1325 on so called "women, peace and security" likewise serves the violent illusion of capitalist peace: militarizing gender with essentialist claim, oppressing, perpetuating exploitative war, under the guise of so-called stability in the region in unjustly violent circumstances. We refuse to be silenced or subjugated. We stand united in our defiance, reclaiming our autonomy, our dignity, and our right to exist on our own terms.

 

We only trust in our community, which is trying to get rid of hegemonic dead-end nationalism and thereby take responsibility in an organized way. Our bodies are not tools for their conquests, nor are our lives expendable in their quest for power. We demand an end to their violence, an end to their oppression, and an end to their patriarchal "peace." We will not rest until our bodies, our lives, and our present and futures are no longer casualties of their wars.

 

We cannot emphasize enough: achieving peace transcends state agreements alone. Peace enforced from above merely serves to bolster the interests of rapacious arm-dealers and perpetuate neoliberal hegemony, exploiting identity politics to sow division and maintain control. As long as wealth remains concentrated in the hands of the elite, nationalism and enmity will be used to justify oppressive policies and wars, as exemplified by the actions of Aliyev's regime.

 

It's imperative to focus on the class struggle against the injustices of hierarchical values, authoritarian structures, and societies built on patriarchal-capitalist norms. True emancipation, including peace, will come through grassroots organization, fostering solidarity between Azerbaijanis and Armenians based on feminist principles. This process, spanning multiple stages, will unite rather than divide us. Feminist revolution is our response to these oppressive conditions and power dynamics.

 

Together, we reject the patriarchal systems that seek to divide, control and discipline  us. We stand in solidarity, determined to forge a new path free from oppression and exploitation.

 

Down with your patriarchal "peace"—our feminist peace will not be co-opted!


08 March 2024

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