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  • Sevinj Samadzade

"Fighting for peace" is over, but the war is not

Illustrator: Lili Nazarov

After the territorial gains Azerbaijan got in 44 days war in 2020, it did not take much time for people to wake up from the euphoria that the conflict was not over. This wake-up from the “victory” dream began when both symbolic and material expectations of war were not met. The physical deployment of Russian military units to Karabakh as soon as the ceasefire was signed, and the entry of Turkish and British companies into the region, made it clear how imperialist and capitalist powers protect their interests at the cost of thousands of lives. Moroever, since 2020 occasional so-called military operations and gained advantages in the negotiation process by Azerbaijani authorities under the name of "accelerating the peace process" raised legitimate questions for many. Finally, seeing that the war veterans, families of martyrs, and the population whose property was damaged as a result of the war, not getting the symbolic and material benefits they expected after the war and their protests, which extended to committing suicides, have at least partially changed the attitudes towards the war.

At the same time, it is clear that nationalist illusions are being reconstructed against the background of long-term militarized propaganda, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the central object in this process. That's why the fact that the ongoing war has crossed the borders of Armenia just two years after the big-scale war still seems like a fair attack to the vast majority. As if this wasn’t enough, tracing the broken collective psyche that supports war crimes shows how violence and dehumanization are normalized by warmongers who have lost their morals and conscience. For many people outside the pan-Turkist and fascist discourses, the desire to acquire new land like Zangezur with military aggressions does not have as much symbolic meaning as before, living them in confusion to find meaning in this new aggression. For example, in this recent survey shared on Meydan TV, many of the interviewees are disappointed with the recent events. It is probably obvious to many people that soldiers who die or got injured in short-term military aggressions such as "borderization" are not dying for "peace". It is perhaps the best moment to show the masses, who feel in constant uncertainty and danger, that the abstraction of "peace" will not come with war. But for now, the topic is limited to the problematic nature of "dying". Perhaps the ethical aspects of the anti-war position will become clearer to many people once they see that killing is also problematic.

Within authoritarian stability, not only ethical questions, but also collective memory, war-related stories, and resentments are not openly discussed, and collective anger is naturally very easily directed against "othered" groups. Thus, those who take any anti-war position that breaks the sweet alliance between the authorities and the masses around war are easily "alienated" and become targets of anger. So the most we can do now is to contribute to dispelling the myths so that for many, the right target of anger can be found. While people have no voice in domestic politics, there is obviously no room for avoiding being an instrument in the big geopolitical games. Nevertheless, this still can be a useful moment for many to dispel the illusion around conflict by understanding that they are not "fighting for peace" or, in other words, "not waging a just war" and the conflict will not be over unless we stand against war.


Note: For additional information, I should mention that 3 days ago in Tbilisi, we-three people did a small demonstration against war. This not-so-visible action attracted some attention and can actually be useful in terms of reminding us how important collective solidarity against war is at the current moment.



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