Can the Nagorno Karabakh conflict be resolved on Facebook?
Facebook has long been a valuable tool for cross-border communication between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, especially as very few options other than meeting up in third countries such as Georgia exist. Locked into a bitter dispute over the mainly Armenian populated territory of Nagorno Karabakh, recent attempts to broker the basic principles for a final peace to end the war that raged fiercest in the early 1990s have faltered, with skirmishes and incidents on the front line separating the sides causing alarm, especially in recent years.
Earlier this year the International Crisis Group warned of the danger of an ‘accidental war,’ while my own work, recently again presented two weeks ago, which set the the precedent and also the example for others to follow in facilitating open communication between young Armenians and Azerbaijanis via new and social media, might at least offer some hope in offering alternative narratives on Nagorno Karabakh. Nevertheless, despite this success, online tools such as Facebook have failed to reach most online users in both countries and continue to also be used by nationalists in order to perpetuate rather than resolve conflict.
This was most evident a few weeks ago when a Facebook Question was sent to me asking who Nagorno Karabakh belonged to. The possible answers that Facebook users could choose from were limited to just two — Armenia or Azerbaijan. Obviously, the question had only one intention — to see which side could attract the most numbers to justify their position even if it changed nothing on the ground. There were no other options — not even a ‘Don’t know’ or ‘Don’t Care, positions that the prevailing mindset in both countries demands all citizens display knee jerk reactions to.
The full post can be read on Caucasus Conflict Voices.
- 11.14.11 / 4pm by Onnik