Thursday, April 17, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Letter's wording helps fuel distrust between countries
A response to the letter by Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, "Armenian enclave continues to be targeted by Azerbaijan" (March 6):
I am a recently Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in the Republic of Azerbaijan. I in no way wish to defend Azerbaijan's foreign policy nor downplay Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte's tragic experiences. I do, however, want to highlight that the rhetoric with which the author writes is the same language that perpetuates this terrible conflict.
The author assigns all of the blame to Azerbaijan in this ongoing war. How can Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte measure the tripling of "Azeri rhetoric" against Armenians?
Additionally, Nagorno-Karabakh has not rejoined Armenia because the U.N. Security Council officially recognizes it as the rightful land of Azerbaijan.
She vilified an entire nation without any consideration for the "innocent" Azerbaijanis who have also suffered. She speaks of two Azerbaijans, both rich and laden with "skyscrapers" and "caviar." That is not the Azerbaijan I know.
It is the responsibility of both sides to recognize their culpability in this war. During my 27 months in Azerbaijan's outer regions, refugees and locals only ever wanted to stubbornly blame the other country for their national and personal woes. Most of these people were uneducated individuals whose opinions were fueled by personal tragedy and government propaganda.
Unilateral blame and partisan rhetoric, like that used by Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte, will only contribute to the protractedness of this tragic conflict.
Members of the diasporas of these countries, especially people like Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte, impartially educate the general public here and attempt to foster peace and reconciliation.
Both countries suffered from Soviet oppression, together. Now, both must accept responsibility and reconcile, together. Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte could and should do more to bridge the gap. Letters like the one she wrote do nothing to encourage a much-needed peace.
RPCV Azerbaijan, 2010-12
Impact of racism deserves our continued attention
Thank you to Wes Pelletier for a cogently argued letter ("Less visible now, racism still hurts many," March 6).
The rhetoric about a "post-racial" society reminds me of the "end of history" rhetoric at the end of the Cold War, and makes as little sense in the face of overwhelming evidence of continued backlash. I would add to his list: the prison industry, voter suppression and the disproportionate impact of the Great Recession on people of color, just for starters.
On top of that, misogyny is alive, well and disturbingly on display in the last election ("legitimate rape," anyone?).
On top of that, First Peoples in our country continue to be treated poorly, deliberately misunderstood and violently targeted.
When any of us is diminished and weakened, we are all diminished and weakened. Let us continue to be aware and attentive.