Last night I had a bizarre dream during which, while on a company excursion to Mountainous Karabagh, Azeri forces began bombing Stepanakert, the republic’s capital. We happened to be sitting outside someplace when we became surprised by the fireworks in the evening sky. The bomb blasts seemed muted to an extent, but nevertheless, Stepanakert was under attack. This was confirmed by an English-language radio broadcast along with a front page article appearing in the New York Times, which was instantly made available to me in hard copy. It reported, along with detained graphics, that Armenia was waiting for clearance by the US to wage an air strike with 18 fighter planes on Baku, although this action was not expected to bring about some positive outcome in Karabagh’s favor, since Azerbaijan’s authorities were still dead set against giving up claim on its formerly controlled territory under any circumstances. We took cover somehow and someplace avoiding other explosions, then began our gradual return to Yerevan partly on foot, afterwards by sport utility vehicle—I remember seeing my co-worker’s UAZ “Vilis,” which is the Russian military equivalent to the original Willys Jeep, but larger and with four doors. At one point some of us floated through space in what was supposed to be my Niva, although it did not exist physically, nor did I seem to be driving it, as it ran on autopilot. While on foot we were forced to cross the rocky terrain, which seemed much more cavernous than in reality, nevertheless the trek upwards towards Shushi, then on to Lachin was arduous. At one point myself and my mother-in-law, while climbing around after dusk on some stunted rocky cliffs laden with moss and lichen, we were invited down to a military depot made of red brink appearing from nowhere by a young soldier who seemed to speak Western Armenian laced with some English. He gave me a beat-up Kalashnikov rifle, held together with black electrical tape. He did not teach me how to fire it, however, and I could not seem to get it to work, nor could my mother-in-law, who by them was in partial military uniform. We were almost ambushed by Azeris, who actually turned out to be Armenian soldiers in disguise climbing along the top of the cliffs, and who threw down another rifle for us to use, just in case. As I heard a vague buzz in my head about things going on business as usual in Stepanakert, I found myself floating about the streets of the city again, noticing that there was no sign of any UN or OSCE presence, finding that odd, but nevertheless things seemed to have been in some sort of order. I remember being in a panic to document everything going on around me in my blog, being unable to reach Yerevan anytime soon or having accessibility to the Internet. The events gradually transformed, metamorphosing into other, partially unrelated adventures, as my dreams have the habit of doing.
I suppose I have legitimate concerns in my subconscious about Azerbaijan’s motives regarding the final determination of Karabagh’s recognized status by the world as well as its own people. Diplomatic talks between the foreign ministers of both Armenia and Azerbaijan held a few weeks ago effectively lead to nowhere, with no evident crack in Azerbaijan’s hard line position. I still predict that eventually war will resume, but now I cannot say when or at what price. One thing seems to be certain—the boundaries of the South Caucasus will never remain static for more than a century at a time. They will continue to expand or contract in favor of one side or the other, and eventually the peoples of the region will intermingle, evolving into a new ethnic group if you will, hopefully agreeing to exist within a secular nation-state tolerant of diversity in subculture. The next few hundred years will be an interesting period in the world’s geopolitical transformation. Too bad we can’t stick around that long to observe what transpires.
Labels: Thoughts and Musings