Friday, April 23, 2010
a little dialogue while i'm bored.
Right now, I am in Quba waiting for a typical Azerbaijani-American conversation the end. Many of these conversations are political in nature and reiterate how great it is that soft diplomacy between our nations are happening. Eventually, we usually hit a wall somewhere along the line. Peace Corps Volunteers, by the very nature of what they are...international travelers...tend to look into both domestic and international events. Many Azerbaijanis in the rayons, especially those who have not left Azerbaijan, just aren't as informed on world politics and history. This is not to say that Americans know more about international affairs than Azeris...because Americans don't. I am going out on a limb and saying that many (but not all) PCVs are more aware than the average citizen of international events because, heck, we have to live outside of the US in what the US has deemed a "developing (?)" country for 27 months. PCVs are considered abnormal...or not the norm in this sense. So back to the wall: Azerbaijanis have suffered their fare share of national tragedy. After all, they are in a stalemated war as we read/type. However, a lot of Azeribaijanis are unaware of other national tragedies and this, unfortunately, creates a skewed sense of international affairs. For example, nearly none of the Azerbaijanis I've met have heard of the Khmer Rouge, the WWII Holocaust, or Sudan. And so, when Azerbaijanis tell us of their national tragedies, I think sometimes we come off as unfeeling. It isn't that we don't care or don't see violent loss of life as the sad event that it is, but we know that it isn't limited to Azerbaijan...and this is a critical thing to know.