August 31, 2010

What is the Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict?

iToday I received a flyer "The independence of Artsakh doesn't have an alternative" with a red-blue-orange stripes from a young girl who was passing near very quickly and giving them to the people in the streets of Yerevan.
"What is this?", I wandered.

Inscription on the flyer- "The independence of Artsakh doesn't have an alternative, September 2nd, at 19:00, Dinamo stadium, Vardanants Str 69, Mass Meeting".

On the reverse side of the flyer it was written "Dear countryman, September 2nd is the independence day of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It's a victory day and a holiday for us but it's also a reason to speak about problems and what we should do..."

Many of my "international" friends from different countries ask me about it: "What is the problem of Artsakh". Here is a reason to tell you the whole story about that.

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic &
the conflict of Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus. Sometimes it is also called Artsakh.

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR) became disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1918.

Let's first compare some quick facts which may show why Kharabakh can't be under the control of Azerbaijan:

1. Population
Population of Armenia-Armenians
Population of NKR-Armenians
Population of Azerbaijan-Azerbaijani

2. Religion
Religion of Armenia-Christianity
Religion of NKR-Christianity
Religion of Azerbaijan-Islam

Language of Armenia-Armenian
Language of NKR-Armenian
Language of Azerbaijan-Azerbaijani language

4.State flag
Flag of Armenia

Flag of NKR

Flag of Azerbaijan

5.Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms of Armenia

Coat of Arms of NKR

Coat of Arms of Azerbaijan

Now it's time for historical facts.

1917: After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Karabakh became part of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, which soon dissolved into separate Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian States.

From 1918 till 1920 there were a series of short wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan over several regions, including Karabakh. In July 22, 1918, the First Armenian Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh declared the region self-governing and created a National Council and government.
After this the Azerbaijani Government was trying to incorporate Nagorno Karabakh into the Azerbaijani territory with the help of theTurkish troops. Ottoman troops entered Karabakh, meeting armed resistance by Armenians. After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Karabakh.

1920: In April 1920, while the Azerbaijani army was locked in Karabakh fighting local Armenian forces, Azerbaijan was taken over by Bolsheviks. Subsequently, the disputed areas of Karabakh, Zangezur, and Nakhichevan came under the control of Armenia. During July and August, however, the Russian Red Army occupied Karabakh, Zangezur, and part of Nakhichevan. On August 10, 1920, Armenia signed a preliminary agreement with the Bolsheviks, agreeing to a temporary Bolshevik occupation of these areas until final settlement would be reached.

1921: In 1921, Armenia and Georgia were also taken over by the Bolsheviks who, in order to attract public support, promised they would allot Karabakh to Armenia, along with Nakhichevan and Zangezur (the strip of land separating Nakhchivan from Azerbaijan proper). However, the Soviet Union also had far-reaching plans concerning Turkey, hoping that it would, with a little help from them, develop along Communist lines. Needing to placate Turkey, by the decision of Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union agreed to a division under which Zangezur would fall under the control of Armenia, while Karabakh and Nakhchivan would be under the control of Azerbaijan.
Had Turkey not been an issue, Stalin would likely have left Karabakh under Armenian control.

1923: As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was established within the Azerbaijan SSR on July 7, 1923.

It is very important to remember that during all this period the population of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was consisting of christian Armenians who were speaking Armenian and have Armenian lifestyle.
With the Soviet Union firmly in control of the region, the conflict over the region died down for several decades.

1990s: With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. Accusing the Azerbaijani SSR government of conducting forced azerification of the region, the majority Armenian population, with ideological and material support from the Armenian SSR, started a movement to have the autonomous oblast transferred to the Armenian SSR.

Karabakh War & Independence

1991: From the beginning of 1991 Azerbaijan embarked on attacking the Armenian population of both the Nagorno Karabakh region and also the Shahoumian district. In the district there appeared leaflets containing an ultimatum demand that the Armenian people should leave the bounds of Nagorno- Karabakh at the earliest possible date.

April: The situation in Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent Armenian districts became tense.One such action that gave rise to deterioration in the region was Operation Ring. This punitive act taken against the Armenians in late April and early May of 91 involved the forces of the USSR Ministry of the Interior together with Azerbaijani special militia detachments. On the pretext of a passport "check" an unprecedented action of state terror was carried out with the aim of destroying the brain-center of the Movement and annihilating the national unity. The first victims became the villagers of Getashen and Martunashen of the Khanlar district of Azerbaijan. The male population was taken out in an unknown direction where a "passport check" took place accompanied with brutality, looting, and robbery. During three days the population of 24 Karabakh villages was subjected to similar treatment and deportation. Two of the villages were in the Khanlar district, three in the Shahumian district, fifteen in the Hadrut district and four in the Shushi district. As a result of these actions in Karabakh and in near- border of Armenia more than 100 people were killed and several hundred more were taken hostages.

May: On April 24, the Armenian Supreme Soviet Chairman directed a letter to the USSR leadership with the request to take urgent measures for protecting and ensuring security guarantees of the Armenian population of the district. On May 3, the Armenian Party organization’s active members addressed President of the USSR M. Gorbachev with the same request. On May 4, the meetings of President of Armenia L.Ter-Petrossian with M.Gorbachev and President of Russia B.Yeltsin took place, but they did not produce a statement following the meeting. The USSR MVD (Interior Ministry) troops with the Azerbajani OMON continued to conduct their punitive operations. It was evident that the trend of developments was leading to a wide-scale war.

As a result of the critical situation in Nagorno Karabakh the executive committee of the district Soviet announced both locally and to the world in general that they had declared state of emergency in the district. On the same day the executive committee addressed the UN and the leadership of a number of countries with the request to save the Armenian people of NKAO from physical extermination and grant them political asylum.

On December 10, 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence from Azerbaijan as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Continuation soon!

Though we have lost a lot of Armenian soldiers in Karabakh war, but we are proud now that this sign, which says "Free Artsakh welcomes you" stands in that region.

And at the end, I just want to add that I personally lived in that war situation, when in Armenia there was no water, light, gas and electricity and will never wish any kid to experience that.

Peace and happiness to everybody!

...Great Nature's Open Book

Somewhere in England (probably in Bournemouth) there is a stone with an inscription "LOOK ROUND AND READ GREAT NATURE'S OPEN BOOK". Please, tell me in the comments below where the stone is located or who has created it, if you know.

August 18, 2010

Gift from grandfather

Today I received two fantastically old dictionaries from my grandfather as a gift. He has used the dictionaries many years ago while working in different organizations and doing translations form Persian to English and vice versa.One of the dictionaries is Iranian-English and the other one is English-Iranian. They can be treasures for any museum and they are treasures for me too. They not only look but also smell really old.
"Khayyam Dictionary", Iranian-English, 1315-1936,
فرهنگ خیام - فارسی بانگلیسی

"The Pocket Dictionary", English-Iranian, by A. A. Kavoosi Baroomand, Tehran, Ordibehesht, 1317, 1938

Dear grandpa, thank you very much! I hope to develop my knowledge of Persian quicker with these dictionaries :)

August 8, 2010

Can you spot the fake smile?

Can you spot is the smile of a person real or fake??? Don't know the answer? Try this quick test to find out. Click on the image below or this link to start the test:

Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don't always know what others are really feeling.

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract. These are the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth outwards.

Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.

Lines around the eyes do sometimes appear in intense fake smiles, and the cheeks may bunch up, making it look as if the eyes are contracting and the smile is genuine. But there are a few key signs that distinguish these smiles from real ones. For example, when a smile is genuine, the eye cover fold - the fleshy part of the eye between the eyebrow and the eyelid - moves downwards and the end of the eyebrows dip slightly.

Scientists distinguish between genuine and fake smiles by using a coding system called the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), which was devised by Professor Paul Ekman of the University of California and Dr Wallace V. Friesen of the University of Kentucky.


August 3, 2010

Body Language & Mehrabian's 7%-38%-55% Rule

Researchers think that human communication consists of 93% from body language and only 7% from words themselves. However, as my countryman Albert Mehrabian (currently Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA) states, this is a misunderstanding of the findings.

In his studies, Mehrabian comes to two conclusions. Firstly, that there are basically three elements in any communication process:

  • Words
  • Tone of voice
  • Nonverbal behaviour

Secondly, the non-verbal elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude, especially when they are incongruent: If words disagree with the tone of voice and nonverbal behaviour, people tend to believe the tonality and nonverbal behaviour.

According to Mehrabian, these three elements account differently for our liking for the person who puts forward a message concerning their feelings: words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of the liking. They are often abbreviated as the "3 Vs" for Verbal, Vocal & Visual.

August 2, 2010

My Flickr Photostream

One of my friends, Stefano, inspired me to create my Flickr photostream. I'm interested in photography for a long time but I'm not a professional photographer. All the photos I've ever made were only located in folders and never released to the public. From now on they will.

Here is the link to Flickr photostream:

August 1, 2010

New YouTube Channel

My new video channel is ready! Enjoy it!