Thoughts of a Dying Enemy

by Hamida Giyasbayli

“War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”

Thomas Mann, German writer (1875 – 1955)

The day is breaking. It is 8 a.m. on the clocks. The city behind the window already woke up. We’re sitting in my friend’s kitchen. Two days without sleep brings us to very strange topics of our present discussion. Instead of going to sleep we discuss politics, ideology, history, and war. Regardless of ourselves we resorted to polemics. And then my friend fed up with this argument said, “During my service in the army, every morning our commander used to tell us, ‘There are 3000 Azeri women still missing from the war, so if someday the war starts again remember, that the ones you’re killing are possibly your brothers’. I don’t want these territories, if I will have to kill for them.” He was right indeed, we had nothing to say in return.

It is a sunny Georgian morning. A loud group of Caucasian youth walks through the streets of old Tbilisi. They joke, take photos with each other, eat ice-cream, discuss future plans. They pass near a church and a synagogue. No one is offended if someone speaks his native language. There are no fears and concerns between them. There are no secret thoughts. This sense is called freedom. They are free and young. This is the best thing in the whole world they can have during this morning. Just in a couple of hours everything will change. But they don’t think about it. They have what they want here and now, so they live it till the last seconds.

One of the girls had a pain in her back and I started massaging her shoulders. She felt herself better. Not that I thought she is Armenian but some strange feelings passed through me right at the moment. I thought, how I could let myself touch her? Is it normal for me to have fun and enjoy my time with the one whose people are murderers? I took my hands away from her. Just to be sure that I won’t bring her any harm if my thoughts go too far. And then again came this understanding of the paradoxical phenomenon of my feelings – I was still thinking of how not to harm her, even if I thought, that her people are murderers. Oh, how complicated everything is. Why can’t we just stay free and young without any stereotypes and hatred against each other? Why?

I had never had these kinds of thought before. And it was too strange to have them for the first time at the 6th exchange program with Armenians. And so these were some of the most important questions of mine:

Why I don’t have this hate?

Really, why I never hated anybody? Why all these things from my childhood, that people said on TV and history lessons didn’t affect me the way it affected my peers? Why all these essays about Karabakh and Khojali we wrote in school didn’t make my childish subconscious accept an image and target of an enemy?

Am I betraying my country and my people?

I start remembering the things people sometimes say to me, like how can you share bread at one table with them or how can you forgive them for all these crimes they did. And I always answer, I don’t know… I really don’t know why and how. Why I don’t hate the ones who personally didn’t do anything to me or my family and friends; the ones, who have a belief, that I won’t kill them with an ax when they fall asleep next to me; the ones, who also suffered from the losses in this war. Or maybe its because I don’t want myself and my society to consider themselves victims anymore…

…“In fact, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light.” These words are a quote from a little tale about Albert Einstein when he was a student. I’d advise you to read it fully. So, according to this I always think on some questions that always appear in my head when I’m alone:

Is War really a cowardly escape from the problems of peace?

Are hatred, discrimination, racism, aggression and etc. just an absence of love, humaneness, tolerance and patience?

Is there still any hope left for both of our nations?

The absence of love in post soviet countries became normal and natural phenomenon. A generation was born at the turn of the collapse of USSR and brought up without love. Our parents were too traumatized with war, trying to stay afloat self-destructive communism and fight for freedom. Today we have our independent “democratic” countries, but we lost the love and friendship we had during the soviets. We are the lost generation, generation that grew up without love. Our parents do not show their love to us; our governments are not interested in us; foreign countries can only play political games with us. That is why we will hate “them” and each other. And behind our hatred we will still look for the love by showing ourselves as victims or victorious, occupiers or liberators.

How long is it going to last? Till the day we kill all our enemies! My war is already over, because I killed my enemy. The enemy that they thought was inside of me. How? I just proved that he has never existed.

So the last question standing – are you brave enough to kill the enemy inside you?

P.S. Maybe I asked too many questions and left them unanswered. But I didn’t intend on answering them for you.

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