Tuesday, March 23

Writing for BBC Azeri service- "Focusing on the positive"

Social Media and Conflict Resolution Diary- can new social media change the situation? Are there any harmful sides to it? Can new social media become part of nationalistic campaign to channel through negative messages? Or be a platform for sharing experiences and ideas? And on more similar points, please follow:

Though in Azeri, it offers a glimpse of what the two sides- Azerbaijan and Armenia- are doing on Facebook and what are the positive as well as negative sides to it. This is just the first post by Onnik Krikorian and me, and there will be more to come.

Below, you can read my original post in English.

"Browsing through status updates on Facebook, I come across an update by an Azeri friend of mine, who posts this link on his status: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=354508949404&ref=nf. I get inspired also as the caption of the posts reads: “Organizer of this event is my friend, mets ashkhatavor (great worker) Georgi Vanyan!”

This is just one of the numerous examples Facebook- one of the most popular social networks used by millions today- been part of. Also part of a new phenomenon- new social media- Facebook has become a platform for Azerbaijanis and Armenians to share their similarities and differences, talk about politics, culture, life, art and etc.

The use of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs in the Caucasus, and especially in Armenia and Azerbaijan, have all in their own ways opened new opportunities for youth living in these two countries.

I joined Facebook in 2005, back in a day when it was opened only for students living and studying in the UK, Europe and US. If I was told back then, that in few years, I will be giving trainings on new social media such as Facebook, I would have probably dismissed that idea and find it perhaps even somewhat ridiculous.

However, fast forward five years, I cannot hide my excitement, every time when I talk about this to an audience of Azerbaijani, Armenian and Georgian youth, sharing positive experience I have had and citing an incredible amount of positive feedback on my work on building cross- country dialogue.

As a result, I met many Armenian talented young minds. And also, took part in what was a spontaneous and unexpected trip to an ethnically Azeri populated village in Georgia, with a journalist from Yerevan, Onnik Krikorian. We then shared our experience on the Internet via Facebook, our personal blogs, and of course, Twitter. The amount of positive feedback we received was incredible, demonstrating that things can change in a positive way and that while both Azerbaijanis and Armenians can work together, but they could also co- exist together."


Anonymous said...

@Arzu, you know one day we (two conflicting) nations, will work, live, co-exist together, it just takes time...what? we are perfectly fine with germans, persians, RUSSIANS with all who we were in a "war"! We love Russians so much that speaking Russian language in Azerbaijan is a matter of being a cool person. :) If to look back, they have done more harm than armenians...does anyone remember about it? so, it all depends on the angle you look at it and time....just have patience...:)



Onnik Krikorian said...

Arzu, you rock... :)

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading an English translation of the BBC Azeri article ;) Great job, Arzu!

Marda said...

Hey guys, your work has been very much an inspiration for me...keep up a good work...regards from Georgia

Onnik Krikorian said...

Just posted the English Version on Global Voices Online:

Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary

moonlight said...

You are a beautiful, smart, talented girl. You made me feel really proud of our youth. I thought everybody was in deep trance. Keep up the good work. We need to educate, educate, educate masses.
It is so amazing to see how the middleaged, fat, crooked officials are terrified of the youth like you, Emin, Adnan... You guys are glimpse of sunshine in all this darkness.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Parts II and III are now also available in English on Global Voices Online. Actually, probably best just to list all three links:

Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary
Armenia-Azerbaijan: BBC Azeri Facebook Diary III

Great last entry for the diary, btw. :)