Friday, September 07, 2007

Parted Friends

IWPR has a fascinating article about how friends in Armenia and Azerbaijan who were separated by the Karabakh conflict are keeping in touch. As part of that conflict, Armenians and Azeris were driven out of each other's territory and links between the two were severed. This happened despite the fact that there seems to have been very little grassroots enmity between the two groups, and when I was there last October it was striking how people on both sides emphasized those good relations which they seemed to think were only temporarily suspended by the conflict.

The internet makes the headline, and the piece talks about a BBC service dedicated to helping people get in touch with lost friends, but the article also talks about a Red Cross postal service operating in areas which don't have internet access. All of this makes it seem like the conflict really shouldn't be as divisive as nationalists and grand-standing politicians on both sides have made it. I also wonder if, at some point in the future, we could see something similar between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq.

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