The dream is possible, but the reality remains harsh - Philip Roche tells his story of the visit to frontline region of Azerbaijan - PHOTOS | Eurasia Diary -

26 June, Wednesday

The dream is possible, but the reality remains harsh - Philip Roche tells his story of the visit to frontline region of Azerbaijan - PHOTOS

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On the invitation of the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) deputy principal at British School Baku Philip Roche visited the frontline region of Azerbaijan and participated in the charity action. Since the time when he heard about the difficulties faced by children in the war-affected regions of Azerbaijan he expressed the willingness to see the situation with his own eyes.

President of the IEPF Umud Mirzayev informed Philip Roche about Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its consequences. Roche visited Hesangaya village in Terter region and met with local residents. He also saw "Maraga 150" monument destroyed by Armenians and knew about its history. Being impressed by what he saw Philip Roshe shared his impressions with Eurasia Diary. He titled his story, "The dream is possible, but the reality remains harsh".

"The struggle in the region has been on-going for some years, with explosions of conflict in which they choose to remind the Azerbaijanis that they should not relax nor feel in any way comfortable. Whilst tension has existed for some time it was in the 1990s that the pressure increased, and a full-scale war began ending in what can only be described as genocide, the massacre of the Azerbaijani people, thousands were killed. Khojaly and other regions were raised to the ground.

The situation is no different today it remains an area of conflict and a region in desperation, a region where people live with the pressure of losing the little that they have. 
Research tells us that a reason albeit a poor one is that the brutal killing of innocent men women and children was simply a way to intimidate This intimidation this slaughter was carried out simply because it could be. The world, though intrinsically supportive of the Azerbaijani people remain passive in their response, believing that to do more would only encourage more violence, so it is better to go with the status quo.

In so many ways this ongoing conflict, apart from denying people the right of identity, also denies them the physical right of land to pasture, to grow crops to make a profit. 
Instead the frugality of life is literally hand to mouth. They have assistance but it does not seem to cover their basic needs. Their cultural needs the means to give them a sense of identity has been violated to the extent that it is nonexistent. To belong, to be, to have a sense that they matter, is a constant struggle. Seeing the way that these people live is a moving experience, to live among the bombed out remains of homes, to live in the knowledge that their friends, family and loved ones died has to be the most difficult thing to contend with. The young people smile, chat and do the things that other young people would do except that they have to do it with a sense of darkness about them.

Education and the means to achieve it, is within their reach but like so many things it takes determination and the willingness to take a step forward and commit to the work being carried out by the IEPF. This way we give these young people the opportunity to succeed and to know that there are some people who want to care and want to help. 
Seeing the black fields, the destroyed homes and ultimately the smiles of young people is a strong reason to want to help.

"I've experienced civil war in Ukraine I witnessed the troubles in Cairo but each of them did not connect with me completey. I was affected, of course but the areas where the troubles were situated were restricted to a specific location ensuring that the functions of a city were not damaged. Cairo was the same, my life and my everyday activities continued unaffected." 
The trip to the Terter region and then the drive through check-points to villages that bare the scars was poignant. The bombed-out house that only two-years before held in its wall’s laughter and fun, now holds the silent voices of a family, a young girl a faceless, voiceless cry that will forever go unanswered.

The Armenian/Azerbaijan conflict remains largely unknown. Generally, people know Azerbaijan for the formula One and nothing more. My perception of this conflict is the cruelty and the determination of one country to inflict both mental and physical pain on another. My wish is that talking which should not be considered the weaker option but rather that of a stronger one. That talking will cause a shift in the thoughts and actions of those who need to listen and to accept. The IEPF wish to promote peace, not just for now and not just as a passive action but as a full and meaningful approach that will stop the deaths, the pain and the emotional turmoil. Peace is the hardest action to endorse and to follow.

I asked the question during my short visit and the beginning of many visits, why is this conflict not known about.  The answer is perhaps a cynical one but for the most part nonetheless true. It is forgotten, because the cause is not popular, it is not glamorous. 
And while war should not be viewed as glamorous it is nonetheless a term that seems to benefit others in terms of construction and other civil benefits to be gained as the consequence of unrest.

So, I went to the region as a foreigner, little versed in the art of war not trained in diplomacy just armed with a willingness to help and be of use I left with a mark on my soul that will never shift it will colour my thoughts and challenge my convictions for some time to come and I hope from that I will move forward and create a project that will be sustainable, a joint venture that will develop and promote young people.

It is time for people to listen to reconsider their passive approach take affirmative action, make a stand and promote the positives. 
The regions are under constant bombardment, water is redirected causing a continuous drought. Food and resources are scarce and the chance of achieving must at times feel so far away, a speck on the horizon.

These people deserve more and should have more. We can be the ones to give it to them. Will you help?

Together we are unstoppable – or at least we can be".







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