Good news was that Armenian and Azeri press clubs with a joint initiative launched common website Writers vs. Conflicts for literarily exchanges. As the website claims, it aims at providing a platform for a dialogue between sides using a literature to re-create some bridges between nations. In present climate of lack of communication and contacts, it will introduce current developments in the literature in respective countries to the Armenian and Azeri audiences. The site also provides a forum for discussions on various topics. They will present mainly modern authors from both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Later, other countries in the region may join too. Currently, the site operates in 3 languages – Armenian, Azeri and Russian. English version will become operational soon. The site is in pilot stages now, so more developed versions can be expected in near future.
I always liked the weekly South Caucasian programme in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where journalists from three countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) present reports on chosen social topic. That programme once again proved to me that along with differences, there are many similarities between us and what we lack are contacts and communication between ordinary people, civic society representatives and so on. Basically, simple human contacts... And I welcome the initiative of press clubs to try to re-establish some relations in the literature field.
One technical remark: I find the sound of the site animation annoying and difficult to get rid off; it disturbs reader from reading itself; it will be more user-friendly if by default that animation was soundless, with the option for a viewer to switch it on and off based on preferences.
And bad news... According to the results of the survey in Georgia, only 4% of respondents considered neighbouring Armenia a friendly country. I am not sure how representative this survey is, but assuming it reflects at least partly the reality, it shows how far we are from each other in terms of mutual understanding and trust, despite being so close geographically and culturally. I understand, there may be distrust and misunderstanding between neighbours, but this poll shows that complex regional and global politics are able to ruin neighbourly relationships without the need for war or direct conflicts. I assume that along with other factors, one of the main reasons of low trust in Armenia is that Armenia is considered the most pro-Russian country in the region – only 1% of surveyed Georgians considered Russia a friendly state, while Azerbaijan, Ukraine, USA and Estonia top the list of friendly countries, as voted by those surveyed.