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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Nationalists gone hysterical in Armenian sector of Facebook over Azeri Film Festival in Yerevan


It’s funny how Armenian nationalists, self-proclaimed propagandists or ‘defendants’ of Armenian interests (whether in Armenia or Diaspora) are all up in arms to express their “outrage” when Armenian writers, artists, or anything Armenia related get threatened, abused and discriminated against in Turkey or Azerbaijan. They are all up in arms to “protest” and “expose” discrimination and abuse directed at few brave Turkish or Azeri voices who express different to the ‘accepted’ views in relation to Armenia, Karabakh or the Armenian Genocide.

But look at the nationalist hysteria that was generated and going on after the event’s page was set up for the Azeri Film Festival in Yerevan, Armenia (see poster above and FB page). Many of the most vocal and repetitive haters are those born in/around early 90s, a so called ‘lost generation’, who probably saw this as a chance for self-affirmation or whatever.

I am not going to repeat totally sh*tty language they use to show off how ‘patriotic’ they are and how ‘treacherous’ the organisers or supporters/attendants of the film festival are.

I strongly believe that art, and culture, do not recognise borders. Even if countries are at the state of war. Art, and films, are the best way for ordinary people to get to know each other better, to break the ice, even or especially in case of closed borders. There is also internet, of course, and meetings outside the national borders.

I have no problem if there are people who protest the idea or the fact of the festival. It’s their right. But do it in a (at least remotely) civilised way, without engaging the lowest possible denominator of nationalist/racist crap, personal attacks and threats to individuals. There is a fine line when freedom of speech gets transformed into something that should be considered within the frames of legal/criminal code. Many have already crossed that line.

And they pour tons of hatred, slander, nationalist crap and threats towards (among others) one of the brightest and the bravest souls in contemporary Armenia, writer and activist, and dreamer Lusine Vayachyan, who happened to help the organiser to set up the event’s page in Facebook, and supports the idea of film festival. Vayach, you have my respects. If only we have more dreamers in Armenia...

It’s an unfortunate reality that ‘treacherous’ Armenians become heroes only after their death. R.I.P., Hrant Dink...

*Recommended reading:

Azerbaijan Film Festival in Yerevan Sparks Hatred and Xenophobia

Armenian Writer Threatened for Facebook Page on Azerbaijan Film Screenings in Yerevan

No Enemy Nations, Only Regressive Societies and Governments: Ara Nedolyan

Intolerance Hidden Under Veil of Patriotism is Dangerous: Opinion

Hatred and Xenophobia is Alive and Well

21 comments:

Adrineh said...

Thanks, Mika, for the post. At first I wanted to write the hateful comments and derogatory words (and their English translation) posted on the FB event page, but then I thought why should I promote them? And why repeat their b**sh**? But these young nationalists, born in the early 90s as you say, are relentless! And the unfortunate thing is they have supporters :( Well, this story is older than the history books, I'd say, and the struggle continues... ;)

vako said...

Myrthe, I know it's going way too much and as you said the majority of the commentators are young, but I don't agree with much of what you've written!!!!!!
I'll ask you one question; would the Dutch allow the Germans to have a film festival ...in Amsterdam right after WWII?????? think about it that way and you'll find answers

artmika said...

Vako, I assume there is confusion here. Myrthe did not write this post, she simply shared it on her FB page.

Ruben Muradyan said...

Mika, today me and Vanyan were invited to Radio Azatutyun to discuss this issue.
Vanyan preferred not to come, giving me an opportunity to have one-sided speech. I will post the raw record of my speech after 4 PM, or you may listen to it from Azatutyun Radio website at 4 PM in Max Liberty program.

To cut it short - I have nothing against azeri films, I'm against the one-sided efforts. Additionally, just to show my understanding, I want to stress my full support to an Internews project, that includes representatives from two sides.

artmika said...

Ruben, thanks, I'll do my best to listen to the radio programme, or alternatively will catch it up when you post it.

See, that's the point. I have nothing against people protesting the festival. What I am against is this whole hysteria by some people who, unlike you, do not present with any arguments, instead engaging in hate, threats, personal attacks.

While I'd prefer similar events taking place in both countries, I personally have nothing against staging it in Armenia, even if not reciprocated by Azeri side. I believe Armenia could set such examples.

As to the films, I am genuinely curious in learning of contemporary cinematography from Azerbaijan which I have no knowledge of whatsoever. And my interest in films has nothing to do with my attitude toward politics and policies carried out by Azeri government.

What I would be interested to know how they selected the films to be shown during the festival. What were the criteria? And why we did not see any programme with the listing of films with brief descriptions (a usual practice in case of any festival)?

Ruben Muradyan said...

Here's my favorite, from everything, I've seen.
It's quite old, and I'm not sure that it is included in Vanyan's festival, but I think, that you will enjoy it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_-P-052fZc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qf73AitZrfU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeLkiWosxIw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jW94H_pbsJw

Ruben Muradyan said...

As for the event itself.
I, with some concerns, will accept this festival, if it was announced free of politics.
But Vanyan clearly voiced, that the aim of this festival is to begin a dialogue. A dialog in armenian society.
While I'm a little bit curious, where is the connection between azeri films and dialogues in Armenia. I think that his guy is simple brainwashing people.

Additionally, I do not understand, why there are no such events in Azerbaijan.

Mika, there's no peace treaty between our countries. It is sad, but it is true. Keeping in mind, that Vanyan is the only armenian guy welcomed on azeri news resources, his infamous "Days of Azerbaijan in Armenia" (which we have dicussed IRL), his publications on his site - southcaucasus.com I simply reckon, that he has some hidden agenda behind all this staff.
And his absence in studio of Azatutyun Radio proves my suspisions.

artmika said...

OMG, Ruben, I now watched all 4 parts of the film, you are killing me :)))

Ruben Muradyan said...

BTW I've published the recording of my interview in my blog.
Will be happy to hear comments.

artmika said...

...And here is Lusine Vayachyan's opinion and reflection (AM only):

Ադրբեջանական ֆիլմերի փառատոնի շուրջ, կամ ինչպես հեշտ ստանալ «երրորդ ուժ»

Below are two quotes:

"Իսկ էս քանի օրվա Ֆեյսբուքից ես հասկացա, որ ֆաշիզմի հոտ եմ առնում, ոչ թե իսկական ազգայնականի, այլ պրիմիտիվ ֆաշիզմի, որը միայն գործիք է լինելու, դատելով իմ նախաձեռնության մասին ակտիվ գրող ջահելների քաղաքական հայացքներից (ես ուսումնասիրել եմ դրանք, էսպիսի առիթ էլի հետազոտություն անելու չի լինի), դրանք բազեյական, սյունյաց արծիվական, ազգայնամոլական, որոնք ազգայնական են ներկացնում իրենց, բայց վարքը մոլի է, կան նաև լևոնականներ, սեռական կողմնորոշվածությունն էլ հանդուրժողականություն չի բարձրացնում պարզվում է, որովհետև «ընդվզող» նույնասեռականներ էլ կան, մի խոսքով, ամեն տեղի պարապ էն ջահելները, որոնք չունեն զբաղմունք ու գտել են դա ֆեյսբուքում՝ ատելության շուրջ համախմբվածները, որոնց մեջ ընդամենը հաշվված գիտակից մարդիկ կան, ինձ թվում է՝ հատուկենտ են 35-ից բարձր IQ ունեցողները:"

"Կա շփվելու կուլտուրա, իսկ ստեղ չաթի են վերածել, ու մեծատառերով լատինատառ իրանց ողորմելի ներաշխարհն են մերկացնում, որի հիմքն ատելությունն ա, նույնիսկ… իր տեսակի, հայի հանդեպ, որը այլախոհ ա, հասկանո՞ւմ ես: Ազգայնականն ու ազգայնամոլը նույն բանը չեն, նենց չի, ոնց որ համասեռամոլն ու նույնասեռականը, որտեղ վիրավորականը բառն ա ինքը, իսկ ստեղ տեսակն ա արդեն, որին դու չես պատկանում, դու ազգայնական ես, ունես ինչ-որ գաղափարական հիմք, գրագետ ես ու պահպանում ես էթիկա, որը չեն անում կուրացած կամ անուղեղ, լիշ բը ինչ-որ բանով ադրենալին ստանալու համար, մեկ ա՝ մայլի բազառ ըլնի, թե ինչ-որ խնդիր, որը նրանք չեն էլ կարա հասկանան, չեն տեսել, տենց մեծացել են 20 տարվա ատելության մթնոլորտում: Ու եթե մի երկրում սերը, հավատարմությունը, գաղափարական նվիրվածությունը վեհ բաների մոմենտով չեն կարողանում համախմբել, ապա ինչ-որ բանի հանդեպ ատելություն մոմենտով համախմբում են, ու տենց ձևավորվում են ուժեր, ղեկավարելի ատելության նորանոր պորցիաներով, տվյալ դեպքում ազգայնամեջ կոնֆլիկտների, ու տենց, մարդկանց օգտագործում են:"

Antifa said...

Why a special Azeri film festival in Yerevan? Is there a public demand for it? Why not a Georgian Film Festival? Or better, an Iranian film Festival. It sounds like one of those West funded projects which not only patronises but also insults Armenians. They could have spent the tax payers money in better projects. And if they were so concerned could sponsor Azeri film showings as part of the Tsiran Festival.
By no means I am justifying whatever is happening in FB. But aren't such projects do the opposite as they are called to do that is, encourage and promote hatred, fascism and finally apathy amongst the youth?
Isn't it better to spend this money and educate the youth by promoting world renowned culture and art?

artmika said...

I am not aware of any tax payers’ money involved in staging the festival. This is not supported or sponsored by the government.

Festivals do not necessarily need to meet “public demand”. They do not have to be mainstream.

While it certainly provoked emotional reactions, it also (once more) exposed existing hatred in parts of the society.

I however agree that it would perhaps be a good idea to start showcasing Azeri films (along with other countries from the region) as part of the Golden Apricot Festival. I know that Georgian, Iranian and Turkish films were successfully shown as part of the festival programme, so it could probably be a good start.

antifa said...

Artmika,
It is tax money of US or whichever country sponsors it.

Anything should meet the public/social demand. Otherwise I call it brainwashing and waste of resources.

Education, ethics, aesthetics and humanism. There is public demand for them. Why not spend that money to enhance education? I am sure if such programs were sponsored the positive impact on society would be bigger.

artmika said...

I am not sure I agree that art should always meet public/social demand.

Films may have important educational value too. I am a big cinema fan, and I learned a lot from films.

antifa said...

I think I didnt manage to explain myself properly.
Film is an artform, no question about it. If a film is watched and recommended to be watched voluntarily then it meets the public demand, demand of individual members of the public.
I am not quite sure if this is the case for this festival. It's purpose is not artisitc, it's aim is political. When you mix up politics with Art it becomes propaganda. That's the purpose of this festival.
When you see that the sponsering government (in form of Minsk group and OSCE) dont give a shit if there are still crossfire on the boarder then I can safely call this festival a bullshit.

As for the films.
I haven't seen these films so I cann't say if they are art. If they are created with the same purpose as the festival then most likely they are bullshits as well, unless the producers tried to dodge some of the demanded criteria.
I worked in such environments and I know the NGO and NGO funding bullshit. 90% of Armenian NGOs are bullshit, they are after getting funds for projects that have "democracy", "anticorruption" or "regional cooperation" in their names. I am sure the same is true in Azerbaijan.
My prove: Armenia becomes less democratic, more corrupt every other year. The tension between neighbours dont ease.

artmika said...

My understanding is that noone imposes such festivals on others. People are free to attend, ignore, boycott, protest... Even if it's a blatant propaganda (which I can't say until I am familiar with the programme), there are wide range of choices involved to express one's attitude, and that should not include hate, threats and personal attacks.

I do agree, however, with your opinion re majority of NGOs. Sadly, it's true.

artmika said...

Reflections on Azerbaijan film festival in Yerevan at CaucasusEdition by Phil Gamaghelyan:

Social Media for Social Lynching? Facebook as a Platform for Xenophobia Following the Announcement of an Azerbaijani Film Festival in Yerevan

artmika said...

I recommend reading this post by Gulara Azimzadeh too:

Art has no nationality

artmika said...

Azeri film festival in Yerevan dates announced

A series of four films produced in Azerbaijan in 2007 and 2008 will be screened on Nov. 12 at 4 pm at 5 Tamanyan St. Apt #2, near the Cascade in Yerevan. The Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives (CCPI), with the support of the US Embassy in Armenia, invites the public to this free screening of one documentary and three feature films.

The festival competition program, along with a special feature film produced, will take place on Nov. 13 at 2 pm. Only one of the films will receive the Audience Sympathy Award, which is determined through audience voting. [...]

artmika said...

Azerbaijani Film Festival in Yerevan Today Once Again Postponed

The screening of Azerbaijani films in Yerevan has once again been postponed, and once again because the owner of the venue was put under pressure, as a result of which he withdrew his consent of holding the festival on his property. [...]
***

Relevant: EurasiaNet - Adventures in Caucasus Film Diplomacy

artmika said...

Civil protest? More like a mob rule against organiser of Azeri film festival in Armenia