IMAGINE’s getting creative

“IMAGINE 2011” production
and
The Neutral Zone

PRESENT

inspiring primiere videos
I Have A Friend

and

“I am Peaced”

directed by Imagine 2011 Alumni

 

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CEU in my memory card

A brief flash from the past is making me smile today.
A year ago, on September 4th I arrived in Magyar-land. Around early evening I was carrying my heavy luggage into the strange building located in the middle of nowhere: well, nice to meet you, my new home. It was raining and my super summer clothes and mood were not welcome at all. My feet hurt, because to choose right shoes for myself had never been of my strong skills. I had no idea where to exchange money, nor how to get some food and fresh beverage (do not forget, I was in the middle of your typical nowhere). Shall I also mention that the idea of a long settlement in my room, i.e. ordering everything I had managed to put into my huge suitcase was making me absolutely frustrated, while two or three random people in the corridor (instead of expected hundreds of excited students around the dormitory) totally discouraged me to spend even a day there leaving alone the entire academic year.
My frustration though was dragged out for even less than a day…

My studies at CEU along with a short life in the beautiful Budapest were a great school for me full of challenging lessons and amazing discoveries. I learnt a lot and had tons of fun!

IRES 2010/2011 crew

Thank you, my first CEU friends, the two girls I arrived with, Ani and Toma, and Emily who we met at the airport and soon after became great neighbours with.
Thank you dear IRES-ers 2010/2011, all of my wonderful friends from other departments, party-addicted dormitory residents and just everyone who made CEU the best place to study at. Many thanks to the hospitable Hungarian people, every single person who made my stay in Magyarország (Hungary) an incredible experience.
They say, there are moments in the life which are worth to live for. CEU life was definitely full of those…

Now September 4th is over. And the brief flash prolonged for the whole day is still making me smile.
That’s what I love about unlimited human’s memory card.

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Filed under People, Thoughts Aloud

Norway on my mind

Freedom Square, Yerevan, Armenia

Last Friday’s terror attacks in peaceful and sustainable Norway shocked the whole world. The 32 year old terrorist Anders Behring Breivik immersed the whole country into the nightmare which took away 76 lives, including teenagers participating in the Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island.
To commemorate the victims of this inhuman cruelty and to show their support to the Norwegians, people in Yerevan are coming to the Freedom Square to put the flowers and lighten the candles.
Let the souls of all the victims rest in peace…

Judging from the way Breivik talks about his own actions and motivation it seems to be pretty obvious that he is not insane. He even recognized his actions rather cruel, but at the same time named them necessary and inevitable. His manifest “2083—A European Declaration of Independence” reflects on a number of absolutely real historical events (including 1915 Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire) and has the proper references to the authors he cites. Besides, the open fight between Islam and the West, the frequent radicalization of the former and the reaction of the latter is not something new for the world. So the terrorist did not probably say something new or totally incomprehensible, but the way he chose to deliver his beliefs introduces him as an absolutely sick person. You know, I think I just want to believe that only a sick one could do that, otherwise the concept of “healthiness” would loose any sense to me.
Therefore:
Yes, everyone has a right to have an own approach to the interpretation and evaluation of the politics, global history, the clash of civilizations or whatever else.
But, everyone is also obliged to take legal and moral responsibility for anything going into the public (whether it is an analytical publication, blog post, public speech or a 1,500 pages manifesto). Today there is a huge threat that if hundreds of thousands condemned the terrorist, there still might be one who can get attracted to his ideas and follow him.
Yes, for achieving the goal one has to be ready to do a lot of things.
But the goal does not always justify the means. As a very good friend of mine Tigran mentioned yesterday, intelligence, purposefulness, commitment to the idea, courage and many other features of a strong personality are nothing unless they serve a humane goal and only through the humane means. I would say they are nothing good, since their presence without an underlying humaneness can easily lead to such well-known cases as Stalin’s 1930s repressions, Hitler’s fascism, Pinochet’s 20-year-long curfew, etc.

The statement posted apparently by Breivik via Twitter a couple of days before the attack that “one person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests” is actually very true. But having on the one scale non-violent examples of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many others, the history also bears the opposite scale which unfortunately has been recently “enriched”.
Getting back to my initial point, it is of an utmost importance to make sure that our beliefs are going along with the humane values; and our goals (whatever they are about) are implemented through the humane means. Because there is only one real value in a real world and that is a human life.
And there is simply no justification for anyone whose actions contradict this value.

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You may say that I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one

IMAGINE” Armenian-Azerbaijani Dialogue Programme 2011 in lovely Bakuriani, Georgia is over. It has been the fifth year when young people from the two countries gathered on a neutral territory to discuss the complexity of the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia trying to find some ways for their improvement.
It was not the first time I participated in a programme involving young activists from the South Caucasus. But this time I could observe something in a way different.
I should probably just sketch a couple of things that would perfectly characterize “Imagine” as something absolutely special in my life.

Imagine is a project that
brought Azerbaijani and Armenian youth to talk face to face about their interpretation of the historical facts related to the conflict and relations between the two societies

Imagine there’s no Heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky

put all of us into a number of challenges to overcome during the negotiations (discussing history and the current political situation) and while cooperating (project planning, potential networking)
included endlessly funny and creative “color games” competitions every day right after the passionate discussions so that by the end of the day I could hardly remember who exactly I was insistently arguing with during the morning sessions
encouraged me to be brave enough to talk to the participants about any concerns I had regarding my relations with them in order to avoid any insincerity between us

created an atmosphere for us sitting in the circle to share truly personal stories without fear to be misunderstood and without hesitation to look too sensitive or even fragile
was a 100% blast
proved that challenges and honesty lead to success
revealed that imagination should be healthy and pragmatic and then it’s extremely enjoyable
reminded that even if someone thinks we are just dreamers, yet we are not the only ones, and we are not alone!

I so much did not want the programme to end and at the same time I was looking forward to the last day in order to start the follow up as soon as possible!
Cheers to everyone who initiated and contributed to this programme!
Good luck with all of your follow up projects, Imaginers!

P.s.
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one…

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UEFA EURO 2012 Armenia vs. Russia (Beyond Football)

Profile pictures of Armenian football fans are switched on the ones showing their support to Armenian national team at tomorrow’s football match between Armenia and Russia within the frames of UEFA EURO 2012. People are still trying to find the tickets to get a chance to watch the match, which is taking place at Yerevan’s Republican Stadium. All of us are excited and even being far from home we will definately watch the game online.


Armenian national team’s goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky, being of Russian origin, takes a special place in the context of the upcoming match with Russians. In order to show how high Armenians value his devotion to the team he has been playing with for a very long time, they prepared a big poster with his picture and two short lines: “Рома, спасибо за все! Ты наша гордость!” – “Roman, thanks for everything! We are proud of you!”

That’s something which is beyond nationalities, politics, and even the game itself. That’s about pure human relations! Regardless of the outcomes of the game, this kind of seemingly minor things make it great.
So let everyone support his/her team and let’s be inspired with the possibility to have somebody/something to sincerely believe in!

*the source of the picture is: http://www.a1plus.am

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You&Me for Egypt

On February 3, 2011 a group of international students (mainly from CEU) joined the demonstration in front of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Budapest, Hungary (the video is below). They signed the «Declaration on Freedom of Expression in Egypt» addressed to the Embassador of Egypt in Hungary. The idea was not to show any political position, but simply to support the freedom of assembly and speech of protestants in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

I asked Blagi, one of the organizers of the “You&Me for Egypt” initiative, to tell how the idea to make the event true came to their minds. She said that one of their lovely classmates left for home, Egypt, right after the protests in Cairo started. So, “when the Egyptian people were cut off from the rest of the world when the regime blocked their means of communication and when the violence started to escalate on the streets of Cairo, knowing that our best friends are there we decided that we needed to act”, says Blagi. During our talk, Blagi several times mentioned that there were a lot of people standing behind this initiative and putting their efforts to make their Egyptian friend feel their support and love.
So it was not the initiative of the department or the university – not at all. It was an initiative of young people desiring to show their concern about the violation of Egyptians’ fundamental right to assembly and protest.
It was also a message for their lovely Egyptian friend, who left for home, strongly realizing her role in the fate of her country and people.
She just returned to Budapest, and we all are happy to see her safe and as joyful as she has always been.

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Filed under Human Rights, People, Society

Astana OSCE Summit (one more step back)

When Astana Declaration was finally written, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, as eurasianet.org reports, mentioned that “[t]here were particular objections over protracted conflicts — different desires, different opinions. I consider that, despite this, we have achieved consensus.” I do not know what made him so optimistic about the outcomes of the Summit and the valueless declaration, but what Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents were talking about simply made me frustrated.

First of all, both speeches delivered by presidents Aliyev and Sargsyan were absolutely similar with the only difference of the name of the “cruel offender”:
“Armenia destroyed our cities and villages, our houses and places of worship, our graves and cemeteries.” (from Ilham Aliev’s speech)
“[…]All this is accompanied by blatant Armenophobic statements by Azerbaijani leaders, by calls that incite animosity, aggression and violence.” (from Serge Sargsyan’s speech)
Full texts are avaulable at news.az and armnews.com
To me both look like the whinings of two kids before their parents. Guess now who the parents are…

by PanARMENIAN Network

Well, our history is certainly important for us. As you know from my previous posts, I am also one of the victims of that “ethnic cleansing” mentioned in the speech of the Armenian president.
But if we build the negotiations on these facts we will never reach any positive results. Instead, every new step back will be followed by another one. Wait, maybe we just want to loose thousands of our compatriots in the war again in order to understand the real value of the things? I do not know.

Alright, I am not saying that conflict resolution is an easy thing to deal with. It is comprised with a lot of interconnected obstacles, it requires time and many efforts. So I did not really expect the two presidents to come up with a detailed action plan on the conflict resolution, nor even a constructive negotitation about it. But to be honest I did not expect them to step back either.

And when I am looking at the picture on the right I understand from their faces how far we are from either consensus or even an ability to think beyond the stereotypes.
That’s sad, very sad. Without even being ever excited about the upcoming summit in Astana, I am now totally disappointed with its outcomes.

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Filed under Caucasus, Political