Caucasus Conflict Voices

Although actually underway since June 2008, it’s especially been a labour of love for the past year, but now some of the essays solicited for a personal online project are available as a free e-book for reading online or downloading. Accompanied by colour photographs, the book contains opinions on Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and the conflict between the two countries over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

Most of the works are by bloggers from both countries as well as their Diasporas and I’ve often blogged about the project in general on this site. It’s been a huge success to date, and I’ve even presented this work at conferences worldwide. A Russian-language version is currently being prepared and should also be online soon. I’m also hoping to significantly expand on the project next year.

In the 16 years since a 1994 ceasefire agreement put the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed mainly-Armenian populated territory of Nagorno Karabakh on hold, peace remains as elusive as ever. The war fought in the early 1990s left over 25,000 dead and forced a million to flee their homes.

Since June 2008 Onnik Krikorian has been using new and social media to connect alternative voices in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Diasporas of both countries. A cross-border project initiated in September 2009 has since given birth to Caucasus Conflict Voices, a collection of contributions to date from Armenian and Azerbaijani bloggers.

The first collection includes color photographs alongside contributions from Onnik Krikorian, Zamira Abbasova, Marine Ejuryan, Aygun Janmammadova, Sasun Khachatryan, Scary Azeri, Lena Osipova, Liana Aghajanian, Kevork Oskanian, and Arpine Porsughyan. It can be downloaded in PDF format (1.7mb) from the project site: link

Incidentally, I’ve been covering the Nagorno Karabakh conflict since 1994 when I visited as a photographer for The Independent, assisted Thomas de Waal with Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, and have fixed for the BBC and The National on this subject as well. A lot of my work to date has especially focused on the danger of landmines and UXO.

Anyway, definitely looks like more of the same in 2011, and not least in terms of documenting positive examples of Armenia-Azerbaijan coexistence in neighboring Georgia, the increasing use of new and social media in cross-border communication, and departure into a few other areas so far generally not covered by the local and international mainstream media. Stay tuned…