The Caucasus (3) Faces of Armenia & Azerbaijan 高加索掠影（3）阿塞拜疆與亞美尼亞的面
A capella singer in a stone chamber at Garni, Armenia 在亚美尼亚古迹 Garni 石室清唱圣诗的歌手
By mixing Armenian and Azerbaijani faces in this post, I’ve probably committed a capital offence in both countries. Animosity between the two neighbours goes way back to before WW1, for untraceable reasons which have long been distilled down to elemental hatred. For more than a century now, they’d kick and bite and scratch each other whenever a big guy isn’t around. The Ottoman, British, and Soviet empires had all played guardian here, and sowed new seeds for future conflict.
Kid in Azerbaijan: Doesn't she look wicked? 阿塞拜疆小孩，你看她多兇！
What about these two from Armenia? 這兩個亞美尼亞小孩又如何？
Azerbaijan is very close to Turkey in ethnicity and language. In 1915, the Turks killed a lot of Armenians who are still mourned by their surviving compatriots. Depending on which figures one picks, nearly more Armenians than existed at the time were massacred. Unrelieved grief lurks in the national mood. In 1992, Armenians killed a few hundred Azerbaijanis in a territorial conflict triggered by the dissolution of the USSR. Though relatively insignificant by comparison, Azerbaijan and Turkey label it a crime against humanity, and wail for international justice. Perhaps they hope to use it to settle the account with Armenia. Now, one from us, one from you. All square OK?
Armenian Victims of Ethnic Strife 種族仇恨中的亞美尼亞受害人
Azerbaijani Victims of Ethnic Strife 種族仇恨中的阿塞拜疆受害人
Armenian Sages 亞美尼亞的古代智者
但亞美尼亞的數口甚精，不易被忽悠。他們除了數學好，古代的天文和醫學都很先進，於中世紀前期已經容許地圓學說和解剖實驗。像 Anania Shirakatsi 這類天才思想家，在天主教管轄的歐洲會被教宗關到地牢浸水插釘，扭曲拉長，或綁到廣場活燒。他有幸生在七世紀的亞美尼亞，極被尊重，著作保存至今。 But Armenians are too good in math to consider the offer a bargain. They were one of the most learned tribes, excelling also in astronomy and medicine. Unlike the Catholic Church, The Apostolic Church permitted dissection and anatomy back in the Middle Ages. They even allowed the world to be round. The works of Anania Shirakatsi, a great 7th Century Armenian thinker, have been well preserved. Had he been born further west in Europe, he’d have been locked up in Papal dungeon or barbecued alive in open air.
Put Azerbaijani and Armenian faces in the family album where they belong, you can't tell them apart as enemies. 放在同一個相簿，亞美尼亞和阿塞拜疆就好像一家人，分不開來，還打什麼呢？
人口差不多一千萬的阿塞拜疆，地下有的是石油，所以經濟自動繁榮，對外的聲音也略粗。亞國的醫療和教育等社會福利十分完善。政府除了發獎金給高考狀元外，還會替他們在大學附近置業。阿塞拜疆人給我的印象比較隨和圓滑。腳下有家當的人，心情都比較漂亮。很多西方大家族，如諾貝爾，Rothschild， Rockefeller 等，最早在19世紀已經在巴庫開採石油。
Armenia once stretched from Black Sea to Caspian Sea. But expired glory must have left a bitter aftertaste of inadequacy among the three million descendants guarding the pitiful remnants of a great empire. From the capital Yerevan, they watch their sacred mountain Ararat sitting in Turkish territory, wondering what their despicable nemesis would do to Noah’s ark if found.
With a population approaching ten million, Azerbaijan is the most populous country in the region. It has plenty of oil, therefore prosperous by birthright, with some genuine bargaining power to toy with. Medicare and education are free. Top secondary school graduates are awarded a cash prize, plus an apartment near the university. Azerbaijan also seems more sophisticated in finding a delicate existential niche between foreign powers. Nobel, Rothschild and Rockefeller were sniffing there for oil as early as late 19th century.
The first European Game is taking place in Baku right now. Here’s a Youtube link to the impressive opening ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59BNyuwiC9k
Being human is a tough job though. Even the son of God was weary after a few decades 但做人挺難。連上帝的獨子做了幾十年人也疲態畢露
Link to next post: The Caucasus (4) — Faces of Georgia