If You Wait Long Enough, The World Will Come To you
By Tomris Azeri, President Azerbaijan Society of America
Azerbaijani-Americans are thrilled to read the news that Azerbaijan and Armenia reached a peace treaty based on respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is an historic opportunity to achieve a long-waited peaceful region. Reading about the leadership of Azerbaijan reaching for political dialogue for peace in the region made us proud.
It has been said, if you wait long enough, the world will come to you. Azerbaijanis have been waiting for today for a long time, to be both independent of foreign powers, and to be whole. We Diaspora Azerbaijanis never expected this; not just the complete restoration of lost land; the leadership of Azerbaijan reached across formidable physical and psychological borders to the leadership of neighboring Armenia, to ask for lasting peace and cooperation. And Armenia’s leadership wisely accepted. We know what that means too; there’s going to be a reaction from those with a heavy emotional investment into the dream of Greater Armenia. Much of the impetus for the Armenian occupation of Karabakh in Azerbaijan came from the Armenian Diaspora, sustained for well over a century by that dream. Now we must invite them to get behind this recent peace effort, as the prosperity of the people living in Armenia should come first for all Armenians everywhere, even if that means abandoning a narrative which has only served to irritate and antagonize their neighbors who would suffer losses of territory, as did Azerbaijan. Now is the time to embrace a future of peace, regional cooperation, prosperity, and perhaps best of all, independence from outside powers. Armenia is now free to integrate with not just the other countries in the region, but to integrate with the whole of Europe, so they can safely cut their ties to Russia and Iran, known belligerent actors in that region. In effect, the leadership from both nations have set an example to the rest of the world how to win and how to lose a territorial contest. We can be bitter about the lost years, lost lives, lost wealth, lost opportunities, or we can focus on getting to work to make a durable peace and prosperity zone in one of the most critical geographical junctures of the world, the Caucasus, sandwiched between Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Bravo President Aliyev and congratulations to Team Azerbaijan, what a way to wrap this up. It was surely worth waiting for, all these years.