The End of Moral Era
by Karen Ohanjanyan
Coordinator of Nagorno-Karabakh Committee of "Helsinki Initiative-92",
Interchurch Peace Council "Peace and Human Rights Award 2000" Winner

It's a great honour for me to have an opportunity to have a speech at this conference with the extremely interesting and deep name characterising the modern processes taking place in the world and their reflective influence on human beings.

We faced the fillings of morale vacuum and sensation of crisis of morale, justice and spirituality most keenly after the IIth of September 2001. Also the events of September 11th shocked the whole humanity not so much by horrible pictures of the World Trade Towers crash - pride of the USA, heartbreaking death of thousands of people and disability of the global security system but, to much extend, by the expressed display of moral crisis of the whole humanity. The beginning of the 3rd Millennium is characterise by the achievements in the sphere of informational and genetic technologies which cardinally will change in the nearest future not only traditions and time-honoured moral values of a human hostel, and also our imaginations about the origin and possibilities of a modern man but it will also bring into interconnection the concrete man with the whole world.

The events of September 11th became the wall between the past and the future of the humanity and underwent to the revision the idea of human hostel itself and its Morale. The problem of the global crisis is not in terrorism and not in the religious extremism. It is much more wider - in the conflict of religious, public and state relationships with the increased possibilities of the concretely taken person, without fitting the human hostel in the rules of whole human moral code.

Today we witness the transformation of a human being into Creator. May be it sounds too strong and it is in the contradiction with the all religious traditions and ideas. But nowadays its obvious. The God created us, like he is and the main mission for us is to create, but to create GOOD not EVIL. September 11th became the attempts to creation of the new moral code with the help of one person's possibility, Bin Laden with his narrow religious direction who recognIzes nothing but his own vision the world order. And hence it is the most unbelievable and the most scaring, as to its consequences, conflict, if not unsolved, will back the humanity to the dark past Stone Era.

Today our moral Criteria concerning the civil and religious security persistently require renewal. The increase of non-traditional religious trends is one of the responses to the quickly changing world, in which the moral values stop being universal for everybody. And namely these trends underwent the hostile attitude after September 11th, when the USA declared campaign against the terrorism.

I'm simply shocked by the position of the USA and their measures directed against the terrorist network extermination. The actions of the USA in the Afghanistan, as today's history showed, didn't become the struggle against the reality of terror, but demonstration of muscles before the unprotected Afghan people and establishment of the control over one of the main geo-strategic region of the planet.

One thing that strikes me is how Osama Bin Laden managed to escape from American evereachied bombs and bullets. And the USA have already forgotten about the former EVIL, which made all of us think about the future of our planet with shudder. Today the USA are speaking about the other EVIL Sadam Husane and are preparing for a new war. Trying to solve its geo-strategic tasks, the USA don't think about the fact that they have built a wall between the Christian and Muslim peoples.

I don't speak about the fact that today nobody wants to speak about what really has happened on September 11th. And everyone, I mean every country or block of states, is trying to derive maximal benefit using the declared doctrine of the USA of the struggle against the terrorism. Today not only states that have a serious strategic position and don't fit the interests of the USA Alliance with the other states are declared terroristic, but also the struggle of the people for their self-determination, non-traditional religions that for a long period underwent     discrimination and violence.

The USA Alliance with the other states especially with Russia, allowed in a hour to reconsider the war of Russia with Chechnya lasting 8 years as a campaign against terrorism. And many as if at the command began to forget about the mass violations of human rights by Russia in Chechnya. The same was demonstrated by Israel authorities against the Palestinian authorities and its people. The authorities of Georgia declared Abkhazia the terrorist region, the authorities of Azerbaijan declared the same about Independent Nagorno-Karabakh, and are going to hold military actions.

Such reorientation of many states to solve their problems in this way will lead to catastrophic consequences. The lack of tolerance and religious patience created conditions for open extremists including religious. September 11th became a challenge to the demonstrated intolerance, and impatience become the demonstration of impatience itself. That's why this day became the symptom of Apocalypsis and many of us, irrespective of the religion, colour of skin and place of residence, started seriously thinking about the responsibility for future of our planet and preservation and development of those moral values which will allow our planet to exist and develop worthaly. The understanding of such necessity should become the moral basis of modern supermarket both ethnic and religious.

The fact that we are faced today with the serious problem of co- existence of different religions, people with different color of skin is not new. Recent events more keenly revealed their nature. Long before these events whenever different groups In a multi-religious society were mentioned I immediately thought about possible religious conflicts among them. I live In Nagorno-Karabakh, in a new independent state, rich In religious traditions, the country with the unique architectural monuments both of Christian and Muslim to religion. The main population are Armenians, belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the course of centuries from the moment of emergence of Christianity, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, undergoing physical extermination and violence, preserved not only the perfect architectural, cultural and religious memorials but also pure religious tradition and the morale. Unfortunately, the history In which Christian and Muslim religions co-existed on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the way of tension and impatience, didn't teach anything good to our peoples, I mean Azeris and Armenians preaching Christianity and Islam. From the very beginning of the movement of NK Armenians for their self-determination, in 1988. In Azerbaijan Azeris started mass exterminating of religious memorials of Armenian Apostolic Church.

At the same time from the beginning of the military actions between Azerbaijan and NK a lot of Muslim memorials were destroyed in NK. Today many of these religious memorials both in Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh being destroyed still haven't lost their grand and spirit, and they remind of everlasting immortal problem of patience and tolerance. The problem of their restoration, when the main mass of people, belonging to this or that religion are displaced from their residences, is only the problem raised of noble and courage intellectuals. It's very difficult to wake up the society, where the elements of ksenophoby and ethnophoby are dominant. The understanding of the necessity of mutual penetration and co-existence of traditional religions as well as new ones are the case of human rights protectors and intellectuals.

The history didn't teach anything. It seemed, such a nation or confession which underwent physical and spiritual extermination in the course of several centuries should be more tolerant and patient to the other nation or religion. But I don't see it in the region in which I live, in the Caucasus, where still people kill each other on the basis of either national or religious distinction.

With the declaration of Perestroika new non-traditional religions began to develop on the territory of the former Soviet Union. They found their favorable ground where there was a war either on the religious or national basis. They were spreading so quickly that started presenting threat among the dominant religions in the society. And the among them the more widely spread are the Witnesses of Ehova which preached the refusal to take the arms and kill. In connection with this I'd like to bring an example from the history of NK people for the self-determination from Azerbaijan.

In 1993, the capital of NK was bombed by the Air Forces of Azerbaijan. In NK there is a law according to which in the case of war all male persons under 45 year should serve in the Army irrespective of the religion they belongs to. During the regular bombing, the soldier who was sitting at the controls anti-aircraft defense refused to shoot just because of religious belonging. (He was witness of Ehova) As result, this aircraft bombed and destroyed a dwelling house. 51 people were killed. Here we have an obvious example of clash of two morales, moreover here we had a crisis of moral. Don't kill. This is one of the main values of Christianity. The person following this principle was the cause of 51 killed people. This made the authorities of NK to make massive arrests of the representatives of non-traditional religions. Even old man, pregnant women, children were put in to prison. And only thanks to NK Committee of "HI-92" these people were released and the civil and interreligious crisis was resolved which appeared to be result of un-thought traditional reaction of the NK authority. According to the law on religions, in NK Armenian Apostolic Church is a national one and has advantages in comparison to other traditional or non-traditional churches. Being unable to react adequately to the needs of believers, which are increasingly favoring growing non-traditional religious entities, Armenian Apostolic Church leads a campaign on discreditation and pursue of representatives of new religious schools.

It was Armenian Apostolic Church who initiated adoption of a law by Nagorno-Karabakh Parliament, a law according to which a provision hindering peaceful coexistence of different religious was added to the criminal code of the country. The criminal code states that individuals who belong to religious organizations not registered by the Ministry of Justice can be sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment. It is hard to believe that such a situation can exist nowadays.

The lack of patience is the main feature of modem MORAL Crisis. A year ago, in London in LSE at a very interesting conference "The Spiritual Supermarket, Religious Pluralism and Globalization in the 21st century: the Expanding European Union and beyond" the most Reverend and Right Honourable Doctor George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury when asked after his speech "Why is the Anglican Church so patient to non-traditional religions and sexual minorities", answered, "One should never forget that Christianity at the very beginning presented itself the minority and underwent persistent violence. Didn't history teach us? That's why the Anglican church, remembering the past of Christianity, doesn't want the mistakes of the past to be repeated." Truly these words are of high morale and the example of coexistence and development of all the religions peoples.

The 11th of September made us look back at the past, realize the present in all of its displays and dream about future. Dream not with tremble, horror and inner hate which is fear and fear is the disintegration of humanity, but dream with love. In this respect, I would like to conclude my speech by reminding the words of an outstanding man - Martin Luther King, who had similar concerns that we have nowadays, set boundaries of a new morale, which should guide the entire humankind:

"Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat the evil system. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system"

Karen Ohanjanyan


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