Georgia on my mind: Gudauri

Yesterday I made a "To do" list for September and October. Realizing the load of work I'm going to do I started thinking about cloning.

Yes, I wish I could be cloned.


The very first Armenian (except Bakuvians) I met at the very first Conflict Resolution conference I attended was a guy named M. He sat next to me, introduced himself gave his business card. I would stare at it for several seconds, then brought myself to say “Hi” and kept shocked silence till the end of the first session.

What was I thinking about? “Ermeni” (az. Armenian). An aggressor, someone I can’t trust, someone who betrayed my people is sitting next to me. It wasn’t hatred. It was the fear, soaked so deep in my mind I couldn’t bring myself to say a word.

As I went through a difficult but exciting process of analyzing my own personality during the last year, I was able to notice the difference in my attitude on August 4th, when I arrived in Gudauri, Georgia to join Imagine'09 Azerbaijani-Armenian retreat.

Two groups - 7 Azerbaijanis and 7 Armenians, facilitators, one trainer, one hotel.

After 8 days of discussions about general history, significant dates in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations, personal stories, future planning and countless teambuilding activities, including several hours of hiking (which proved the incompatibility of Fatalin and nature), horseriding (and weird way of walking of all the group members the next day) and jakuzi evenings (personal thanks to the inventor) the spirit of CHANGE filled the Marco Polo hotel.

We would talk for hours, get emotional, cry and laugh together, realizing how much we have in common and how beautiful our world could be.

Watching my new (both Azerbaijani and Armenian) friends laughing and drinking together on one of the last days I realized that even last drops of my fear vanished and today the word "ermeni" makes me think of a thoughtfull roommate; a confident beauty; a brave and protective girl; a political junkie; a reliable and supportive friend; a dancing diva; of my 17 year-old brother; of my crazy curly mirror and her bracelet - seven wonderful friends of mine living on the other side of the border

And as my roommate - a talented journalist - mentioned in her speech about us on our last evening together: "You've changed my perception. You are my Azerbaijan."

Yes, 8 days under one roof made us succeed over two main enemies - the load of history on our shoulders and Azerbaijanis and Armenians inside of us.

And it's only a beginning.


I wish I could be cloned. There would be two Fatalins, who'd be able to run all the projects the current one loaded on herself.

One Fatalin could've done Conflict Resolution, another one Culture.

One Fatalin could've met with friends and family members left unattended by her, while another one could've kept on working.

One Fatalin could've left the country and live happily-ever-after in European comfort, only caring about social care and taxes. Another one could've stayed in Azerbaijan and fight for the freedom of speech, democracy, reduction of corruption and etc.

One Fatalin could've fit the society, another gone against it.

One Fatalin could've been a Turk. Another one - a Caucasian.

One Fatalin could've had Armenian friends, another one - drown in hatred towards them.

I wish I could be cloned.

There would be no choices to make, no attitutes to fight, no critics to endure, no balance to keep.

Life would be quiet, measured, regular and so damn boring.