When Armenians are largely powerless to bring back their prisoners of war following the 2020 Artsakh War, it is also indicative of how colonizers and the world today interact with indigenous peoples. They still silence them and continue to render them powerless. Armenian POWs, and Armenian lives in general, are apparently worthless; there is little or no outrage against Azerbaijan’s clear violations of international law that regulates the return of POWs.
Armenians are naively shocked and devastated by this situation, being buoyed for at least the past 100 years by a false and unacceptable narrative of super-worthiness and privilege which has shattered in the face of current powerlessness. This distorted narrative (“balanced” on the other extreme by an equally gripping, yet unacceptable narrative of worthlessness) leaves Armenians vulnerable and unprepared for the real dangers they face.
Modern Armenian identity has evidently been built on diseased and rotting foundations which are the result of severe persecution by invading Seljuk and Ottoman settlers since the eleventh century, second-class “dhimmi” status within the Ottoman Empire, and larger scale massacres and genocide by Ottoman Turks and Kurds.
The centuries-long damage to the Armenian nation is extensive. In parallel with other enslaved and colonized peoples, the path to recovery is long, requiring consciousness-raising, self-knowledge, sustained and collective hard work, and the support of genuine allies to rebuild healthier and more solid foundations and identity.