{ overcoming }


In a state of ongoing conflict, the verb “to overcome” or its present participle “overcoming” can be read as to defeat, beat, conquer, or prevail over the other side. In the logic of conflict, “to overcome the enemy” is seen as the obvious and only possible solution. No matter who “wins” in the moment, the logic of overcoming perpetuates the keeping of sides within the same order of confrontation, with every turn of violence reassuring them of its necessity.

Amidst the reality of decades-long military conflict, when memories of pre-conflict times have faded out, been silenced, or conversely, are being instrumentalized, it may take one all the courage one has to look at the current situation from a broader perspective; and to question its familiar pictures, narratives, and the forces that produce them.

In the context of Artsakh/Karabakh, uncovering and revealing this silenced past could become a vantage point for challenging the existing conflictual order. Recovery of the forgotten history of the region requires a giving of space to its complex multiethnic, multicultural, and mutually-influential nature; a nature that can still be traced, particularly in the languages and arts of local communities; a nature that does not fit the one-dimensional image of the place produced and maintained through nationalistic narratives of supremacy and exclusion. These discoveries and the historical past recreated by them could thus help one to undermine such narratives and to overcome their imposed logic.

In this new context, “to overcome” changes its prescribed meaning and becomes “to overcome the system and logic” that allow this conflict to continue. “Overcoming the conflictual order” becomes a mode of seeing, listening and giving space to “other” interconnected pasts; as well as allowing for recognition of mutually inflicted pain and trauma, thus paving a way to recovery and healing.

Olya Zovskaya