Know What You Don’t Know

Do you realize on your ignorance? I am testing some part of my ignorance. I have to think hard… Yes. Now I know. It’s on some part of the world map. But where…??

Central Asia.

The idea of finding out on my ignorance came when I was watching CNN on the story of Armenian renewing diplomatic ties with Turkey after many years, Turkey was accused of committing genocide during the First World War. That reminded me when the Japanese Government apologized for its war crime particularly on women slavery issues to China and South Korea.

Here is my ignorant on the world event. I’m just wondering whether we all share on the same blind spot.

Just tell me where on earth is Nagorno-Karabakh. Haa..let’s take some guide.


Nagorno-Karabakh falls within the lands occupied by people known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes culture, who lived between the two rivers Kura and Araxes. Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “highland”. Karabath is generally held to originate from Turkic and Persian, and literally means “black garden”.

In WW1, Ottoman Turkey troops entered Karabakh, meeting armed resistance by Armenians. After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Karabakh. In April 1920, Karabath came under the control of Armenia. In 1921, Armenia and Georgia were taken over by Russia under Stalin. With the Soviet Union firmly in control of the region, the conflict over the region died down for several decades.

With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. Accusing the Azerbaijani government of conducting forced administration of the region, the majority Armenian population, with ideological and material support from the Armenian government, started a movement to have the autonomous government.

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Armenian and Azerbajani military employed a large number of mercenaries from Ukraine and Russia. As many as one thousand Afghan mujahideen participated in the fighting on Azerbaijan’s side. There were also fighters from Chechnya fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.

By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. By May 1994, the Armenians were in control of 14% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage, the Azerbaijani government for the first time during the conflict recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party in the war, and started direct negotiations with the Karabakh authorities. As a result, an unofficial cease fire was reached on May 12, 1994 through Russian negotiation.

In August, 2008, the United States, France, and Russia are mediating efforts to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict, proposing a “a referendum to determine the final status of the area, return of some territories under Karabakh’s control, and security guarantees.


To me, many countries are still haunted by past colonization history either by US, UK or Russian superpowers.  Malaysia is no exception.  Ignorance on the history is a “crime”.  Knowing what we don’t know  is the sign of wisdom.