Jump to content


Photo

Azerbaijani Writer: Novel is aimed at showing repentance for our deeds


  • Please log in to reply
53 replies to this topic

#21 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:12 AM

ARMENIAN, TURKISH INTELLECTUALS BACK FAMOUS AZERBAIJANI WRITER IN ATTACK

http://www.armradio....iter-in-attack/
10:05 12.02.2013

Turkish and Armenian intellectuals have recently issued support
messages for renowned Azerbaijani novelist Akram Aylisli, who became
the target of attacks for his latest novel.

"When true intellectuals and true writers defend truths, it does not
mean that they don't love their country. Aylisli's statements clearly
show that a patriot cannot remain silent in the face of the truth,"
President of the Writers' Union of Armenia Levon Ananyan said.

Prominent publisher, author and human rights activist Ragıp Zarakolu
released an announcement titled "Defend Azerbaijani Conscience". "No
matter what you call honest people with conscience, they are the
real pride of a country. Currently, the life of Azerbaijan's pride,
Aylisli, is under a severe threat. Even though some Western countries
and Russia invited him, Aylisli displayed an honorable posture and
rejected leaving his homeland. In order to prevent another murder
resembling the assassination of Hrant Dink, I call the international
public and the democrats of Turkey and Azerbaijan to active solidarity
with Aylisli," the announcement reads, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Aylisli became the target of attacks both from the state and the
public after the release of his latest novel, "Stone Dreams," which
depicts Azerbaijani-Armenian friendship through its protagonists. A
symbolic DNA test was done last week in Baku to prove whether Aylisli
was Armenian. A group of angry people gathered in front of Aylisli's
house, painted crosses on his photos and burned them, shouting slogans
such as, "Traitor, shame on you!"

Aylisli had been the recipient of many national and international
awards, and was also declared "Azerbaijani National Writer" in 1987,
but President Ä°lham Aliyev stripped him of all his national honors
on Feb. 7.

#22 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

RUSSIAN PEN-CENTER DEMANDS ALIYEV TO STOP PERSECUTION OF WRITER AKRAM AYLISLI

20:29, 12 February, 2013

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 12, ARMENPRES: An international organization
protecting the rights of writers, the Russian PEN-Centre, published
an open letter to the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, to stop
the persecution of the disgraced writer Akram Aylisli, Armenpress,
reports referring to contact.az.

The authors of the letter believe that, "thoughts and opinions
expressed in his novel requiem" Stone Dreams" cannot be used as a
pretext to persecute the writer."

The Executive Committee of the Russian PEN-Centre notes that "literary
and ethical issues must be addressed in a legal and literary field,
and not by administrative methods, such as depriving the writer of
awards and titles, etc."

Letters in support of the Azerbaijani writer and chief editor of
the magazine "Friendship of Peoples", Alexander Ebanoidze, and the
writers Boris Akunin and Andrey Bitov were also published.

On February 7 Aliyev signed an order to deprive Akram Aylisli of
the title "People's Writer." A seventy-five-year-old writer was also
deprived of his state pension.

The novel "Stone Dreams", describes attacks on Armenians in Baku in
December 1989, has caused a wide resonance in Azerbaijan. The writer
is accused of bias in the presentation of historical facts. Recently
there have been calls for violence against Aylisli.

#23 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:57 AM

They (Azeries) say they are not savages, but they don't mind a savage act like cutting the ear of the auther.

AZERBAIJAN TURNS ON ONE OF ITS OWN

Washington Post
Feb 12 2013

By Will Englund, Feb 12, 2013 05:11 PM EST

The Washington Post MOSCOW - Azerbaijan's troubled efforts to
portray itself as a progressive and Western-oriented country took a
beating this week with the announcement by a pro-government political
party that it will pay $12,700 to anyone who cuts off the ear of a
75-year-old novelist.

The author is Akram Aylisli, and his crime is to have written a
novella called "Stone Dreams" that is sympathetic to Armenians and
recounts Azeri atrocities in the war between the two countries 20
years ago. Aylisli's misfortune is to have had his work published,
in Russia, at a time when an insecure regime in Azerbaijan is whipping
up anti-Armenian fervor.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has already stripped Aylisli of
his title of "People's Writer" and the pension that goes with it. His
son was fired from his job and parliament has demanded that Aylisli
submit to a DNA test to prove he's Azerbaijani. Over the weekend,
book burnings were staged around the country.

But on Monday the head of the Modern Musavat Party, Hafiz Hajiyev,
told the Turan Information Agency that the time has come for Aylisli
to be punished for portraying Azerbaijanis as savages.

"We have to cut off his ear," Hajiyev said. "This decision is to be
executed by members of the youth branch of the party."

Watchdog groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Institute
for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, denounced the threat. "I can't
believe he's a man or human being," Leila Yunus, head of the Baku-based
Institute of Peace and Democracy, said of Hajiyev. Even the Soviet era,
Yunus said, didn't feature "such horrible propaganda."

The Interior Ministry pointed out that cutting off an ear is a crime
and said it would investigate. But the government, rattled by protests
in January, has been lashing out at its opponents and, as it has in
the past, tried to distract public opinion by stirring up fears of an
Armenian threat. Although a 1994 cease-fire stopped the war between
the two former Soviet republics, Armenians still hold the territory
of Nagorno-Karabakh, and Aliyev frequently vows to take it back.

Antagonism is high, and Aylisli has fallen afoul of that. While
Azerbaijan has spent billions of dollars in oil revenue on military
equipment, efforts by the United States, Russia and France to broker a
settlement have failed. Shots across the cease-fire line are becoming
more common, and in the past week two Azeri soldiers and one Armenian
have reportedly been killed.

E. Wayne Merry, a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies in Washington, said recently that
Nagorno-Karabakh is in a "pre-war" situation.

The government also has arrested two leading opposition politicians,
Tofik Agublu and Ilgar Mammadov, and charged them with fomenting
protests last month over an alleged brothel in the town of Ismayilli.

The brothel, which was burned down, reportedly was owned by the son
of one of Aliyev's cabinet ministers.

The men will be held for two months and then face trial on charges
that could bring three-year prison sentences. The arrests have been
criticized by the European Union, Amnesty International and Human
Rights Watch. Azerbaijan's foreign ministry has rejected the criticism
as unfounded.

Mammadov is a member of the advisory board of a group called Revenue
Watch, which called for the immediate release of the two men. The
United States, which values Azerbaijan for its hostility to neighboring
Iran but criticizes the country's human rights practices, urged the
government to observe due process.

In an e-mail he sent to his supporters on the eve of his Feb. 4
arrest, Mammadov noted that he had been to Ismayilli, in a lull between
protests, to see for himself what was going on. "Now the government is
trying to use that fact to speculate that I have organized that massive
unrest," he wrote. He noted that his Republican Alternative party is
likely to nominate him to run for president against Aliyev in October.

Aylisli, who could not be reached Tuesday, told Radio Liberty two
weeks ago that he dwelt on Azeri atrocities in "Stone Dreams" because
that was his responsibility as an Azerbaijani writer. Let Armenian
authors, he said, write about the atrocities of their side - notably,
a 1992 massacre in the town of Khojaly, the memory of which has become
a major rallying point for aggrieved Azeris.

Aylisli also has written thinly-veiled attacks on both Aliev and his
father, Heydar Aliev, the former president, for the brutality and
corruption of their regimes. That's an image that Azerbaijan has
gone to great lengths to obscure, helped by the glitzy revival of
its capital Baku, thanks to revenue from gas and oil. Using events
like last year's Eurovision song contest in Baku, the government has
painted Azerbaijan as an outpost of flash and modernity that outshines
its neighbor, Iran.

The secular fatwa against Aylisli's ear, though, could make that
campaign an uphill battle.

http://www.washingto...106b_story.html




#24 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

No amount of money would have bought this much negative image.

AZERI PARTY OFFERS BOUNTY FOR EAR OF AUTHOR

Kyiv Post
Feb 13 2013
Ukraine

Feb. 13, 2013, 8:12 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union ~W by Reuters

BAKU - A pro-government party in Azerbaijan has offered a bounty to
anyone who slices off the ear of a celebrated writer it says insulted
the nation with his depiction of friendship and violence between
Azeris and Armenians.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have had no diplomatic ties since a war over
the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, as
the Soviet Union fell apart, killed 30,000 people.

Human Rights Watch condemned the threat against Akram Aylisli, who held
the title of "People's Author" in Azerbaijan before being stripped
the honour by the president last week after the story "Stone Dreams"
enraged Azeris.

The work, which was published in a Russian magazine, in part tells the
story of how some Azeris tried to protect their Armenian neighbours
when Armenians were being tortured and beaten in Baku in 1990.

With nearly 1 million displaced people from the territory of
Nagorno-Karabakh living in Azerbaijan and both states suffering the
economic and social effects of the war, the topic of ethnic relations
is a hornet's nest.

The leader of Azeri pro-government party Muasir Musavat (Modern
Equality) told Reuters on Tuesday the party was offering 10,000 manats,
nearly $13,000, for anyone who cut off Aylisli's ear.

"(Aylisli) insulted the entire Azeri nation," party leader Hafiz
Haciyev said in his party office in Baku. "As he has insulted us we
wanted to respond, and that is why we have decided ... that his ear
must be chopped off."

Even before Haciyev's threat, officials from the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan
Party called on Aylisli to withdraw the novel from sale and ask for
the nation's forgiveness. There have been protests outside his home
in Baku.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev last week signed a decree stripping
Aylisli of his title of "People's Writer", one of the country's
highest cultural honours, which he had held since 1998.

New York-based Human Rights Watch urged Azerbaijan on Tuesday to stop
the campaign of intimidation against him.

"The government of Azerbaijan has an obligation to protect safety
and security and investigate any threats against the writer, whose
only fault is that he expressed his mind," said Georgy Gogia, South
Caucasus researcher for the group.

"In fact, the government is often spearheading this smear campaign,"
he said.

A truce between Azerbaijan and Armenia was signed in 1994, but there
was no peace treaty. Violence still flares sporadically along the
ceasefire line and Azerbaijan's border with Armenia - underlining
the risk of a conflict in the South Caucasus, where Turkey, Russia
and Iran have interests.

The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh has about 160,000 people and runs
its own affairs with heavy Armenian military and financial backing
since the war. Oil-producing Azerbaijan often threatens to take it
back by force, though it says it favours diplomacy.

http://www.kyivpost....hor-320337.html




#25 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:27 AM

URGENT CALL TO DEFEND REGHTEOUS AZERIS

Ragip Zarakolu
Society - Tuesday, 12 February 2013, 10:47

Conscience is a distinctive moral quality of mankind. The
conscientious, the honest, the righteous or whatever you may choose
to call them represent the true pride and honour of a country, but
criminals wielding an axe never can! A writer in Azerbaijan who
should have been the pride of his country is presently in mortal
danger, and the threat emanates from the President of the country,
who is a post-Soviet autocrat. The title of "People's Writer" of
the Republic of Azerbaijan and the associated state award have been
rescinded, his author's pension has been cancelled, and his wife and
son have been fired from their jobs. This writer is Ekrem Eylisli, an
author, scriptwriter and dramatist who adopted the great Soviet writer
Maxim Gorky's philosophy of the fraternity of peoples at Maxim Gorky
Literature Institute in Moscow, dedicated to that great man. He is
presently 75 years old, a prolific writer published in many magazines
and newspapers. He was elected to the parliament in 2005. His literary
life had begun in 1959 with poetry, and continued with stories, plays,
scripts and novels. He has also translated many works by humanist
writers such as Gabriel G. Marquez, Turgenev and Chinghiz Aitmatov
into the Azeri language. His plays have been performed in many former
Soviet cities including Yerevan. Lynch mobs are now mobilized in front
of his house, very much like we had once witnessed in Maras and Sivas.

An outstanding slogan is << Come and bring your axe! >>, calling on
the Azeri officer Ramil Sahiboglu Seferov who decapitated an Armenian
officer called Gurgen Margaryan with an axe in his sleep in 2004,
twenty days before they were to return home (*). They were co-trainees
in the NATO-sponsored << Partnership for Peace >> program in Budapest.

Melahet Ibrahimqizi -an Azeri parliamentarian who had been a part of
the delegation flown in to Ankara to talk with parliamentary chairman
Koksal Toptan (**), CHP leader Deniz Baykal, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli,
as well as various AKP functionaries, and eventually to block the
move altogether when a protocol was signed in 2009 between Armenia
and Turkey to normalize relations and open the border- now tries to
extend the lynch campaign to Turkey as well, saying in an aggressive
speech delivered in the Azeri parliament that Eylisli insults not only
Azerbaijanis, but the Turkish nation as a whole. Demands were even
made in that parliamentary session that the writer be subjected to a
DNA test and that he should be deprived of citizenship. The reason
for all this is the publication of Eylisli's latest novella "Stone
Dreams" in the Russian literary magazine Druzhba Narodov (Fraternity
of Peoples). The novella has not even been published in Azeri yet. An
enraged mob gathered in front of Eynisli's home in the capital Baku,
shouting "Shame on you, traitor!", and burning his books, and his
portraits with a cross printed on his forehead. The novella tells the
story of two Azeri men who tried to protect their Armenian neighbours
from ethnic violence. It also mentions pogroms against Armenians in
Sumguit and Baku cities in a vein of conscientious criticism. The
novella was actually finished in 2007, but could only be published
5 years later in Russian. It is interesting to note that an Armenian
writer also dealt with the Armenian-Azeri conflict in a conscientious
tone -at about the same time-- and was awarded a prize in the Republic
of Azerbaijan. The Writers Union where he was a member reacted to
his acceptance of an Azerbaijani award (though not to his writing of
the story itself), whereupon the writer resigned from the Union in
protest. However, he never became the target of a hate campaign as
is the case in Baku now. Researcher Sarkis Hatspanian says that the
Armenian writer Levon Cavakhyan wrote the story "Kirve" (Godfather)
in 2008, saying "Azeris are not my enemy" (***). Azeri writer Ekrem
Eynisli -who had said "Armenians are not my enemy" at about the same
time--now faces a lynch campaign 5 years later for having uttered the
same sentence. Though invited by Western countries and Russia, Ekrem
Eynisli takes a proud stance, saying "This is my homeland and I will
not leave it". I call upon international public opinion as well as the
democratic public in Turkey and Azerbaijan to to solidarize actively
with Ekrem Eynisli in order to avert a new murder similar to that
committed against Hrant Dink. Ragip Zarakolu (****) (*) Seferov was
condemned to life imprisonment in Hungary, but Azerbaijan's president
Aliev had him immediately released by presidential pardon on August
31, 2012, when he was extradited to Azerbaijan. (**) Koksal Toptan
was to exercise his powers as Chairman of the Turkish Parliament in
2009 in impounding and returning -at the behest of CHP's MP Sukru
Elekdag--books sent to members of parliament by the Gomidas Institute,
thereby violating the parliamentarians' freedom to communicate. (***)
facebook.com/notes/sarkis-hatspanian/kirve/489684637733351 (****)
Founding Member of Human Rights Association and of Social History
Foundation; member of PEN Turkey and of the Writers Union of Turkey;
member of Turkish Publishers Association and of the International
Committee for the Freedom to Publish; nobel Peace Prize Nominee by
Swedish Parliament members and by the French Section of GIT [the
International Work Group (GIT) 'Academic Liberty and Freedom of
Research [in Turkey]' (www.gitfrance.fr and www.gitinitiative . com)."

]

http://www.lragir.am...iety/view/28892

#26 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Bloomberg News

$13,000 Bounty Offered for Cutting Off Azeri Writer’s Ear


By Zulfugar Agayev on February 13, 2013







A party loyal to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev offered $13,000 to any member who cuts an ear off pro-opposition writer Akram Aylisli -- and then rescinded the bounty to avoid an international scandal.
Hafiz Haciyev, leader of Muasir Musavat, or Modern Equality, said he withdrew his directive to the party’s youth organization after being warned by the Interior Ministry.
“We canceled our decision to cut off Aylisli’s ear after pressure from foreign embassies,” Haciyev said by phone from the Azeri capital Baku, without being more specific. “The Interior Ministry also advised us not do so.”
Aylisli’s portrayal of Azeri brutality against Armenians in his “Stone Dreams” novella, which was published in the Russian magazine Druzhba Narodov, has triggered days of government-sanctioned protests outside his Baku apartment and in his native village in the Naxcivan region. Aliyev, 51, who is seeking a third term in elections scheduled for October, stripped Aylisli, a member of the Forum of Intellectuals opposition group, of his People’s Writer honor and accompanying salary.
“This is a government-orchestrated campaign against me,”Aylisli say by mobile phone from Baku. “I’ve started to think about leaving the country. Every day, they speak about me on television, they show people burning my book.”
‘Traitor’

The country’s religious authority, the Baku-based Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, issued a statement today calling Aylisli a “traitor” and a “renegade.”
Azerbaijan, the largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia and Kazakhstan, is still technically at war with Armenia over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke free of Baku’s control after the Soviet collapse in 1991. About 30,000 people were killed and more than 1 million displaced during the war, which left Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent Azeri regions under Armenian control.
Aliyev, an ally of the U.S. and Israel, last year vowed to take back Nagorno-Karabakh, saying Sept. 11 that Azeri citizens“must and will return to their native lands.” Aliyev made the comments less than a month after pardoning an Azeri officer who was convicted of murdering an Armenian officer with an ax while they were attending a North Atlantic Treaty Organization course in Hungary.
Human Rights Watch urged the Azeri government to end the“hostile campaign of intimidation” against Aylisli, saying on its website that it has an obligation to protect him.
“Instead, they have led the effort to intimidate him, putting him at risk with a campaign of vicious smears and hostile rhetoric,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director for the New York-based group, in the statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

#27 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:58 PM

Posted Image



Bring me the ear of Akram Aylisli! Politician offers £8,000 for attack on writer






Head of political party offers £8,000 for author's body part over controversial novel

Shaun Walker Posted Image

A politician in Azerbaijan has offered a cash reward for anyone who slices off the ear of a controversial writer – the latest twist in an alleged hate campaign waged by the country’s authoritarian government in an apparent attempt to distract attention from internal issues.

The author, Akram Aylisli, is in trouble for his novel Stone Dreams, in which he portrayed scenes of violence carried out by Azerbaijanis against their Armenian foes during the riots that accompanied the break-up of the Soviet Union. What appears to be a coordinated campaign has been unleashed against him, with television programmes and official pronouncements railing against the writer.

He was expelled from the Union of Writers and had his presidential pension rescinded. His wife and son have also lost their jobs, while protesters have organised book-burnings of his works, held pickets outside his house, and burned effigies of him.
Events took an even more alarming turn when Hafiz Haciyev, the head of a pro-government political party, said his party would pay 10,000 manat (£8,000) for the ear of the author.
“The book was meant to be about conciliation between Azeris and Armenians,” Mr Aylisli told The Independent from Baku. “I realised when I wrote it that it could be controversial, but I didn’t for a minute think that there would be this giant campaign, on a state level.”
Azerbaijan is a bitter foe of neighbouring Armenia, and the two countries fought a war in the early 1990s over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is currently run by a pro-Armenian government. There is still a heavily armed front line of muddy trenches between the two countries, and periodic militaristic rhetoric from both sides.
“If a person has no national spirit, he cannot have a sense of humanity,” said Ali Hasanov, an aide to Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, commenting on Mr Aylisli’s novel. “The Azerbaijani people must express public hatred towards these people.”
“The Azerbaijani authorities have an obligation to protect Akram Aylisli,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, they have led the effort to intimidate him, putting him at risk with a campaign of vicious smears and hostile rhetoric.”
The campaign comes after a period of unusual civil unrest in the country, as Mr Aliyev prepares to stand for re-election later in the year. Last month, thousands of people attended an unsanctioned rally in Baku over conditions in the military, and later there were violent protests in a provincial town after a minister’s son crashed his luxury car into a local’s more modest vehicle. Although the President still retains the support of the majority of Azeris, analysts say discontent over Mr Aliyev’s authoritarian methods and the rampant corruption of the ruling elite is eroding the regime’s popularity.
“Something is definitely changing in Azerbaijan,” said Emin Milli, a blogger and activist who was released from a 15-day jail sentence for organising unsanctioned rallies last month. “For the first time, thousands of people are coming out to protest. This is the government’s old game to rally support – play the nationalist card.”

#28 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 February 2013 - 05:06 PM

22:02 14/02/2013 » Miscellaneous
True causes of persecution of Ekrem Eylisli, author of book about massacres of Armenians...


“Armenian theme” for the Azerbaijani government is zero-risk bond if it wants to divert public’s attention from really serious problems, stated in an interview Analitika.at.ua expert on geopolitics of the South Caucasus, candidate of political sciences Angela Elibegova, commenting on the situation with persecution of Ekrem Eylisli, the author of the book "Stone Dreams" which is about massacres of Armenians.

“If you pay attention, the novel that was published in December’s issue of the magazine “Friendship of Peoples”, with the filing of the ruling party caused wide public resonance in Azerbaijan, just as soon as the situation in the country exacerbated because of the unrest in the Ismailli district, and then a chained reaction began. Who in Azerbaijan speaks of “Gyulyargeyt”, Ismayilli, a disproportionate number of deaths in the army, and other acute problems that a couple of weeks ago concerned the public!

This story, of course, has another side as well, which is presenting “National leader” Heydar Aliyev in unflattering light and indirect accusation of organizing the Armenian massacres. In the Azerbaijani press they openly speak about the fact that the ruling clan didn’t forgive this impertinent deed committed by the popular writer and winner of various state awards. The representatives of Nakhichevan clan in the ruling elite surely resented more, because the historical events connected with the massacres of Armenians in Agulis, that took place in 1919, are, first of all a problem for them.

For decades, the government of Azerbaijan destroyed every trace of presence of Armenians in Nakhichevan systematically. Today, critics of Eylisli have practically trapped themselves. Those who accuse the author of violating the parity in the novel, saying he describes only the atrocities of the Turks against the Armenians in Nakhichevan thereby recognize the fact of the massacre. Those who try to deny the historical facts in the book, refer to sources which say that in the village the Armenians and the Turks lived in peace for centuries, thus contradicting the official position of the Azerbaijani propaganda about fact that the Armenians were resettled in the region only after the Turkmenchay treaty.

And of course special attention should be paid at the comments about 12 Armenian churches in Agulis. Part of the active critics denies their existence, supporting their position by saying that there is no need to build so many churches in one village. Though we all know that earlier Agulis was a big city. Another part still recognizes their existence, however argues that the church were not Armenian but Albanian. A question arises with the Armenian historians and ethnologists who repeatedly ask Azerbaijan, “Why in that case Azerbaijanis destroyed 12 churches of Agulis, if they consider themselves the descendants and successors of Caucasian Albania and thus the bearers of that culture?” The answer, I think, is obvious...


However, Azerbaijan found an original version for this disposition as well; These “Albanian” churches have been destroyed by the Azerbaijanis in order to prevent anyone of thinking that they are Armenian ones. This comment, in the context of the novel, perfectly fits the current situation where they organize demonstrative “funerals” of the book in a coffin, deprive Eylisli all ranks, publicly burn his works in fire, call on cutting off his ear and deport from the country,” the expert notes.

Ekrem Eylisli is national writer (since 1998) and Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, holder of the highest order of Azerbaijan “Istiglal” (2002) and the order of “Shokhrat” for his outstanding merits in the literature of Azerbaijan. Recently, on the website of Russian magazine “Friendship of Nations” was published his novel titled “Stone Dreams” in which the author describes the massacres of Armenians in Baku in 1990 and in Nakhichevan in 1919. The author in his novel speaks positively about the Armenian people and their culture. The novel “Stone Dreams” also contains criticism over the former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and the tyranny of his system.

After the publication of the novel, Eylisli was exposed to severe pressures in Azerbaijan; the pro-governmental youth held rally next his home, his issue was discussed in the parliament of Azerbaijan, MPs suggested to burn his books and to deprive him of citizenship and deport from Azerbaijan. Many people “blamed” Eylisli in his Armenian origin, etc. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has deprived him of personal pension and the title of National Writer, and accused him of “purposefully distorting the history of Azerbaijan” and “in distorting realities about history of Azerbaijan in an inappropriate way.”

The leader of the pro-governmental party”Modern Musavat” Hafis Hajiyev announced that he would pay about 10 euros to the one who will cut the ear of the writer. Only after the intervention of the media, the politician was “warned” by the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan about the illegality of such appeals.

The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Office in Baku condemned persecution of Aylisli in Azerbaijan and called on the authorities to fulfill their obligations.
Source: Panorama.am

#29 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 February 2013 - 05:09 PM

19:27 14/02/2013 » Society
Thomas de Waal: Azerbaijani authorities speak of thousands of Armenians who would live in Baku but in the same time bait Eylisli


Ekrem Eylisli’s novel is a brave act for the writer, thinks the famous British journalist, author of “Black Garden-Karabakh,” Thomas de Waal. In an interview with the Azerbaijani service of “Radio Liberty”, he noted that Eylisli wrote the novel "Stone Dreams" not as a politician or journalist but as an artist, as a writer.

“He expressed his vision in fiction. He said that “the society in which I live, has also committed wrong things, that’s why we are responsible for it, and it must be recognized,” de Waal noted.

Answering the question, how he perceives the outrage in Azerbaijan over Eylisli’s novel, which suddenly broke the taboo by talking about violence of the Azerbaijani side during the conflict, and began to call upon the parties to come to peace, de Waal answered, “This speaks about the fact that the Azerbaijani society is not ready to analyze the history and problems. And the most important thing is that it is a characteristic phenomenon for two sides of the conflict both the Azerbaijani and the Armenian society.”

“Unfortunately, instead of encouraging Eylisli as brave citizen, they subjected him to pressures, burnt his books. The anger of few people is sensible. However, the fact that Azerbaijani government is heading the campaign launched against Ekrem Eylisli is regrettable. The Azerbaijani government likes to talk about peace, he even recalls how peacefully thousands of Armenians lived in Baku. Unfortunately, the pressure on the writer who bravely comments on the conflict, brings to another impression delivering diverse message,” the expert said.

The expert, answering the question how the fact that state TV transmits speech full of hatred against Ekrem Eylisli, the fact that the president of Azerbaijan has deprived him of the title of “National Writer” and the head of one of the pro-governmental parties announced a reward to the one who cuts the writer's ear, influences the international image of Azerbaijan, said that such behavior of Azerbaijani authorities reminded of the scandal that erupted in Soviet period over the novel written by Boris Pasternak “Doctor Zhivago” or the ban over Salman Rushdie’s books.

De Waal also noted that the Azerbaijani authorities are likely to think more about the domestic audience, but in our time, such questions do not remain within the borders of the country. And the government should be concerned about the image of Azerbaijan in the whole world. “In all cases, this is a regrettable phenomenon. Ekrem Eylisli presents the tolerant layer of Azerbaijani society. Unfortunately, his voice was not heard,” he said.

De Waal said that different arguments can be presented during the debate, about the wounds of war in that number, “However, this debate should be expressed in a polite form, be presented on television, in newspapers. The burning of books, however, is a result of primitivism and ignorance,” the expert said.

As De Waal mentioned the OSCE Minsk Group includes in its mandate also the support of those people who call on for peace.
“I am not sure in which format they can do it in case of Eylisli. But I think that any statement made by the OSCE Minsk Group would be just on time, especially when there are threats that endanger the life of Ekrem Eylisli. Perhaps this can be done by the countries co-chairing in the Minsk Group separately. Just as in case of the statement released by the White House about Ramil Safarov,” De Waal stated.

The British expert cited example of Azerbaijan’s neighboring country Georgia where a few years ago, the local political analyst Mamuka Arashidze said that probably Georgia should recognize Abkhazia’s independence. His remarks caused outrage among the Georgian society, the TV channels began criticizing him. But this controversy did not go beyond verbal squabbles, no one threatened to kill the politician. De Waal said that Azerbaijan has sometimes to take the example of Georgia which has had the same problem and to see how they react to different opinions there.

“Aylisli’s case showed that the society is not ready for peace yet. We can see that in recent years, the process repeats by the same scenario. Co-Chairs come with a plan, but the parties do not consider it acceptable and the process continues, it repeats as if in a vicious circle. Apparently, the main goal has become not so much reaching a peace but prevention of a new war,” Thomas de Waal summed up.
Source: Panorama.am

#30 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH DEMANDS TO STOP WITCH-HUNT AGAINST AZERBAIJANI WRITER AKRAM AYLISLI

http://azerireport.c...=3872&Itemid=53

MOSCOW. February 12, 2013: The Azerbaijani government should
immediately end a hostile campaign of intimidation against writer Akram
Aylisli. Aylisli recently published a controversial novel depicting
relationships between ethnic Azeris and Armenians in Azerbaijan.

Foreign governments and intergovernmental organizations of which
Azerbaijan is a member should speak out against this intimidation
campaign. They should urge the authorities to immediately investigate
those responsible for threats against Aylisli, and to respect freedom
of expression.

"The Azerbaijani authorities have an obligation to protect Akram
Aylisli," said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at
Human Rights Watch. "Instead, they have led the effort to intimidate
him, putting him at risk with a campaign of vicious smears and
hostile rhetoric."

Aylisli, a member of the Union of Writers of Azerbaijan since the
Soviet era, is the author of Stone Dreams. The novel includes a
description of violence by ethnic Azeris against Armenians during the
1920s, and at the end of the Soviet era, when the two countries engaged
in armed conflict. Aylisli told Human Rights Watch that he saw the
novel as an appeal for friendship between the two nations. The novel
was published in Friendship of Peoples, a Russian literary journal,
in December 2012.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a seven-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh,
a primarily ethnic Armenian-populated autonomous enclave in
Azerbaijan. Despite a 1994 ceasefire, the conflict has not yet reached
a political solution. Against the background of the unresolved nature
of the conflict, Aylisli's sympathetic portrayal of Armenians and
condemnation of violence against them caused uproar in Azerbaijan. An
escalating crescendo of hateful rhetoric and threats against Aylisli
started at the end of January 2013, culminating in a February 11 public
statement by Hafiz Hajiyev, head of Modern Musavat, a pro-government
political party. Hajiyev publicly said that he would pay AZN10,000
[US$12,700] to anyone who would cut off Aylisli's ear.

"Azerbaijan's authorities should immediately investigate and hold
accountable anyone responsible for making threats against Aylisli,
and ensure his personal safety," Williamson said.

On January 29, officials from the Yeni Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan's ruling
party, publicly called on Aylisli to withdraw the novel and ask
for the nation's forgiveness. Aylisli told Human Rights Watch that
two days later, a crowd of about 70 people gathered in front of his
home, shouting "Akram, leave the country now," and "Shame on you",
and burned effigies of the author. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch
that police were present but made no effort to disperse the crowd. No
damage was done to Aylisli's home.

In a speech about Aylisli's book, a high level official from
Azerbaijan's presidential administration said that, "We, as the
Azerbaijani people, must express public hatred toward these people,"
a comment that appeared aimed at Aylisli.

During a February 1 session, some members of Azerbaijan's parliament
denounced Aylisli, called for him to be stripped of his honorary
"People's Writer" title and medals, and demanded that he take a DNA
test to prove his ethnicity. On February 7, President Ilham Aliyev
signed a decree stripping Aylisli of the title, which he had held since
1998, and cutting off his presidential monthly pension of AZN1000
[US$1,270], which he had drawn since 2002. Aylisli learned of the
presidential decree from television news.

In the wake of the public vitriol, Aylisli's wife and son were fired
from their jobs. On February 4, a senior officer at Azerbaijan's
customs agency forced Najaf Naibov-Aylisli, Aylisli's son, to sign
a statement that he was "voluntarily" resigning from his job as
department chief. Aylisli told Human Rights Watch his son had received
no reprimands during his 12 years on job.

"My son had nothing to do with politics," Aylisli said. "In fact he
always advised me not to write about politics and never agreed with
my political views."

On February 5, Aylisli's wife, Galina Alexandrovna, was forced to sign
a "voluntary" statement resigning from her job at a public library,
following an inspection announced several days before.

Public book burnings of Aylisli's works, some organized by the ruling
party, have taken place in several cities in Azerbaijan.

"The government of Azerbaijan is making a mockery of its international
obligations on freedom of expression," Williamson said. "This
is shocking, particularly after Azerbaijani officials flocked to
Strasbourg last month to tout the government's human rights record
at the Council of Europe."

The European Court of Human Rights has issued numerous rulings
upholding the principle that freedom of speech also protects ideas
that might be shocking or disturbing to society. In a judgment handed
down against Azerbaijan, in a case that dealt speech related to the
Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the court said, "[F]reedom of information
applie[s] not only to information or ideas that are favorably received,
but also to those that offend, shock or disturb" (Human Rights Watch).

#31 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

10:48 16/02/2013 » Society
Persecution over Akram Aylisli in Azerbaijan and threats against him brought international condemnation


Azeri writer Akram Aylisli who is hounded for his 'pro-Armenian' book Stone Dreams telling the truth about the massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan, brought about international condemnation, the article of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reads.

His books have been publicly burnt. He has been stripped of his national literary awards. And a high-ranking Azeri politician has offered $13,000 (£8,400) as a bounty for anyone who will cut off his ear. But 75-year-old Akram Aylisli, one of Azerbaijan's most eminent authors, does not regret having written his short novel Stone Dreams. The book has shocked many Azeris. But could it also prove the first tentative step towards peace with the country's longstanding enemy Armenia?

"I knew what I was writing. They say I offended the nation. But I think quite the opposite: I think I have raised my nation up," he told the BBC by phone.

"I could predict they would be unhappy. But I could never have predicted such horrors, such as calls for a writer to be killed, or his book to be burnt. It is very sad that our nation is humiliating itself in this way. A country that can burn books will not be respected by the rest of the world," the writer said.

BBC says that the book describes Azerbaijan's conflict with neighbouring Armenia through the 20th Century. But it details the massacres of Armenians by Azeris, portraying the tragedy of war from Armenia's perspective.

The article says that Azerbaijan is still traumatised by losing both the war in the 1990s and almost 20% of its territory - the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas. So depicting Azeris as perpetrators is shocking enough. To entirely leave out accounts of Azeri suffering is for many unforgiveable.

“After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a brutal war in which both sides suffered enormously, with up to 30,000 people killed and a million forced to flee their homes. Today, despite a tenuous ceasefire, the two countries are still locked in conflict, with dozens killed every year,” the article says.

However, according to BBC, even some of the book's critics, such as Azeri opposition activist Murad Gassanly, condemn the persecution of its author.

"With the exception of ultra-liberal circles, very few people actually liked the book or its message. However, the book burnings, street protests and calls for violence against the author were orchestrated primarily by pro-government circles. There is no freedom of assembly in Azerbaijan - it is impossible to gather and collectively read books, let alone burn them! The fact that these protests were allowed, protected by police and then shown on national state TV suggests that they were orchestrated from the top,” he explained.

BBC notes that President Ilham Aliyev himself signed the decree stripping Aylisli of his national awards and monthly literary stipend. Ruling party parliamentarians demanded he leave the country or that his DNA be tested to see if he was really Azeri, and not in fact Armenian. And high-ranking government officials called him a traitor, saying "public hatred" was the correct response. Aylisli's wife and son both lost their jobs in state-controlled institutions.

“The calls for violence against Aylisli - echoing Iran's notorious fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie - have sparked strong condemnation from abroad,” the article says.

“Many analysts believe the vitriol against the author was an attempt by the authorities to divert attention from a wave of anti-government protests, which had swept the country in January. There are signs that increasing numbers of Azeris are dissatisfied with the growing disparity between rich and poor under President Aliyev, who faces an election in October. And members of his government are accused of corruption,” the article says.

"It's not unusual for the government to find a common enemy and unite around it," said Giorgi Gogia from Human Rights Watch. "And it's not the first time that freedom of information and free speech are under attack."

According to the article at least five journalists critical of Azerbaijan's government are currently behind bars, on what human rights activists describe as trumped-up charges. “And in January two well-respected opposition politicians, one of whom intends to run in October's presidential elections, were arrested, accused of organising anti-government protests. They are being held in pre-trial detention, which in Azerbaijan can last more than a year. If found guilty, they could face years in prison,” the BBC writes.

Stifling free speech not only quashes political dissent. The fear is that it could also be harming Azerbaijan's chance of ever making peace with Armenia. “This book tackles the issue which needs to be discussed in society: looking at the past," says Mr. Gogia, who believes Aylisli was extremely brave by being the first high-profile Azeri author to show sympathy towards victims from the other side.

"Freedom of speech applies not only to those ideas that are favourable. But even more so to those that shock and offend," he said.
Aylisli believes that peace can only be achieved by kindness, not with anger.
Source: Panorama.am

#32 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:05 AM

20:08 15/02/2013 » Society
Azerbaijan discusses issue on depriving Armenian classic writer Shirvanzade of title of National Writer


After Ekrem Eylisli, the Azerbaijani author of the novel "Stone Dreams" which is about the massacre of Armenians, was deprived of all state awards on the agenda was put also the issue of depriving Armenian classical writer of, Alexander Shirvanzade of the title of “National Writer of Azerbaijan.”

Website AzNews.az, tried to find out the disposition of the Azerbaijani intelligentsia on this issue. Thus, the poet Ilyas Tapdig stated that there is no need to recall the past. “Azerbaijan has forgotten Alexander Shirvanzade and we should not remember him again. His work “Namus” was presented on the Azerbaijani stage for many years. He lived before us. There is no need to reanimate this topic now.

Another Azerbaijani poet Musa Yaqub said that at first they should reason why they deprive of the award the first Azerbaijani national writer Alexander Shirvanzade. “He is originally Armenian. You need to reason why and on which basis do you deprive him of the reward. Grigorian was awarded title of national writer as well. Let's not poke into this matter,” the Azerbaijani poet said.

Ekrem Eylisli is national writer (since 1998) and Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, holder of the highest order of Azerbaijan “Istiglal” (2002) and the order of “Shokhrat” for his outstanding merits in the literature of Azerbaijan. Recently, on the website of Russian magazine “Friendship of Nations” was published his novel titled “Stone Dreams” in which the author describes the massacres of Armenians in Baku in 1990 and in Nakhichevan in 1919. The author in his novel speaks positively about the Armenian people and their culture. The novel “Stone Dreams” also contains criticism over the former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and the tyranny of the system created by him.

After publication of the novel, Eylisli was exposed to severe pressures in Azerbaijan; the pro-governmental youth held rally in front of his house, his issue was discussed in the parliament of Azerbaijan, MPs suggested to burn his books and to deprive him of citizenship and deport from Azerbaijan. Many people “blamed” Eylisli in his Armenian origin, etc. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev deprived him of personal pension and the title of National Writer, and accused him of “purposefully distorting the history of Azerbaijan” and “in distorting realities about history of Azerbaijan in an inappropriate way.”

The leader of the pro-governmental party ”Modern Musavat” Hafis Hajiyev announced that he would pay about 10 Euros to the one who will cut the ear of the writer. Only after the intervention of the media, the politician was “warned” by the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan about the illegality of such appeals.

The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Office in Baku condemned persecution of Eylisli in Azerbaijan and called on the authorities to fulfill their obligations.
Source: Panorama.am

#33 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

Turkish historian on Azeri `lynching campaign' against writer Aylisli

February 14, 2013 - 15:13 AMT


PanARMENIAN.Net - Azerbaijan has launched a lynching campaign against
writer Akram Aylisli, a Turkish historian said.

According to Taner Akcam, the author's life is in danger over
nationalist threat. `Dictator Aliyev's regime is taking every effort
to suppress protests, with Aylisli among his main targets.'

As the historian further noted, famous Turkish writers and human
rights protectors spoke in Aylisli's defence, among them: Ragıp
Zarakolu, Ahmet Kardam, Aydın Engin, Baskın Oran, Cengiz AlÄ?an, Ufuk
Uras, Zeynep Tanbay.

Akcam further accused Aliyev dynasty for 1990s' Armenian pogroms in
Azerbaijan. `Akcam's `Stone Dreams' tells the truth about the events
which occurred both long ago and in the recent past,' Sesonline quoted
the historian as saying.

#34 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

EurasiaNet.org, NY
Feb 14 2013


Azerbaijan: Writer Buckling Under Strain of Literary Controversy

February 14, 2013 - 2:00pm, by Shahin Abbasov


The furor that erupted over his unconventional take on Azerbaijan in
the early 1990s is taking a toll on writer Akram Aylisli.

Aylisli's latest work, titled `Stone Dreams,' shuns a nationalist
viewpoint on events, in particular the conflict between Azerbaijan and
Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, offering instead a
generally sympathetic portrayal of Armenians. Its publication last
December has touched off a full-throttle hate campaign against
Aylisli, a campaign somewhat reminiscent of that unleashed against
Salman Rushdie following the 1988 release Satanic Verses. Aylisli,
along with family members, have been subjected to official
retribution. And, in the most notorious instance of hate-mongering,
Hafiz Haciyev, head of the pro-government Muasir Musavat Party,
offered a 10,000 manat (roughly $12,000) bounty to anyone who cut off
the author's ear.

In a February 13 interview with EurasiaNet.org, Aylisli, appearing
exhausted and jittery, said that the harassment, which he described as
the most difficult experience in his life, is forcing him to consider
leaving Azerbaijan. The police, he added, have taken no measures to
protect his family or him from possible physical attacks.

`I do not want to leave Azerbaijan. I am 75,' he explained. `I didn't
decide yet, but it looks like I will have to ask for political asylum
abroad. It is sad.'

Aylisli's case has raised the question of whether a country like
Azerbaijan is capable of reconciling sensitive episodes in its history
with a constitutional guarantee for freedom of speech. For many in
Azerbaijan, the answer appears to be no. But some aren't willing to
sacrifice free speech at the altar of national pride.

While few agree with Aylisli's negative group portrayal, in which
ethnic Azeris harshly treat ethnic Armenians in Baku during the
Karabakh conflict, local human-rights activists, representatives of
opposition parties and ordinary social-network users are speaking out
strongly against the anti-Aylisli campaign.

Staging fake funerals for Aylisli's books, burning his works, banning
his plays and urging people to cut off his ear `is not less harmful
for the country' than the novel's `deceitful lampoon' of Azerbaijan's
past, argued popular detective writer Chingiz Abdullayev, president of
the Azerbaijani PEN-Club. `People should not behave this way,' he
added.

A small group of young Azerbaijani writers rallied in support of
Aylisli on February 3 to reaffirm his constitutional right to write
what he wants, no matter what it may be. `No one can impose a ban on a
writer, pressure him,' commented 27-year-old writer Gunel Movlud. `It
is censorship otherwise.'

The 2012 extradition to Azerbaijan and subsequent official pardon of
Lt. Ramil Safarov for the murder of an Armenian army officer in
Hungary was the event that pushed Aylisli to publish his novel, which,
he said, contains stories `based on real life.'

`When I saw the crazy reaction and the artificial fueling of hatred
between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, which went beyond any borders, I
decided to publish my novel,' he said.


A writer, he insisted, has the right to express his thoughts in his
novels without their being considered a traitor.

But President Ilham Aliyev has treated him as just that. Adding fuel
to the hate-campaign, the president stripped Aylisli of the title of
`people's writer,' and of his pension. Meanwhile, Aylisli's son, Najaf
Naibov, was fired from a senior position in the State Customs
Committee, and his wife, Galina, was dismissed as the head of a
children's public library.

Various members of parliament have lambasted Aylisli's work as
treasonous and have called for him to be stripped of his citizenship
-- even though the Azerbaijani constitution bars such a measure.
Others go still further. `Some MPs accuse me of being an `Armenian,''
Aylisli recounted. `Is it a crime to be Armenian? It is racism.'

On February 13, Sheikh-ul-Islam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade, head of
the Caucasus Muslims Office, a government ally, tossed another dart by
denouncing Aylisli as an `infidel.'

The fact that the campaign against Aylisli gained steam only in recent
weeks -- over a month after Stone Dreams appeared in the December 2012
issue of the Russian-language literary journal Druzhba Narodov - leads
some Baku observers to believe that it is intended to distract popular
attention from recent, violent protests in Baku and the regional town
of Ismayilli.

A few suggest official displeasure is rooted in Aylisli's less than
flattering depiction of Heydar Aliyev, the incumbent leader's deceased
father. Officially, Heydar Aliyev is venerated as the chief architect
of independent Azerbaijan. `Stone Dreams' features the late president,
who headed Azerbaijan's Communist Party for nearly 20 years during the
late Soviet era, but refers to him only as `the master.'

Regardless of whether Aylisli remains in Azerbaijan or leaves, more
controversy could be in the works. Stone Dreams is part of an
envisioned trilogy, the first installment, titled Yemen, was published
in 1990. The last installment, tentatively titled Big Traffic Jam,
hasn't been officially published. But Aylisli, seeking feedback, has
distributed a limited number of drafts in Baku among friends and
colleagues. He declined to discuss the novel's focus, but reiterated
his intent to publish it. A person who has seen a draft told
EurasiaNet.org that the story examines `crimes' allegedly committed
during the 1993-2003 presidency of Heydar Aliyev.


Publication of a clear-cut denunciation of the elder Aliyev could pose
an even more severe free-speech test for Azerbaijan than that
generated by Stone Dreams. One literary son of the Caucasus, the
bestselling Russia-based author Boris Akunin, had some words of
advice. `[M]y dear Azerbaijanis,' he wrote in his blog, `Don't you
know that the state ... cannot win in a war with a writer?'


Editor's note: Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/66556

#35 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

13:16 19/02/2013 » Society
Murderer Ramil Safarov's glorification campaign pushed Ekren Eylisli to publish novel about massacres of Armenians in Azerbaijan


“When I first read that Eylisli was stripped of his rank of national writer and presidential pension, the long queue of those wishing to throw heavier rocks at 75-year-old writer appeared before my eyes at once,” Vitali Sharia writes in his article “Anti-Safarov, or issue of repentance," which was published in Echo of the Caucasus.

Touching upon the persecution of Azerbaijani writer Ekrem Eylisli carried out for his novel-requiem "Stone Dreams" the authors confesses that when he typed in a search engine the name of Eylisli, the situation immediately became obvious. There were both an action organized by the youth who "buried writer Ekram Eylisli’s books," carrying the books of the writer in a coffin, and the picket during which they burnt his portraits in front of his house. And in his native village Eylis the villagers burnt his books and demanded to kill him. And as the apotheosis of moral terror one of the community leaders promises to pay about 10,000 euros to the one who would cut off the ear of the aged writer. There were also numerous accusing publications in Azerbaijani media and indignant speeches in parliament.

“The statement released by the Writers' Union of Azerbaijan says that Ekrem Eylisli’s works caused righteous anger both within literary circles and the Azerbaijani people,” the author says.

In his article Vitali Sharia draws parallels with the persecution of Azerbaijani writer Ekrem Eylisli and events that were held about pardoning Ramil Safarov in Azerbaijan, who hacked to death a sleeping Armenian officer.

“A few months ago I was shocked, like many others, by the story when President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on pardoning Azerbaijani Ramil Safarov who had hacked to death a sleeping Armenian officer in 2004, in Budapest with whom he was passing training in the framework of the NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” program, and then a mass glorification campaign of the criminal was held throughout the country,” Sharia says.

The author notes that all this was beyond belief, and thus he got engaged in search for materials in the internet that would shed light on maximally all the circumstances of that criminal case and the arguments of those who sympathized Safarov.

“But the deeper I went, the more confused I became. It was natural to assume that such a heinous crime of Safarov was pushed by no less monstrous offence from the murdered, such an offence that he could not even wait until morning. (Though, in any case, killing a sleeping man is despicable and cowardly, not a manlike). But no, in fact, the only reasonable explanation, which was made immediately after the murderer was detained, was that the Armenian was smiling in meetings with him. Later some details appeared that seemed to me to be fictitious and designed by the advocate,” the article said.

According to the author, there is a possibility that the exaltation and glorification of Ramil Safarov in Azerbaijan finally pushed Ekrem Eylisli to publish his novel written in 2006-2007.

Russian political scientist Sergei Markedonov at the “Echo of the Caucasus touched upon the issue of persecution of Azerbaijani writer Ekrem Eylisli. He noted that the creativity of Baku in all that regards the "Armenian question" leaves much to be desired: “It would seem that it is a good reason to show that the government is not fighting against the Armenians, but the manifestations of separatism and radicalism. And stimulation of Aylisli could be a kind of positive message, no, not to Yerevan, but all the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. After all, official Baku calls them citizens of the Azerbaijani Republic. And about the officials recall the experience of living together when the time comes. However, there was no such a signal.”

Touching upon the issue of readiness to come to compromise with the other side, Markedonov noted that the artwork is not an armament race; there is no certain parity there. Books are not a machine or warheads production. “But it is necessary to describe the multi-dimensional reality, for all the wars and conflicts come to an end sooner or later. And such understanding is needed not to answer someone else, but to preserve their professional and civic reputation, which does not necessarily have to join together in a tough confrontation.”

Ekrem Eylisli is national writer (since 1998) and Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, holder of the highest order of Azerbaijan “Istiglal” (2002) and the order of “Shokhrat” for his outstanding merits in the literature of Azerbaijan. Recently, on the website of Russian magazine “Friendship of Nations” was published his novel titled “Stone Dreams” in which the author describes the massacres of Armenians in Baku in 1990 and in Nakhichevan in 1919. The author in his novel speaks positively about the Armenian people and their culture. The novel “Stone Dreams” also contains criticism over the former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and the tyranny of the system created by him.

After publication of the novel, Eylisli was exposed to severe pressures in Azerbaijan; the pro-governmental youth held rally in front of his house, his issue was discussed in the parliament of Azerbaijan, MPs suggested to burn his books and to deprive him of citizenship and deport from Azerbaijan. Many people “blamed” Eylisli in his Armenian origin, etc. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev deprived him of personal pension and the title of National Writer, and accused him of “purposefully distorting the history of Azerbaijan” and “in distorting realities about history of Azerbaijan in an inappropriate way.”

The leader of the pro-governmental party ”Modern Musavat” Hafis Hajiyev announced that he would pay about 10 Euros to the one who will cut the ear of the writer. Only after the intervention of the media, the politician was “warned” by the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan about the illegality of such appeals.

The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Office in Baku condemned persecution of Eylisli in Azerbaijan and called on the authorities to fulfill their obligations.
Source: Panorama.am

#36 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

Aylisli Controversy Reveals the True Face of Aliyev Regime

http://azerireport.c...=3879&Itemid=48
By Elmar Chakhtakhtinski

The controversy around the Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli's recently
published novel "Stone Dreams" came amidst increased political
tensions and social unrest in the country. And although it created a
socio-political storm of its own, the uncivilized and hateful
over-reaction to this book does not collectively represent the
Azerbaijani society. It only reveals the real character of the ruling
Aliyev regime and its minions, unmasking their intolerant, feudal and
reckless nature.

Delayed reaction

To be sure, Aylisli's work touches upon an extremely sensitive subject
of the still unresolved Karabakh war, with very deep and fresh wounds
on both sides. The book is focused on the horrors that befell the
Armenian victims of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ethnic conflict. However,
terrible atrocities had been committed on both sides. Many argue that
failing to mention thousands of Azerbaijanis massacred by Armenians
and the exile of about a million Azerbaijani refugees distorts the
real narrative. Aylisli's response was that as an Azerbaijani writer
he felt compelled to write about the suffering of Armenians and he
hopes that an Armenian author would write similarly about the tragic
fate of Azerbaijani victims.

Regardless of the author's intentions, one can understand why most
Azerbaijanis would strongly disagree with his one-sided portrayal of
the events and the historical background around them. The demeaning
words used by the novel's characters to describe the Azerbaijani
refugees and some other unkind references in the book do not help
either.

But to set the record straight: there was no real mass "grass-roots"
outrage over this book in Azerbaijan. It was published in December
2012 in a popular Russian literary magazine and largely went unnoticed
in Azerbaijan. Then came Azerbaijan's "hot January", with an
anti-government uprising in Ismayilli region, a violent economic
protest in capital Baku's Bina suburb and an unusually large rally in
downtown Baku organized by pro-democracy youth groups calling for an
end to killings and abuses of soldiers in the national army. Only
after all these events had shaken the governments control over the
situation, a mass campaign, clearly orchestrated by the authorities,
against Ekram Aylisli and his pro-Armenian book began in all of its
fury.

Orchestrated campaign

Consider the following facts:
- The party offering a $12,000 reward for cutting the writer's ear is
a well-known pro-government puppet group
- The country's corrupt dictator, Ilham Aliyev, has himself led the
public crusade against the author by issuing a decree that deprives
Aylisli from his highest state awards and a special presidential
pension
- The fascist remarks against the author, such as raising questions
about his ethnic identity, proposals to "check his DNA" to see if he
is an Armenian, calls to strip him of Azerbaijani citizenship and
deport to Armenia, were made by the ruling party's top officials and
its leading members in the parliament
- The authorities fired his wife and son from their state jobs after
the book was published
- It is the same state-controlled media, usually busy demonizing
dissidents and opposition activists and praising the ruling family
members, that now promotes hate and violence against the author
- All book burnings and `protest actions' calling for "death to
Aylisli" were organized by the ruling YAP party's youth movement and
other groups under the government's own patronage and sponsorship
- In Aylisli's own village, in Nakhchivan region, where the local
despot Talibov's henchmen prevent gathering of more than 3-4 people
for any unsanctioned events, the government had to bus in people from
other villages and towns to stage a "protest by the local residents"
against the author

All other demonstrations in Azerbaijan, calling for democracy,
freedom, human rights or simply expressing people's dissatisfaction
with the current conditions are always brutally attacked and dispersed
by the police and their participants are beaten, fined and jailed. But
these hateful government-sponsored rallies against the author met no
resistance from the security forces.

Without mentioning all of the above facts and without clearly showing
that all the stone-age, hate-filled responses to the novel are
invariably tied to and totally controlled by the ruling Aliyev regime,
any reporting on this issue would be incomplete and misleading.

Diversionary tactic

There is another, little more subtle but easily recognizable dimension
in this story: the state-sponsored campaign against the writer Akram
Aylisli is diversionary in its character. By stirring hatred around
the book, the government tries to distract attention from the biggest
real problem facing Azerbaijan - the ruling regime itself. Unable and
unwilling for twenty years to answer people's demands to end pervasive
corruption, respect basic freedoms and rights and provide minimal
levels of social justice, the government decided to divert the popular
anger towards the novel's author and the Karabakh issue it touches
upon.

Once again, it proves that the ruling regime in Azerbaijan, and
perhaps in Armenia, is not really interested in finding a solution to
the Karabakh conflict. Instead, they use it as a convenient excuse and
hide behind it when their trespasses and faults on all other fronts
become evident. This is done with such consistency that one even
wonders why would this government ever want the perfect cover of
`Karabakh problem', helping it to stay in power, go away?


Dangerously reckless

The disturbing conclusion is that to save its own power, the Aliyev
government seems ready to gamble with anything it holds in its hands.

Any responsible government seriously thinking about the peaceful
solution to the Karabakh issue, where Azerbaijanis and Armenians again
would have to live side-by-side as Azerbaijani citizens, would never
purposefully raise tensions to this degree and promote such level of
public ethnic hatred. That the anti-Aylisli campaign shatters any
hopes for a dialog and reconciliation, apparently, does not seem
bother the authorities at all. Neither do they seem to worry about
destroying the country's already poor international reputation by
pursuing their shameful and backward crusade against a fiction book.

Can such a reckless regime be trusted not to risk the renewal of
hostilities, if it sees the military adventure as the only way out of
a domestic revolution?

There is a dire need for a decent and responsible government in Baku
that is willing and capable to address the long-lasting issues facing
the nation, including the Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan needs a
leadership that is not pre-occupied with pillaging the country's
riches and that would not sacrifice the country's interests in order
to stay in power. For that, its citizens will have to free themselves
from this utterly corrupt, thoroughly repressive and, as Aylisli
affair revealed, disgustingly intolerant and intellectually barbaric
Aliyev dictatorship.

The Azerbaijani state propaganda machine and its Western apologists,
mainly consisting of lobbyists, paid "experts" and some sold-out
politicians and diplomats, have been for a long time selling a fake
image of the Aliyev regime as a "tolerant, pro-western, reliable US
ally'. The scandal around Aylisli's "Stone Dreams" blows into dust
this fairy-tale. Hopefully the US government and policymakers will
take a due notice.

E
lmar Chakhtakhtinski is a chairman of Azerbaijani-Americans for
Democracy (AZAD), a non-profit US organization promoting support for
democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan.

#37 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

KAMAL ALI: AFTER HITLER'S FALL AZERBAIJAN WAS THE FIRST COUNTRY TO HOLD MASS POLITICAL ACTION OF BURNING BOOKS

http://www.panorama..../19/qyamal-ali/
19:10 19/02/2013 " SOCIETY

After many years of Hitler's overthrow, Azerbaijan was the first and
the second country to implement mass political burnings of books in
Europe. First was held in Baku and the second in Eylisli's village,
in Nakhichevan, the Kamal Ali says in the article published in
Azerbaijani news agency "Turan".

"In any case, I do not know other bonfires of books," well known
historian Aydin Balaev raises the theme of book bonfires in his
article, "Further developments in Germany came to confirm Heinrich
Heine's correctness, who even in 1821 warned that "the country that
burns books will burn also people." And soon concentration camps with
gas chambers appeared, where not books but human beings were burnt,"
the journal says.

He also notes that the U.S. State Department and the "Human Rights
Watch" made quite expected anti-Azerbaijani statements, and that they
should expect more political documents in that style.

The author notes that the saying "backhanded service" is not correct
in this case, because one doesn't need to be that smart to predict
catastrophic anti-literary campaigns. "The son, daughter and wife
of the writer were fired from work; the writer was deprived of his
awards and titles. They should finally calm down. But then the formal
anti-national actions went on which disgraced the state," he writes.

The author notes that Azerbaijan has no public executions. "But do
not hurry to present yourselves as civilized citizens because from
propagated media threats of mutilation till its implementation is
one step only," he writes.

"Perhaps, the initiators of anti-Azerbaijani hysteria that Azerbaijan
passes through today think that the only possible reaction towards the
undesirable novelist is cutting off his ears, revenging by punishing
the family members, depriving of religion, titles and prosecution,"
the publication says.

Kamal Ali mentioned that last week, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov said that "discussions around Ekrem Eylisli's book will
not blow to prestige of Azerbaijan."

"His words contain another message; the country's image has already
been blown, and now the government has another task to deny what
happened. Many publicists say that our country was harmed by the
smear campaign of the novel itself. I guess those who initiated this
campaign agree with this idea as well. Though, these people may have
other goals. However, they managed to divert public attention from
the pressing social problems caused by mass protests in the capital
and the provinces," the article said.

Ekrem Eylisli is national writer (since 1998) and Honored Artist
of Azerbaijan, holder of the highest order of Azerbaijan "Istiglal"
(2002) and the order of "Shokhrat" for his outstanding merits in the
literature of Azerbaijan. Recently, on the website of Russian magazine
"Friendship of Nations" was published his novel titled "Stone Dreams"
in which the author describes the massacres of Armenians in Baku
in 1990 and in Nakhichevan in 1919. The author in his novel speaks
positively about the Armenian people and their culture. The novel
"Stone Dreams" also contains criticism over the former Azerbaijani
President Heydar Aliyev and the tyranny of the system created by him.

After publication of the novel, Eylisli was exposed to severe pressures
in Azerbaijan; the pro-governmental youth held rally in front of
his house, his issue was discussed in the parliament of Azerbaijan,
MPs suggested to burn his books and to deprive him of citizenship and
deport from Azerbaijan. Many people "blamed" Eylisli in his Armenian
origin, etc. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev deprived him of
personal pension and the title of National Writer, and accused him of
"purposefully distorting the history of Azerbaijan" and "in distorting
realities about history of Azerbaijan in an inappropriate way."

The leader of the pro-governmental party "Modern Musavat" Hafis Hajiyev
announced that he would pay about 10 Euros to the one who will cut
the ear of the writer. Only after the intervention of the media,
the politician was "warned" by the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan
about the illegality of such appeals.

The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Office in Baku condemned
persecution of Eylisli in Azerbaijan and called on the authorities
to fulfill their obligations.

#38 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:11 AM

16:49 21/02/2013 » Society
‘‘Yeni Musavat’’: Ekrem Eylisli was to be recognized as mentally incompetent for his ‘‘malicious’’ novel


Azerbaijani oppositional newspaper "Yeni Musavat" published a scandalous analytical article “Two serious mistakes of authorities made in Eylisli’s case”, which within a few hours provoked a new resonance and was removed from the website of the newspaper.

“Can Eylisli live in Azerbaijan under such psychological pressure, safely walk in the city or drive to his native town Eylis?,” the newspaper says and notes that the authorities have put themselves and their people in a problematic situation in front of the world community and Armenians by their propaganda.

It is noted that in Eylisli’s case the Azerbaijani authorities had made two serious mistakes. Firstly, the government was to have the writer up on the mat and explain the fallacy of his disposition. “The government was to persuade the writer in a harsh manner to refuse his own work. It’s strange how could a “creative person" with such a malicious mindset be able to stay out of the attention of the state.” This is the power that controls even the personal records of the oppositionists. This is the major fault of the authorities in “Aylisli’s” case,” the newspaper said.

Secondly, the article notes that the second serious mistake of the authorities was that they didn’t inflate the theme of malicious novelist being mentally ill. "The government was to act logically and to establish an independent medical commission in order to create a view on Eylisli’s mental condition… May be it’s not that late yet…” the newspaper writes, hinting at the necessity of giving Ekrem Eylisli certificates of being mentally incompetent.

In this regard, the newspaper Bizim Yol notes that the article has been removed from the site on the same day and chief editor Rauf Arifoglu said that it does not reflect the views of the editorial. The newspaper quotes writer Seymour Baijan, who has commented on the scandal about the article in Yeni Musavat.

“In fact, the campaign against Eylisli didn’t start with of his novel “Stone Dreams”, but because of his book “The Great jam.”
Some say that the persecution began to draw the attentions. The others say that it is all done for the presenting the Azerbaijanis barbarians in the international arena, who burn books, cut ears of the writers. In this very way they want to show that “this people do not need democracy,” but a “strong hand.” Everything is possible. As for the article of “Yeni Musavat”, it turns out that a commission may be formed because of any unfavorable article, declare man insane and close the issue,” the writer stated.
Ekrem Eylisli is national writer (since 1998) and Honored Artist of Azerbaijan, holder of the highest order of Azerbaijan “Istiglal” (2002) and the order of “Shokhrat” for his outstanding merits in the literature of Azerbaijan. Recently, on the website of Russian magazine “Friendship of Nations” was published his novel titled “Stone Dreams” in which the author describes the massacres of Armenians in Baku in 1990 and in Nakhichevan in 1919. The author in his novel speaks positively about the Armenian people and their culture. The novel “Stone Dreams” also contains criticism over the former Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and the tyranny of the system created by him.

After publication of the novel, Eylisli was exposed to severe pressures in Azerbaijan; the pro-governmental youth held rally in front of his house, his issue was discussed in the parliament of Azerbaijan, MPs suggested to burn his books and to deprive him of citizenship and deport from Azerbaijan. Many people “blamed” Eylisli in his Armenian origin, etc. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev deprived him of personal pension and the title of National Writer, and accused him of “purposefully distorting the history of Azerbaijan” and “in distorting realities about history of Azerbaijan in an inappropriate way.”

The leader of the pro-governmental party ”Modern Musavat” Hafis Hajiyev announced that he would pay about 10 Euros to the one who will cut the ear of the writer. Only after the intervention of the media, the politician was “warned” by the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan about the illegality of such appeals.

The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Office in Baku condemned persecution of Eylisli in Azerbaijan and called on the authorities to fulfill their obligations.
Source: Panorama.am

#39 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:51 AM

TURKEY HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS TO ALIYEV: END LYNCHING CAMPAIGN!

February 20, 2013

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)-Four Turkish human rights and anti-racism
groups sent a letter to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
urging him "to urgently put an end to the lynching campaign against
Ekrem Eylisli" for his positive portrayal of Armenians.

Ekrem Eylisli The Armenian Weekly publishes the text of the letter
in full.

***

Mr. Ä°lham Aliyev

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan

Dear Mr. President,

We, the defenders of human rights in Turkey and supporters of fight
against racism, nationalism, and hatred, are appalled by and deeply
concerned with the aggressive campaign and threats of violence
against the writer Ekrem Eylisli in your country. The only crime
committed by your fellow citizen Ekrem Eylisli, whose security is
your responsibility, is to have defended in his recent novel the
solidarity of peoples.

As the Human Rights Watch has declared in its global press release,
Eylisli has been targeted with an increasingly aggressive campaign of
enmity and defamation, further endorsed by official spokespersons and
the media, only because he has written a novel in which he has chosen
not to represent Armenians as an object of hatred. Since January 31st,
the said transgressions have included protests in front of his house,
insults and threats, and book-burning.

Notorious for her racist views, member of Azerbaijani parliament
Melahat İbrahimkızı has accused Eylisli of offending not only
Azerbaijan but the entire Turkish nation, thus sending a message to
Turkey and provoking the same campaign of hatred against Armenians
in Turkey.

Eylisli's family too has been subjected to retribution: His son
Necep Naibov, employed by the Ministry of Customs, and his wife
Galina Alexandrova, a library director, have been dismissed without
just cause.

The lynching campaign has reached its peak with the pro-government
Moderna Musavat Party leaders putting a reward of ten thousand Manat
on Ekrem Eylisli's ears.

And you, Mr. President, in your capacity as the higher most leader
of the state of Azerbaijan, have endorsed and even encouraged threats
against Eylisli's life by signing the presidential decree on Eylisli's
divestiture of the title "Writer of the People" and on the termination
of his entitlement to pension.

We are the defenders of human rights and opponents of racism,
discrimination, and hate in a country where, throughout its history,
writers have fallen prey to unsolved cases of murder, or left to
rot in prison. Ours is a country where those who express diverse
views remain under constant threat. We know well how the racist,
nationalist, and discriminatory state politics have driven the masses
to the streets and turned individuals into murderers, even of their
own neighbors. We have lost many in such attacks, but we also bear
witness to the fact that the people will not be silenced by oppression.

At the same time, we have seen firsthand how your state and the rulers
of the Republic of Turkey have joined endeavors in inciting enmity
among their peoples against Armenians. The hateful slogans against
Armenians in the "Hocalı Protest" in Taksim Square, Istanbul, are
still ringing in our ears; the banners bearing the words "You are
all Armenians, you are all bastards" are still before our eyes. As
a result of our opposition, those carrying these banners have been
charged and indicted. For us, the defenders of rights and opponents
of racial hatred in Turkey, opposing enmity against Armenians and
diverse ethnic and religious identities is a foremost duty.

As the proponents and defenders of peace, democracy, and justice,
of solidarity of the peoples and equal coexistence, we invite you, Mr.

President, to use your office and enlist all your subordinates to
urgently put an end to the lynching campaign against Ekrem Eylisli.

Leaders who have incited peoples to transgressions of racist hatred,
who have condoned such transgressions or turned a blind eye to them,
have come to be known in history as a disgrace, whereas the memory
of those who strive for peace will forever live to honor humanity.

HELSINKI CITIZENS ASSOCIATION

SAY STOP TO RACISIM AND NATIONALISM INITIATIVE

HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION TURKEY

ASSOCIATION FOR FACING HISTORY

#40 Yervant1

Yervant1

    The True North!

  • Super Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,265 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:48 PM

AZERBAIJANI NOVELIST VILIFIED FOR HIS CALL FOR RECONCILIATION

Los Angeles Times
Feb 19 2013

Angry mobs have threatened Akram Aylisli and burned his books because
his latest novel, 'Stone Dreams,' calls for compassion for Armenians.

By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times

February 19, 2013, 6:49 p.m.

MOSCOW - His books were burned by a mob in Azerbaijan's second-largest
city. His wife and son have lost their jobs. A crowd in a small town
demanded that his blood be tested to establish his true ethnicity. The
nation's president stripped him of his honorary title as "the People's
Writer." And an infuriated mob under his window made threats against
his life and told him to leave the country.

Akram Aylisli, 75, says the treatment he has received since publication
of the Russian translation of his latest book, "Stone Dreams," defies
even his own literary imagination.

The book describes outbreaks of ethnic violence in Azerbaijan, then a
Soviet republic, in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Subsequently,
at least 30,000 ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis died in four years
of fighting over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, where
Armenian troops are still stationed.

"My book has nothing to do with politics," Aylisli said in a phone
interview from his home in Baku, the capital. "It simply calls upon
both Armenians and Azerbaijanis to repent for their past sins and
try to turn over a new leaf in the history of their centuries-old
relationship."

Instead, since the Russian translation of the book was carried in
the December issue of the Friendship of Peoples journal - published
in Moscow - Aylisli's life has been a living hell.

On Feb. 7, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued two decrees
stripping the author of the honorary title of the People's Writer,
awarded in 1998. He also deprived Aylisli of a monthly stipend of
about $1,270.

"In this novel written in a style alien to the spirit of our people,
the author tries to form an anti-humane image of the Azerbaijani people
and unjustifiably to blame them for acts contradictory to universal
human values, distorting the essence of the Armenian-Azerbaijani
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, painting black our distant and recent past,"
says one of the decrees.

A Russian literary editor said he doubted that Aliyev and protesting
Azerbaijanis had even read the book.

"This book in a most humane way tries to study the nature of such an
ugly phenomenon as inter-ethnic hatred and certainly possesses none
of the qualities attributed to it in Aliyev's decree," said Leonid
Bakhnov, head of the prose department at the Russian journal.

"The whole story with Aylisli reminds me of the harassment campaign
against [Russian Nobel laureate Boris] Pasternak in the late 1950s,
when thousands of people who had never even seen a single paragraph
from 'Doctor Zhivago' published abroad were made to come out and
publicly condemn it."

Aylisli said that his son Najaf, a senior customs officer, was
pressured into quitting his job on Feb. 4. The next day, the writer's
wife, Galina, was forced to leave her longtime position as a library
director.

Dozens of residents of Aylisli's hometown, Aylis, the main setting
for the book, were shown on television denouncing the author and
demanding that his blood be tested. Within days, a mob in the main
square of Ganja burned hundreds of volumes of Aylisli's books.

Then in Baku, the head of the pro-presidential Modern Musavat Party
confirmed that he had offered the equivalent of $12,700 to anyone who
cut off the author's ear. The party "decided that any punishment will
be insufficient for Aylisli; that is why it is necessary to cut off
his ear," the politician told the Turan news agency.

"I feel like a victim of Stalinist trials, and frankly I am afraid to
venture out the door these days," Aylisli said. "They stand outside
my window and scream at the top of their throats that I am a traitor
and that I must die or leave the country."

Leila Yunus, director of the Institute of Peace and Democracy,
a Baku-based think tank, said the anger had been whipped up by
authorities to deflect attention from the country's problems.

"In the course of the recent months we have seen many mass rallies
across the country protesting against corruption and lack of democracy
and demanding President Aliyev's resignation," she said in a phone
interview. "Aylisli was chosen by the authorities as a new enemy of
the people to confuse protesters and make them vent some of their
accumulated anger and frustration on the innocent author."

Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights
Watch, said in a statement on the group's website that instead of
protecting the author, the Azerbaijani government had "led the effort
to intimidate him, putting him at risk with a campaign of vicious
smears and hostile rhetoric."

In "Stone Dreams," Aylisli calls on his compatriots to have compassion
for Armenians, given the hardship they have suffered over the
centuries.

"If a single candle were lighted for every murdered Armenian, the light
from these candles would be brighter than that of the moon," says
a key character in the novel. "This nation was tired and exhausted
from the violence but they never stopped building their churches,
writing their books and raising arms to heaven appealing to their God."

"
Apparently his call was heard but grossly misinterpreted," editor
Bakhnov said. "But nevertheless, one day they will be obligated to
erect a monument for him."

http://www.latimes.c...0,5700620.story




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users