Azerbaijan International

Summer 1994 (2.2)
Pages 2-3, 56

Boutros-Boutros Ghali Sees Refugee Issue of AI

The following letter was written to Azerbaijan's Chargé d'Affaires to the UN, Mr. Yashar Aliyev.

The Secretary General has asked me to thank you for your letter of February 1. He was interested to receive the copy of Azerbaijan International and appreciated your kind words about the work of the UN in Azerbaijan. Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.

Jean-Claude Aimé

Chief of Staff
UN Executive Office
of the Secretary General
New York
February 14, 1994

Marvel at Azerbaijan's ability to cope

After having had more time to read the Winter 1994 issue, I am moved to congratulate you for producing such a first-rate magazine. It is not only visually most attractive, it is a rich source of information about the different facets of Azerbaijan.

I am particularly gratified that this issue focuses on the refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan. In my frequent contacts with innumerable victims of the conflict, I have always marveled at how well the Azerbaijanis have coped with the hardship and suffering they are facing.

While they have often said that they did not want to receive assistance from others, they have always expressed their gratitude to the international community for caring. Considering the magnitude of the problem, the country has shown a remarkable capacity to prevent the situation from becoming a tragedy such as one sees elsewhere.

UNHCR spearheaded the effort to assist the victims of the conflict and it is most heartening that more and more organizations, particularly private voluntary organizations, are also responding. I am sure that those who provide us with the means will be pleased to know their generosity is very much appreciated.

Once again, my congratulations to you and your colleagues for producing this high quality magazine and portraying the refugee story in such an imaginative fashion.

Kaiser Zaman
Head of UNHCR Liaison Office
February 25, 1994

Azerbaijanis Are Not Alone

Let me express my gratitude to you and all those who work with you for everything you are doing . Your magazine is very important for all of us. There are no words to describe what I felt when I saw it for the first time. Not only does Azerbaijan International tell the world about Azerbaijan, but it also demonstrates that the Azerbaijani people are not alone-reassurance that we all need so much. Being Azeri not only means sharing the pain and tragedy that those in the Republic are experiencing but also feeling pride, support and warmth from our compatriots. Thank you again for your role and best wishes for the upcoming Noruz!

Elin Suleymanov
Toledo, OH
March 10, 1994

Impressed by Absence of Hatred Against Armenians

I'd like to compliment you on the excellent quality of you publication and its continuous improvement with each new issue.

I was particularly impressed by the civility and temperance of your articles and the absence of hatred by the writers towards the Armenian people or any other ethnic group.

Obviously, there are many Azerbaijanis and Armenians who hate each other, even to the point of being ready to even kill each other. Such actions took place in the late 1980s and, no doubt, are continuing in the fighting zones in the western part of Azerbaijan.

Of course, it is possible to incite ignorant sectors of a population in any country, or even among highly educated civilized people who have suffered the killing or wounding of a friend or a family member by the "enemy". Unfortunately, most of the time, the victims of the revenge which follows are usually innocent, blameless people.

I have many Azerbaijani friends, as well as Armenian, Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, Kabardian, and Ajarian friends. I have visited my friends in the Caucasus several times, including those in the beautiful city of Baku. I have never met more hospitable, generous, kind, and loving people than the Caucasians.

For many generations they all lived in harmony and, of course, in many cases even intermarried. I hope the day is not far-off when peace will return to the Caucasus, and the wounds left by these terrible and useless wars will heal.

Best wishes and continued success with your beautiful publication.

Alex Gabriles
February 7, 1994
Houston, Texas
Secretary of the Houston-Baku
Sister Cities Association
and Member of the Association
since its founding in 1978

We're Counting on Journalists

Thank you for your last issue about our lives as refugees. I thank you on behalf of the entire Karabakh population. I can't believe that Americans have such deep respect for the people of Azerbaijan. You know, we have suffered so much from the atrocities of the Armenians that we didn't expect any help from any foreign countries. We didn't even believe God could help us.

We're really counting on you. Maybe you journalists can let the world know about all the Armenian brutality we're suffering. Must Azerbaijanis continue fleeing their homes? Must Azeri women always weep? When will we be able to return to our homes? Shouldn't our children be able to grow up under decent conditions? Shouldn't they be able to study and become educated like other children?

How long will we live in the forest under the trees? You saw for yourself the conditions under which we are living. There is not a single convenience here. We have no work; we have no money. How can we live here? Are we not also human beings?

Our lands have been occupied. The number of refugees continues to grow, and nobody seems interested in our condition to take care of us.

How kind that you came and gave us consolation. How wonderful that there are such sincere people on earth. Thank you very much for sharing our troubles. I admire your initiative and wish you success with your magazine. I hope in the near future that you'll not have to write about refugees deprived of everything, but that you'll be able to write about normal people who have returned to their places enjoying a normal life.

Rana Huseinova
Living in the forests near Barda
(Faxed from Baku via medical team)

Spellings of Azeri Names
"Qarabag" or "Karabakh"?

I would like to thank all of your staff for their work in preparing a new light and helping join the nation of Azerbaijanis with friends all over the world.

I've just read your Winter 1994 issue all the way through and am wondering if anyone is concerned about the transliterations and translations of some of the names, e.g., in Azeri, "Qarabagh" and means "qara"-"black" and "bagh" means "garden", in other words, 'Black Garden." The spelling, "Karabakh", in Azeri doesn't make sense as the imperative form of the verb, "bakh" is "bakhmaq", meaning "to look".

I would like "my" magazine (if I may refer to it this way) to reflect something real and authentic in terms of the spellings, as well as supply the literal translations, e.g., "Nagorno Karabagh" (High, Black Garden).

Y. Fabriki
Sociedad de Amigos de Azerbaiyan
Madrid, Spain
February 11, 1994

Editor: You've touched on a very complex issue. Publications related to the Newly Independent Republics (NIS) are all complaining about the spelling of indigenous names of their regions as so many have not yet been standardized and are entering English via Russian or some other language. Azerbaijani names are no exception.

Our Azeri Editor has been concerned about this problem from the beginning. At present, our position basically is this: (1) For names which, somehow, are in fairly widespread use (usually those related to the Azerbaijani / Armenian war), we take our cues from the standard set by publishing giants such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc, even though their spellings may be "wrong" as you have pointed out with "Karabakh" / "Qarabagh". (2) With other names less familiar in the English language, we try to reflect the Azerbaijani language as spoken in the Republic as closely and as directly as possible so they will continue to reflect their etymological roots.

Our magazine is having considerable influence far beyond the Azerbaijani community. Therefore, we feel it is more important not to confuse our English readers by introducing spellings with which they may not be familiar (though the Azeri reader might feel slightly more comfortable). We would rather succeed in "communicating" the major issues to our readers who are new to the region than in "purifying" the spelling.

Otherwise, we would have an immense job on our hands, beginning with the spelling of "Azerbaijan" which should more accurately be written in English as "Azarbaijan". You might note that with all the lobbying that the Armenians have done in the US in regard to the region over which the entire conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began and which they have since renamed "Arsakh", the Western world still refers to that area as "Nagorno-Karabakh."

From Azerbaijan International (2.2) Summer 1994.
© Azerbaijan International 1994. All rights reserved.

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