Autumn 1995 (3.3)
Pages 2-3, 71
A Great Man - Ibrahimbeyov
I always look forward to receiving your excellent magazine. In my opinion, the Summer 1995 issue is the best yet. Your publications' openness and balance is admirable.
I was particularly impressed with the article, "First Film Oscar for Azerbaijan: Interview with Screenwriter, Rustam Ibrahimbeyov". I recently had the opportunity to see this materpiece, "Burnt by the Sun". And now, through your magazine, I've had a chance to learn something about this talented, very civilized screenwriter. From the interview, I see an honest, wise, and reasonable human being of great depth. Thanks for publishing such a fascinating interview.
May 27, 1995
Fine Addition to our Collection
We were overjoyed to learn that you are publishing such a journal as "Azerbaijan International". The Central Scientific Library of the Academy of Sciences in Azerbaijan is one of the largest libraries of our Republic with 40,000 readers. We're very pleased to add your publication to our collection.
T. Sadigova, Director
Central Scientific Library
Azerbaijan Academy of Science Baku
(Mailed April, received June)
Unknown to American Press
I'm always amazed at how invisible Azerbaijan is in the American press. Your magazine sheds light on decisions and events of global importance that are rooted in Azerbaijan. The wider your circulation the better, in my opinion, so that more myopic North Americans can begin to open their eyes.
Due to the Persian Gulf War, countries such as Kuwait, Iraq and others in the Middle East have become more familiar to us. Wouldn't it be better for our media to help us increase our understanding without having to fight wars?
Your articles build a connection historically between the past and present with intelligence and style. They geographically link Asia with Europe via a country at the crossroads. I look forward to reading more.
July 23, 1995
More News About the Region
I congratulate you for publishing such a needed and professional magazine. Whenever I receive it, I put aside all other activities and immediately read most of it. This, despite the fact, that I procrastinate and postpone so many other things. In that regard, I'd like to make sure I have the entire set and am wondering if back copies can be ordered.
May I suggest that you add a section reviewing Azerbaijani-related news of Azerbaijan's neighbors (Iran, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, and Georgia). For example, I read in the Los Angeles Times that Armenia has banned all political parties. Although not explicitly related to Azerbaijan, this would have significant effect on Azerbaijan-Armenia relations. Another example is how the war in Chechnya has affected Azerbaijan. I wish you continuing success.
Woodland Hills, CA
August 1, 1995
Editor's Note: We're proud to say that, with this Autumn issue, we've published ten issues! Back issues may be ordered and are available in most cases (See prices on page 2). A few issues have become quite rare-Alphabet Transition (1:3), Refugees (2:1), and Environment (2:3). In such cases, priority for back copies is reserved for individuals and institutions trying to acquire the entire set. Thanks for your suggestions about new areas to explore. We welcome your ideas.
We inadvertently omitted the name of Mr. Vagif Agayev, as one of the authors of the article "World War II and Azerbaijan: 50th Anniversary of the Allied Victory of World War II" in our last issue. Mr. Agayev does research at Azerbaijan's National Archives and was responsible for disclosing the material related to Britain's and France's discussion to bomb Baku during World War II to prevent Hitler from gaining access to Azerbaijan's oil fields. This information has recently come to light for Azerbaijanis after being discovered in Soviet Archives in Moscow.
The Bet That Took Me to Baku
We've just returned from Baku. It's been the vacation of a lifetime for our family. Actually, the trip grew out of a simple bet that I made rather nonchalantly a year ago. Back then, my family was involved with entertaining some Azerbaijanis who had come to Houston to visit Exxon. Since we had had so much trouble communicating together when we didn't have access to a translator, I challenged one of the scientists, Sohrab (pronounced soh-RAB), to make a bet with me as to who could make the most progress in language studies-him or me. So we agreed and swore to find a way to meet in a year to determine the winner. Of course, I assumed all along that there were greater chances of his coming to Texas than of my family going to Baku. I never dreamed that the reverse might even be possible.
Since Azeri language materials are not yet very accessible here in the States, I decided to try Russian, and Sohrab promised to work on English. Naturally, I rushed right out and bought my first set of Russian language tapes, hoping that the title on the box was true, "Russian in 10 Minutes a Day". What a joke! Then came "All the Russian You Need in Seven Days." Same story. Slowly, it dawned on me that there is a huge difference between learning tourist phrases and actually trying to communicate. Not to be defeated, I plunged into another book, "Russian in 3 Months" (still an advertising gimmick) and supplemented my study by enrolling in classes twice a week at Exxon where I work. (Even then, deeply ingrained expectations of instant results disappointed me).
In the meantime, my family started writing Sohrab's family. With every letter, the challenge to learn the language grew with our friendship. I'll have to admit there were a few miscommunications along the way. We laugh at them now. For example, in one of the first letters his son, 16, expressed appreciation for my 17 year-old daughter's "hot words and kind wishes". Naturally, as a dutiful mother, I was curious as to what my daughter could possibly have written so early in the relationship. It turned out that "hot" was the nearest thing the young lad could find in the dictionary that meant, "warmest"!
By about December last year, our friends started asking when we would be coming to Baku. I tried to tell them we couldn't even begin to think about such a trip until summer when school was out for the kids. But to them, that meant "Yes, we're on our way!"
Let me just mention the odds against taking such a trip. In the 22 years that we've been married, my husband and I have taken exactly three vacations. The first two were within the same state that we lived-California, and the third was to "exotic" Orlando-everyone's favorite foreign kingdom-Disney World. To tell you the truth, taking a trip to Azerbaijan was like going to the moon!
But as time passed, dreams transformed into possibilities, and plans were laid for the big event. We had the choice of staying at the Hyatt or a room at the seaside, but our hosts would hear of neither. We were to stay at their flat, and they would see to every detail-a commitment they didn't take lightly. In fact, our hosts gave up their own bedroom and headed off to their mother's around the corner each night after we were settled in. To make a long story short, we had a wonderful time.
We've returned now after a three-week stay. Our photos are back. They're unlike any we've ever taken here at home. None show us at the local mall or fast food restaurants. None show us buying souvenirs. In fact, while we were there, we didn't even have time to think about souvenirs-no postcards, no bumper stickers boasting, "I climbed Maiden Tower and survived!"
But what we have brought back to Texas can neither be bought or sold. We've brought tons of happy memories. We've come with stories alive with friendships between families; memories of walking in footprints thousands of years old.
Perhaps, most significant of all, we've come back with the realization that an address is not what makes a home. We met people for the first time who made us feel as if we had always been the closest of family members.
Our photo album hasn't been shoved into a drawer, silently documenting the passage of time. There's never a day that we don't open it and pore over the memories. These pictures symbolize a new way of life in our home; they mark the connecting point in our lives between Baku and America.
And my husband, who used to have misgivings about even crossing the border between San Diego and Mexico because he was afraid no one would speak English, says he's ready to go back to Baku "at the drop of a pin".
P.S. I think Sohrab won the bet. His English is better than my Russian. But I'm able to communicate nonstop for several hours and I guess that counts for something!
August 14, 1995
From Azerbaijan International (3.3) Autumn 1995.
© Azerbaijan International 1995. All rights reserved.