Azerbaijan International

Winter 1995 (3.4)
Pages 2-3, 90

Concerned For Metro Victims
I was driving to work this morning when I heard the tragic news of the subway explosion in Baku. I said to myself, I know where Baku is, I know a few Azerbaijanis. So I wanted to write and say how sorry I was. People have come up to me all day and asked if I had heard if any one from the Special Olympics Team had been involved in the accident. This event is more than statistics from a far-away land to us in Derby since we made friends with Azerbaijanis this year.

There is nothing that can be said to ease the burden of pain that they are now feeling in Baku. I just wanted you to know that people have been concerned about this tragedy and send their prayers to the families of those in this accident and those who died.

Markanthony Izzo
Derby, Connecticut
October 30, 1995

Editor's Note: Izzo is the author / photographer of the article, "Special Olympics", published in Autumn 1995. He is an Alderman for the town of Derby which hosted Azerbaijan's Special Olympic Team for four days prior to the World Games in July.

So Little Research Available
I am pursuing a Master's degree in International Affairs at Columbia University (New York City) and am currently working on an extensive research project concerning the foreign and defense policies of Azerbaijan. Your publication has been extraordinarily helpful not only in providing insights into the complex political and military situation of modern day Azerbaijan, but also in detailing the rich history and culture of the nation.

Scholarship regarding Azerbaijan has been scarce in the U.S. and your magazine contains a wealth of information that has been unavailable elsewhere. Thankfully, Columbia University has a subscription.

My interest in Azerbaijan stems from my work as a teacher for the Close-Up Foundation in Washington, D.C., in 1994-95. On a grant from USIA (United States Information Agency), I taught political science and international relations to students from the Newly Independent States (NIS). Meeting students from Azerbaijan greatly enriched my knowledge of the culture and people and has led me to study Azerbaijan at Columbia.

Joshua Lockwood
New York City
November 15, 1995

Toy Joy
The article, "Children's Games Build Bridges" was so touching! We live in California, a state whose GNP (Gross National Product) ranks 10th in the world economies making our state as wealthy as an independent country. Our four-year old son, Kent, is a major beneficiary of this affluence. His bedroom and our family room are neither large enough to hold all his toys and now he has staked out more territory-our garage! We became apprehensive at the sight of a burgeoning "Toys 'R Us" (big toy store chain) and constantly muttered, "Some day, we'll pack this stuff into boxes and give it to kids who'll appreciate it."

Well, that day has finally arrived. I did not anticipate, however, that I would be shipping boxes to Azerbaijan but I don't know of any kids who deserve them more. They have nothing and there's hardly anyone to lobby for their welfare.

Could you please give me the address of the International Women's Club (IWC) so we can ship these toys to them for distribution to the various orphanages. And do you know of any companies that ship regularly to Azerbaijan and would donate the freight costs which we could then pass on so IWC can buy medicine and clothing for the children? Thanks.

Love your magazine! It's great learning about cultures that are new to us and so rich in history.

Juliana M. Kirlikovali
Irvine, CA
September 22, 1995

Editor's Note: We put the Kirlikovali Family in contact with Caroline Adams in Baku who helps coordinate the international women's program. The easiest way to reach her is by Fax: (99412) 988494 at AIOC (Azerbaijan International Operating Company). Here is Caroline Adam's description of what developed with the toys.

Dear Kent,
Your baby toys arrived in Baku on my birthday and we were quite simply overwhelmed by such a large magnificent gift-the nicest present anyone could have received because it will give such happiness and joy to many children in Baku. The kids-nearly 160 of them-range from babies to ten-year-olds. Many are your own age. We are giving the cuddly toys to the babies and will share the others among the older children. They know some of the names of animals in English now and, like you, love to play with airplanes, cars, robots, and building blocks. What fun they'll have riding the tricycle and playing on the seesaw.

It's very cold here now but the kids can play with the toys in their schoolroom. The winters are cold in Azerbaijan with snow on the mountains, but the summers are very warm and the children go outside to play in the garden. They'll be able to put up the tent you gave them and pretend to go camping!

This present of your toys will make the kids in Baku so very happy, especially at this time of year which is so special for children all over the world-Christmas. We all say a big "Chokh sagh ol" ("Thank you very much" in Azeri) to you, your mother and father, to all at Murphy International both in Houston and Baku, and to the ladies of the International Women's Club in Baku.

Caroline Adams, Baku
November 27, 1995

Media Bias
I want to congratulate your entire staff on your definite accomplishment in publishing Azerbaijan International which has successfully combined professional journalism with quality printing. But the greatest value of this magazine is that is the only reliable source of objective information about Azerbaijan in this part of the world where the media routinely ignores fairness to please powerful interest groups. This is especially true in the case of Azerbaijan. Because organized active Azeri communities are almost non-existent in the USA and Canada, it is easy to spread misinformation and bias about Azerbaijan. Your magazine provides a unique opportunity for North American readers to catch a real glimpse of Azerbaijan and its people. Thanks.

Massoud Aliyev
Producer of "Tele-Azerbaijan"
Bi-monthly TV Program
Montreal, Quebec
November 19, 1995

University Students in Baku
I'm an Azerbaijani college student who has always wished for the day when I would get to meet international students. Recently, two students from Oxford University in the U.K. came to Azerbaijan on a university exchange program. I was delighted that both of them could stay in my home.

It wasn't easy especially for Sarah to get to come to my country. Her parents were very concerned about the war. Because of her persistence, her parents asked British government officials who assured her that peaceful conditions had returned to Azerbaijan via a long-term cease-fire and sincere negotiations.

Music was central to our bonding. Not only did we play musical instruments and sing together, but we had so many favorites in common. They were surprised that I knew Stevie Wonder, Sting, Brian Adams, Whitney Houston and groups like "Seal" and "Take That!". And movies? We all knew "The Bodyguard", "Dances with Wolves", "Top Gun", "Jane Eyre", and "A River Runs Through It".

While they were here, they attended a full array of classes at Khazar University including foreign languages, medicine, economics, business management, computer science, accounting, journalism, engineering and humanities. They didn't know how serious Azerbaijani students are about speaking English. Of course, some of us speak with a British accent while others sound more like Americans.

The highlight of the week came when our students organized a party for them on the eve of their departure. That's when Sarah played one of our favorite national melodies, "Uzuyumun Gashi" by Tofig Guliyev on her violin. She had practiced every day to be able to play it. And we loved her for it. During that week, these two guests were transformed into family members. Our experience together was beyond any childhood dream!

Dilara Nassirova, Baku
October 1, 1995

From Azerbaijan International (3.4) Winter 1995.
© Azerbaijan International 1995. All rights reserved.

Back to Index AI 3.4 (Winter 1995)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us