Azerbaijan International

Autumn 1998 (6.3)



Both Azerbaijan and Iran have honored the famous poet Shahriyar (1907-1987), an Azerbaijani from Tabriz, Iran on their stamps. Shahriyar's most famous work is about a mountain next to his village known as "Heydar Baba" (1954, 1966). This work helped to revive the literary Azeri language in Southern Azerbaijan (See AI 1.3, 1993, "Remembering Shahriyar").

Click on one of the following names to go straight to that letter. Rahim Shahbazi
| Estelle Siers Gabel | Erik Andersson | Beture Mammadova | Fernand Stauffer | Javanshir Shibliyev | David J. Marks | Rostropovich

The following letter was printed in The Washington Post on Saturday, August 8, 1998.

Telling the Truth-Azerbaijan's Side, Too
Daniel Williams' news story of August 2 about Nagorno Karabakh in the Washington Post is unbalanced. He fails to report that Nagorno Karabakh is legally part of Azerbaijan, that it is surrounded by Azerbaijan and that its effort to declare itself independent is a secessionist movement. More important, he fails to report that prior to the outbreak of fighting, at least 25 percent of the population of Nagorno Karabakh was Azerbaijani. All these Azerbaijanis have been killed or driven out, or have fled for their lives.

Supported by their ethnic brethren in Armenia and by Russia and Iran, the Nagorno Karabakh separatists also have seized and still occupy chunks of Azerbaijan to the east, south and west of the enclave of Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijanis have been driven out of these areas as well. As a result, by U.S. State Department estimates, nearly 800,000 Azerbaijani refugees are living in camps and worse. They now constitute 10 percent of the population of Azerbaijan, the highest percentage of refugees of any country in the world.

There are at least two sides to this complicated conflict. No fair report should fail to include at least some semblance of the other side.

Hershel Shanks

"Don't Get Tired"
Salamlar, how are you? Yorulmayasan! This is a popular phrase all over Azerbaijan (both in the North and the South) that means "Don't get tired!" When you see someone working very hard for a specific cause, you can use this phrase in a complimentary sense. It's appropriate in the office or any other work place.

Just wanted to say "Yorulmayasan" for such great work and for your accomplishments for the lonely country on this planet, Azerbaijan.

By the way, the new Azerbaijani-English dictionary that I ordered from you is just super! This is the first time in our history that I can proudly say that I feel the power of our language and nationality!

Rahim Shahbazi
Carrboro, North Carolina

Editor: The new, beautifully bound, crimson-colored Azerbaijani-English Dictionary published in the new Latin alphabet has just been released. Professor Oruj Musayev of the Azerbaijan State Institute of Languages (Baku, 1998) spent more than 20 years compiling and editing this volume which enables Azeris in the Republic, for the first time in their lives, to move directly between Azeri and English (not through Russian). The dictionary contains nearly 650 pages, including 45,000 words and phrases and 10,000 sentences to illustrate word usage. Its publication was sponsored by Exxon. The volume is available from the Institute of Languages Bookstore or from Azerbaijan International, Box 5217, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. Tel: 818-785-0077; Fax: 818-997-7337; or <>. See the article about Musayev's journey in creating this dictionary in this issue.

Getting It All Back Home
Having hosted three FSA (Freedom Support Act) Exchange Students from Azerbaijan, I was hoping that your magazine could assist in a problem that is probably common to all exchange students worldwide. Because of airline and exchange program restrictions, our students have had an increasingly difficult time transporting their belongings back home at the end of their stay. Last year, through the kindness of an American company based in Baku, we were able to send our student's winter clothing and some personal items back to Baku free of charge. This was done with the help of an Azeri employee who was a friend of the family. However, not all students have such access.

When students come to live in the U.S., they invariably need clothing that they do not have in Azerbaijan because of climate or social needs. None of what we sent was frivolous, but if the student's family had had to pay, the shipping costs would have come to well over US $300-an enormous sum for most parents. Is there a possibility that other U.S. companies would be willing to help with this problem? My student has already acquired a pair of Nike shoes, a winter jacket and a blazer. These coupled with any gifts he may receive or gifts he may purchase, will most certainly create problems in June. I would appreciate any help with this situation. Please write me at <>.

Our journey as host parents has been wonderful. Each student has been a joy in our lives. We have learned much and hopefully have shared much. Our students are very aware that while there are cultural differences, teenagers and parents are alike the world over! So often they would laugh and tell us that their parents would have said the same things to them that we did. While Shamkir and Baku are half a world away from Mason City, Iowa, the soul of humanity is unchanging. Ours is a deep respect for your country and its ancient history and traditions, and a deep pride in the intelligence and sensitivity of your youth. We have been blessed that their parents have allowed us to share in their journey to adulthood.

Estelle Siers Gabel
Mason City, Iowa

Jujalarim-Children's Song
The song, "Jujalarim" (Little Chicks) has long been a favorite here in our small Azeri enclave on the Swedish west coast. What a "smashing" song! No doubt, it is Niyazi that should be credited for much of the orchestration.

Erik Andersson
(via e-mail)

Editor: To hear the children's song, "Jujalarim" as it was performed at the "Decade of Azerbaijan Art Festival" in Moscow in 1959, check our Web site at <>. Niyazi is conducting the orchestra and Sugra Bagirzade sings the children's solo. See accompanying story in "Just for Kids" (AI 5.4, Winter 1997) which is also available on the Internet.

Teacher with a Capital "T"
I found your Spring 1998 (AI 6.1) issue as fascinating as ever. It was a pleasant surprise to see my favorite lecturer Ismahan Rahimov in "Quotable Quotes," page 23.

Some memories never fade. I had the privilege of being one of his students 32 years ago, and I couldn't help putting pen to paper to tell you more about this great educator. His life and teaching activity could be the subject of an interesting book. He is an excellent model of someone who has never given up his life principles, and who always practiced what he preached. Romantic at heart, Rahimov never missed a chance to show us the beauty of words and "the inexplicable spell that lurks in a syllable." He knew much of Hamlet by heart. His lectures on literature were like a fairy tale, full of wonder and revelation. Teaching for him was not only an occupation but also a sort of hobby.

Here, in Turkey, where I work temporarily as a visiting lecturer, I often remember my former lecturers and instructors to whom I am greatly indebted for what they taught me. But Rahimov has always been a teacher with a capital "T". After all, there are always irreplaceable people. His contagious enthusiasm and passion for teaching is rare today. Today, I want to thank him, this unusual and dearest of all possible teachers, for everything he did for his former students. He will always be my teacher.

Beture Mammadova
South Demurel University
Department of English Language and Literature
Isparta, Turkey

Editor: Ismikhan Rahimov, 73, spent seven years of a 25-year sentence in Siberian labor camps beginning in 1948 when he was 23 years old. He was accused of speaking Azeri and of wanting to separate Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union. He was released shortly after Stalin's death in 1953 and came back to Azerbaijan where he developed into one of Baku's most favorite and sought-after teachers of English.

New Assignment-Baku
Before Baku, I was based in the larger Southern Africa market with over 800 IATA travel agencies. One day I received a call from the head office and was offered the job of opening up the office in Baku.

Well, these days, of course, it's very difficult to say "no" to any assignment. Besides, flexibility is always expected from expats. I was basically given 24 hours to make up my mind whether I wanted to accept the challenge of setting up a representation in Baku, finding offices, registering the company, employing and training staff, finalizing all kinds of contracts and setting up a flight operation.

The first thing I did after receiving the offer was to make my way to the nearest pub in Johannesburg and settle down with some five pints of Castle Lager and start thinking. Early the next morning, I went to the office and began surfing the Internet to find out as much as I could about Azerbaijan.

Your site was, of course, the greatest as it basically includes a customer data base [Services]. I printed a full file of relevant information, studied it and then loaded with so many facts in hand, I got on a plane to Zurich to accept the job.

Well, after all, it's not so bad here in Baku. Of course, it's not South Africa, but still, it's quite a distinct and unique country. Our operation at Swissair is successful, and we can state with confidence that we are here to stay and develop further. Congratulations again for the AI Web site and many thanks for everything.

Fernand Stauffer
Swissair, General Manager

Editor: These days, Swissair is also listed among the 60-plus international companies on our Web site. Check it out at <>. Click on "Services". You'll find a photo of each company's manager (including Fernand Stauffer), contact information and links, along with a description of each company's activities in Azerbaijan.

We do our best to keep this information current even when new managers are assigned to Baku and when companies move their offices and get new phones. Please let us know immediately if you find any mistakes or outdated material. Otherwise, count on it for being accurate and up-to-date and an excellent source of information when you have to attend large receptions in Baku and are trying to make new contacts.

What's Happening Back Home?
It's wonderful to find information about the place that is so dear to you. Thank you for creating this Web site. We Azeris, who are far away from our country, want to read and hear more about the things that are happening there. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to obtain first-hand information. Much of the information we have access to is not reliable as it is often written by hostile sources with ill purposes. How we wish we could read the news coming directly from our country.

Javanshir Shibliyev
Turkey (e-mail)

Editor: For daily updates on news gathered from media sources in Azerbaijan as well as the Western press, subscribe to the Internet List group, Habarlar-L Azerbaijan News Distribution, by sending a request to <>. English. Free.

In the Scheme of World Energy
Exciting is a word that merely scratches the surface of the energy atmosphere in your area of the world. It is my hope that the economic development of Azerbaijani oil fields brings prosperity to every home in your country while providing the world with much-needed energy in an environmentally responsible way.

I've been involved in U.S. oil and gas exploration, production, transportation and marketing for 21 years now, starting when I was only 19. I am keenly interested in the development of Caspian oil and gas and plan to visit your Web site often. I found the SOCAR section to be very informative. Azerbaijan is becoming more and more important in the grand scheme of world energy as long as we continue to use fossil fuels for our energy needs. Peace.

David J. Marks
Duquesne, Pennsylvania

Rostropovich Comes to Baku (June 1998)
In June 1997, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, returned to his birthplace, Baku, to celebrate his 70th Jubilee. At that time, he realized the incredible musical talent among the youth and promised to return every year to conduct Master Classes. In June 1998, he kept his promise and conducted music sessions for ten days. Many students received personal instruction while hundreds watched. The finale was a concert at the Music Academy which was attended by President Aliyev.

Rostropovich in Baku  Rostropovich in Baku

Azerbaijan International (6.3) Autumn 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

Back to Index AI 6.3 (Autumn 1998)
AI Home
Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us