1.Who Governs America?
always surprised when our nation complains about the United States
and 907. What is 907 to us - $50-$60 million of aid? Even our
poor small budget is 20 times greater. So what is 907 to us?
Our budget simply depends on whether the price of oil is higher
or lower. But of course, from the moral point of view, if 907
were lifted, it would demonstrate the close relations between
us and America.
"Sometimes we get offended: why are we so open to America?
Why do we support American ideals, especially given the fact
that we have to live between two major countries - Russia and
Iran - who have complicated relations with America? They are
ready to punish anyone for bringing America here. Instead of
being treated with reciprocity by America, we only hear the lame
excuse: 'Sorry, but we have a strong Armenian lobby.'
"We cannot understand who governs America. Who is managing
America? I'm not sure that small lobbies belonging to small minorities
can shape the foreign policy of this great country. I'm a fairly
educated man, and to me this is incomprehensible.
"Technically, yes, you can explain it. But it's impossible
for me to believe that America is managed by the Armenian lobby.
When America needs to, they can easily turn their backs on this
lobby. America had a huge Japanese lobby, too. But in 1942, all
of the American Japanese were rounded up and put into concentration
camps. Of course, I'm not saying to round up all the Armenians
and put them in concentration camps. What I'm saying is: America
shouldn't help us just because we need their help. They should
take care of their own self interests.
"We want to be part of Western society. We want to be part
of the democratic open society. After the collapse of the USSR,
Azerbaijan was the country that could have most easily been transformed
into a standard Western country. Now it's getting more and more
difficult because of the greater disappointment by increasing
numbers of people in connection to 907, and the lack of readiness
on the part of the West, first of all the United States, to support
Azerbaijan Minister of Trade
2. New Strength for Azeri Language
new decree that requires the use of the Latin alphabet beginning
on August 1, 2001 only serves to strengthen the Azeri language.
In the past, the Russian language was politically imposed upon
our nation. This new decree is bringing about a separation of
the Azeri language from Russian and making Azeri cease to be
subjected to Russian.
Ten years have passed since these two languages went down separate
paths, moved to their own separate households and stopped living
together. The process of living on our own will be difficult.
We'll have to work hard to develop our language and take care
of it. But if we don't do it, who will?
Founding Rector of Western University and current Minister of
Environment and Resources.
Azerbaijan is situated
in a region, both complicated and problematic. This can be explained
by its specific diverse transcultural content and its geographic
transit location. Circumstances in history, linked to politics,
culture and religion have brought about this complexity.
What strikes the eye as one travels across the region-north to
south, east to west-is that we are positioned at the crossroads
of two contrasting terrains. On one side, there is green, blossoming
vegetation; on the other, barren desert and monotonous brown
It seems to me that this issue extends beyond geography and,
undoubtedly, is a factor influencing our cultural self identification.
History has treated us ruthlessly on many occasions. But we no
longer want to allow things to remain as they are. We want to
take our destiny in our own hands and make a firm, decisive,
irreversible stand. We don't want to be a country of deserts
with dull, drab terrain. We want to be a flourishing nation,
characterized by lush green landscapes - which, indeed, is the
true essence of our spirit and nature.
Husein Baghirov, Ph.D., Minister
of Ecology and Resources
describing the rationale for the Ministry undertaking a vast
reforestation program which has resulted in the planting of more
than 30 million trees these past two years.
From Azerbaijan International (11.4) Winter 2003.
© Azerbaijan International 2004.