Армянофобия в Азербайджане. Борьба с ксенофобией.

Армянофобия в Азербайджане. Армения Азербайджан, Ксенофобия
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Chapter 19. Armenophobia in the Azerbaijani literature

Do you know the importance of the childhood impressions?
A mere good habit and inclination in childhood
can become a virtue at mature age.[512]

Fiction and academic literature represent one of the most extensive forms of propaganda and indoctrination of ideology.

The literature, particularly the children's literature, is at the core of shaping the world outlook, moral principles and set of values at the very outset of life. It shapes the sense of morality and appraisal, the code of moral conduct and instills aesthetic perception.[513]

The assessment of the values underlying the future-oriented Azerbaijani society of our day calls for a scrutiny of the literary works which shape certain attitudes, views and ensuing line of conduct in respect of Armenians.

The factors of the territorial vicinity and a long history of coexistence secure a central place in the Azerbaijani literature for the subject of the relationships between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. A comparison of literary works on the subjects of the relationships between Georgians and Azerbaijanis, Azerbaijanis and Russians, Azerbaijanis and Iranians as well as Azerbaijanis and Armenians reveal the salience of the latter in terms of sheer numbers and representative variety. Over recent years, the number of works containing a negative appraisal of Armenians has noticeably increased.

The inculcation of armenophobia occurs in 2 ways: direct and indirect methods.

The direct method represents an open and unabashed propaganda and a straightforward hate speech. Its incidence increased in recent years compared to the rule of Heydar Aliyev, the father of the current president in office.

The indirect method represents a method that does not explicitly designate the ethnic origin in its depiction of the image and its distinctive traits, but makes the reader guess to whom the reference is made based on the events of the narration and the signature style.

Leyla Sayfutdinova who studied specimens of the modern Azerbaijani literature discerned certain patterns. The author notes that the literature draws a very clear borderline between Armenians and Azerbaijanis: "I don't recall a single case when the national identity of an Armenian character remains unknown or is absolutely irrelevant to the story and therefore, to the relations between Armenians and Azerbaijanis".[514]

The author notes that there is a distinction not only in terms of contrasting Armenians and Azerbaijanis, but also in terms of tagging them as "good our" and "bad other" Armenians, which comes to mean those who live in Azerbaijan and visitors, respectively. "Good" Armenians are those who live in Azerbaijan and are fond of their Azerbaijani friends. "Bad" Armenians are their opposites. Most frequently, foreign Armenians, i.e. Armenians who came to Azerbaijan and Caucasus from other places are portrayed as "bad".[515]

The study of 22 latest literary works dated after 2008 made it clear that the image of "our" Armenians is portrayed as "pretenders", and their sincerity raises doubts or calls for vigilance. Thus, the children's story entitled Spy by Shabnam Kheyrulla[a] is quite illustrative in terms of the educational process; the plot contains the character of aunt Aliya, an Armenian woman portrayed through the prism of the Azerbaijanis characters, through the eyes of children and the author herself.

Military news! It was with this news that the program started. The news reader announced that four of our soldiers had been killed.
< …> The children were curious to see how our guest reacted to the news. This reaction was not long in coming. Upon hearing the news, aunt Aliya looked perplexed and started cursing her compatriots by calling them ignoble and ungrateful. But the children were no longer surprised because they were sure that she was a "spy", and that was exactly what "spies" were supposed to say... Neither Natik, nor Sabina knew that this "spy" was one of the thousands of Armenians who lived in their country. Another thing the children did not know was that this Armenian woman had changed her religion in good time and later she also changed her name. Whether she did so out of fear or she indeed had renounced her ethnicity was something that even the adults failed to see through. But one thing this Armenian woman could not do to change: the vicious blood of her nation that ran in her veins. Powerless to do so, aunt Aliyah, who was ashamed, had no other choice but to go around abusing and cursing her compatriots at the first good opportunity. At heart, she was tormented by agonizing doubts.

At this point, a woman aged 60 and maybe more went into the street, and the children immediately exclaimed in unison: "Hello, aunt Anya!" and ran up to her. The woman who was their neighbor returned a friendly smile and asked the children how they were doing, what they were busy with and patted them on the head. <…> It would have never occurred to the children that aunt Anya, who they were so fond of and to whom they had just flocked, was Armenian, and she was merely one of the thousands of them who lived in Baku. < …> Once again, I was persuaded that we would never change. Our capacity for enmity would, alas, stay at the level of words and playground rhymes in some game[b].

Or, heirs to their legacy, they secretly plot against good-natured Azerbaijanis:

Zayka was a nurse who had obtained the job only days ago. Her interest in the surgical department was nothing but accidental. She had been assigned this mission by her father, a member of a secret Armenian committee. Her assignment was to get access to this department of the maternity hospital and poison non-Armenian newborns mostly of Turkic origin with chemicals. It was beyond doubt that Zayka would handle her mission well as according to her father, in many years that her mother worked at the same maternity hospital she had dispatched many Turkic children. Now Zayka was about to follow her mother's trade. <…> She took up the dozing Suraya and led her to one of the wards, put her to bed there and hurried up to the surgical department where a young Azerbaijani doctor named Fazil was awaiting her. Winning his confidence, Zayka intended to gain access to the medicines. They entered his office and shut the door[c].

The prevailing stereotypes about Armenians planted in the Azerbaijani society certain notions about a "typical Armenian" behavior: the Armenian character must necessarily be envious, feigning and ultimately treacherous (deception and betrayal).

Always abusing our kind-heartedness, friendship, fidelity to neighbors and generosity, in a word, our love of fellow men, Armenians turned it into a weapon against us, repaid good with evil by laying bare their treacherous nature. At the earliest opportunity, they drew their daggers to stab in the back those who had given them refuge, food, drink, protection extending them a helping hand.[516]

Russian and Armenian joined forces to attack the peaceful nomads' camp for murder and plunder. The people of the nomads' camp, Azerbaijanis, who had always considered Armenians as their younger and Russians as their еlder brothers were astounded by their treachery and perfidy < …> He looked up to see his friends, the Russian Stepan and the Armenian Valod enter the forge; they had kept saying to Ilham: "You are my brother"[d].

The plot of Ilham and Fariza told the story of a couple that fell victim to the soviet troops moved into Baku after a week-long Armenian pogrom, which in Azerbaijan is referred to as the Black January. It is emblematic in a context where a use of fictional devices and propaganda makes the modern Azerbaijani youth believe that on January 20th, the Armenians and Russians "killed the Azerbaijani heroes". This is clearly shown in a video report[517] in which the schoolchildren answer the reporter's questions, such as: "what happened on January 20, 1990 in Baku?", "who did our shekhids fight against and whom did they protect?", "why did they kill us?" The children gave the following answers:

  • On that day, Armenians killed Azerbaijanis, and our heroes courageously protected us.
  • Because they didn't like our motherland.
  • They fought against Armenians, whose tanks drove over the heads of our people and they protecting our independence from the Russian imperialism.

Also, Armenians are portrayed as having a characteristic and typical toolbox such as "underhand killing" and "stabbing in the back".

Leyla Sayfutdinova:[518] The plot of the novel entitled Key to Your House by R. Huseynova (2008) unfolds in a period running from the early 20th century to 1930s, in which the Armenians killed the 9-year-old son of an Azerbaijani named Sadiyar Aga during an incursion into his land. Later, he kills all of the raiders, apart from the instigator named Levon Sarkisyan who comes from the Ottoman Turkey and carries in his heart a loathing for all Turks. The work of the Azerbaijani author tells how Sadiyar gives in to the pleas of his wife not to kill a father in front of his children and spares Levon who then tracks Sadiyar down and kills him from behind.

The depiction of brutality, bloodshed and violence expectedly perpetrated by Armenians holds a special place in the Azerbaijani literature:

"In the meanwhile, blood flew like water in the nomads' camp. Pools of blood formed all over the place. Cries and moans rose to the skies. The survivors were looking for their kins. Fariza felt an ill foreboding, she ran to the forge and found Ilham there bleeding to death"[e].

"The Armenians torn out his beard, knocked out his teeth, put out his eyes, cut off his ears and nose... My grandmother saw it happen. The women and children of his house were made to watch as they were doing this to him. Next, they started shooting women... The entire Muslim part of the city was committed to fire".[519]

"My little one, they were chopping our infants to pieces, ripped our pregnant women open with their bayonets and spoke of the "sweet Turkic blood", all these beasts!"[f].

Samvel Martirosyan, a member of the Xenophobia Prevention Initiative, believes that Azerbaijan's raising generation is targeted by the state propaganda which foments feelings of hatred towards Armenians. This means that the state propaganda infiltrates a domain where it is not supposed to be, and this issue must be raised internationally.


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[a] «Spy». See Attachment

[b] «Hostility in Azerbaijani». See Attachment

[c] "Murder in the maternity ward." See Attachment

[d] "The story of Ilham and Fariza." See Attachment

[e] ibidem

[f] "Deadly Lesson of grandfather." See Attachment