Армянофобия в Азербайджане. Борьба с ксенофобией.

Армянофобия в Азербайджане. Армения Азербайджан, Ксенофобия
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Chapter 12. Ramil Safarov vs. Akram Aylisli: avatars of good and evil

The philosophical categories of the good and evil and the quest for choosing between them
represent the basis of the human civilization. These categories rest on the essence of the
humanity at large and individuals in particular.

Good is the central category of any moral system.

The good is the supreme moral value, and to do good is the main regulating force of a moral line of conduct.

The evil represents the antithesis of the good. It is the anti-value, i.e. something incompatible with the moral line of conduct.

Good is the goal that must be attained, cultivated and created. The evil, in its turn, is something that one ought to dissociate oneself from.

The good and evil do not stand on equivalent footing. The evil is secondary to the good; it is only the reverse side of the good, a deviation from it. It is for a reason that the God (good) in Christianity and Islam is omnipotent, while the devil (evil) is solely capable of abetting the violation of God's commandments by some individuals.[330]

Not only deeds can be attributable to the category of the evil. The evil can be used to describe the character of various objects and phenomena which elicit negative sentiments of taste, smell, pain, bad experience and state. The good represents the goal that must be attained, cultivated and created. The evil is something that one ought to dissociate oneself from, refute, neutralize and overcome. A. Voloshina,[331] in her drawing of a borderline between the good and the evil, wrote: "The good along with pleasure, beauty, truth and benefit represents the main component of the welfare, i.e. an absolute goal that cannot serve as a means to achieve any other end, while the evil encompasses suffering, lie, harm, deformity and immorality". Spinoza analyzed the traditional ethical categories of good and evil in correlation with the concepts of pleasure and pain. Thus, the good, inasmuch as it represents benefit and use, is perceived positively (pleasure), while the evil, inasmuch as it inflicts damage and is of no use, is appraised negatively (pain).[332]

Awareness of the essence of good and evil, understanding the extent of their antagonism and the ability to differentiate between them underlie the public morals manifested through moral judgments.

Moral judgments are judgment (statements) which express the moral appraisal or norm or prescription.[333]

Themoral appraisal represents a set of structured judgments and significant priorities based on the internal needs of the society developed through tradition, culture and code of conduct. Values are perceived and appraised as moral good within the confines of established rules and traditions.

After series of studies, the philosopher Joshua Knobe[334] revealed the dependence between moral judgments and the perceptions of the world. The Azerbaijani society provides a sufficiently illustrative example of this statement, with its shaping of quite specific moral judgments and the surrounding world viewed through the prism of Armenia and Armenians. This gives rise to a distinctive Knobe effect[a]:

An Azerbaijani who ran over a pedestrian is bad and guilty, but if the pedestrian turns out to be Armenian, then the Azerbaijani is not guilty and did a right thing by running over this pedestrian.
An Azerbaijani killed a man; he is a criminal, but if it turns out that his victim is Armenian, then he is a hero and did a right thing by killing the man.
An Azerbaijani stole something; he is a thief and criminal, but if the victim turns out to be Armenian, then he did a right thing as the Armenian deserves it.
An Azerbaijani girl gets married amid wishes of happiness and joy, but if it turns out that the groom is Armenian, then she is a reprobate and apostate who deserves punishment.

The moral evil is defined in contrast to the moral judgment and moral appraisal as going beyond socially established value benchmarks and the breakdown of rooted public morals.

Each society shapes its own perception of the good and evil in line with its traditions and set of values.

At the junction of good and evil with slight shifts to either side, an extensive field of action opens up for ideology and propaganda.

A universal technique employed by the propaganda of all countries consists in a clear delimitation between the world of good implied to include the world of the subject and the world of evil encompassing the object. The denigration of the latter occurs through comparison with animals, spawn of hell or subhumans depending on the world view.

"Our duty is to foment hatred for evil and invigorate the thirst for beautiful, kind and just things". The author of these words is Adolf Hitler.

Similar notions of good and evil are cultivated in the society of today's Azerbaijan where the evil is represented by Armenians, and the good is represented by those who wage a struggleagainst them "by all available means". This phenomenon is showcased by Ramil Safarov, a personification of the "good", who hacked a sleeping Armenian officer with an axe,[335] and Akram Aylisli, a personification of the "evil". In his novel entitled The Stone Dreams, the author draws parallels between the massacre of Armenians in Nakhichevan in early 20th century and the pogroms of Armenians in Baku of the late 20th century through the prism of his own feelings.

Safarov Р. Aylisli А.

Ganira Pashayeva, member of the Azerbaijani parliament:[336] "Dear Ramil! We congratulate you! Inshallah, you celebrate your 35th birthday in your family home. After our acquaintance in the Hungarian prison and lengthy conversations, I am full of gratitude that the destiny allowed me to know so close such a patriotic young man who loves his motherland".

Gultekin Hajiyeva, at the time, member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE:[337]: "…If at this point, the community of Azerbaijan fails to rescue Ramil Safarov from the Armenian diaspora, in the future we won't be able to win a war for the liberation of the occupied Azerbaijani lands".

Elmira Suleymanova, Ombudsman of Azerbaijan:[338] «Р. "R. Safarov must become an exemplar of patriotism for the Azerbaijani youth".

Zaur Aliyev, chairman of the Diaspora and Lobby Strategic Research Center:[339]"Today, awarding R. Safarov, who is held hostage in the Hungarian prison, the title of a national hero can become a support and a foundation for raising the patriotic and fighting spirit of the Azerbaijani youth..."

Karabakh Liberation Organization:[340] "Ramil Safarov must become a symbol of patriotism for the Azerbaijani youth. We are addressing this petition asking to bestow on this Azerbaijani officer the highest award".

Akif Nagi, chairman of the Karabakh Liberation Organization:[341] "R. Safarov fulfilled his duty to the Azerbaijani people; the state and the society appreciated R. Safarov at his true worth".

Bayram Safarov, chairman of the so-called organization Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno- Karabakh, chairman of the public union Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh:[342] "He is dear to every native of Karabakh as a true hero of Azerbaijan... Finally, the justice has triumphed".

Teymur Abdullayev, deputy head of the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan:[343] "The order of Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev to pardon Ramil Safarov is worthy of the highest praise. The Ministry of Defense welcomed with great joy the news of Ramil Safarov's extradition from Hungary and his subsequent pardon".

Isa Hambar leader of the Musavat political party:[344] "His arrival to the motherland, his release is a very positive fact. I congratulate his family and friends".

Novruz Mammadov, head of the Foreign Relations Department of the President's Administration of Azerbaijan:[345] "For each of us, this event is a source of joy and pride. It is extremely impressive to see here our soldier so devoted to his people and cast into prison for standing up to protect the glory and honor of his motherland"

Bahar Muradova, vice-speaker of the parliament:[346] "Therefore, it is necessary to create conditions for the service of such officers as Ramil, patriots of Azerbaijan, who are ready to sacrifice themselves".

E. Suleymanova, Ombudsman of Azerbaijan:[347]: "This has become another proof of the humanity and humaneness of the President Ilham Aliyev and of his care for the citizens of Azerbaijan".

Fuad Aleskerov, head of the Department on Work with Law Enforcement Bodies of the Administration of the President of Azerbaijan:[348] "This is also an appeal to solidarity for the entire people of Azerbaijan in the face of the enemy".

Asif Javadov, Azerbaijani political analyst:[349] "What, actually, did you expect? That Safarov throws down a gauntlet to this flag-treading scoundrel and challenges him to a duel with seconds? The history shows that hays don't deserve such nobility".

Badri Ustuner, a citizen of Turkey, retired lieutenant colonel wrote in his letter of thanks to Ilham Aliyev:[350] "Such deeds have to be committed in exactly this way... The monument of the gallant officer Ramil Safarov, whom you have pardoned, must be erected in all military units to serve as an example to each Azerbaijani soldier... That's how the love for one's nation, patriotism and bravery should be".

Thousands of people poured into the streets of Sumgait to celebrate the pardon of R. Safarov by the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. People chanted slogans: "Ramil, we are proud of you!" Dozens of cars drove through the streets of the city sounding their horns and waving flags of Azerbaijan and portraits of Ramil Safarov.[351]

"The youth expressed to the supreme commanderin- chief its deepest gratitude considering the pardon of R. Safarov by the leadership of the country as a result of their care and attention to each and every citizen".[352]

Safar Abiyev, Colonel General, Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan assigned the Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov who had been released earlier the rank of a major and wished him success in his further military career. Safar Abiyev expressed his gratitude to the president of Azerbaijan, supreme commander-inchief of the country's armed forces, Ilham Aliyev, for his personal attention and great care for an officer and a citizen of Azerbaijan by appreciating this deed as an unprecedented service to the people of Azerbaijan.[370]

The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan paid the released officer Ramil Safarov his wages accumulated for the entire duration of his imprisonment (over eight years). Also, the ministry provided him with an apartment.[371]

Ganira Pashayeva has noted that the novel of Akram Aylisli delivers a powerful blow to the propaganda of the Azerbaijan's realities, and Armenians will take advantage of the fact: "It also strikes a blow against our foreign policy and justifies the Armenian lies".[353]

Murad Kohnagala, a representative of Azerbaijan's intellectuals:[354] "Our image as savages is carved deep into the memory of Armenians for good. Armenians can never become our friends. We are eternal enemies. Our enmity will end only with the death of our planet. < …> One must be amoral to be friends with Armenians".

Declaration by Union of Refugees:[355] "We don't want our children to be educated with the works of an Armenian writer <...>. Let us give Aylisli to Armenians as a gift, if he admires so much the 'spiritual values' of his native folk. From now on, let them call him not Akram Aylisli but Aram Aguletsi.

Bizim Yol, an opposition newspaper:[356] "It is strange that an artistic figure with such a pernicious thinking could evade the scrutiny of the state. We are speaking about the same authorities which even control the private records of the opposition members. This is the main blunder of the authorities in Aylisli's case... The authorities should have acted in a logical fashion and create an independent medical commission to form an opinion on Aylisli's mental health... maybe it is still not too late...".

Afag Masud, an Azerbaijani writer: [357] "I was shocked by this novel... I appreciated Akram Aylisli as a splendid writer and a worthy intellectual. But now I no longer consider him as such. One must carry a national spirit".

 Nizami Jafarov, Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Issues of Azerbaijani Parliament:[358] "I believe that Akram Aylisli must be stripped of Azerbaijani citizenship. Let him go to Yerevan and serve in a church there".

Bayram Safarov, chairman of the so-called organization Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno- Karabakh, chairman of the public union Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh:[359] "If he doesn't belong to the representatives of our nation, let him live among his own folk".

Bahar Muradova, vice-speaker of the Milli Majlis:[360] "Akram Aylisli is a coward who has played over long years an actor's role in Azerbaijan. He claims to write the "truth" in the interests of the Azerbaijani people. You are the one who needs this "truth" to mask your real face and nature, to consider yourself above the people among whom you live".

Ogtay Asadov, speaker of the Azerbaijani parliament:[361] "There must be something suspicious in the origin of those who support Aylisli".

Yagub Mahmudov, director of the History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan:[362] "The Dreams by Akram Aylisli is a betrayal of the Azerbaijani people".

Vugar Gadirov, chairman of the Youth Organization for Refugees and Displaced Persons:[363] "With his slander and outrage against his people, Akram Aylisli betrayed not only Azerbaijanis, but the entire humanity, its universal values. He must be called to account for his treachery".

Allahshükür Pashazadeh, the head of the Caucasian Muslims Office, sheikh:[364] "In his novel, Aylisli has knowingly insulted Heydar Aliyev at the bidding of his masters... This novel is a heresy, and its author is a godless person".

On February 9, 2013, in the village Aylis, a public rally of several thousand people was held, with the participation of literally all fellow villagers of the writer. The villagers gathered on the central square chanting slogans: "Death to Akram Aylisli!", "Traitor!", "Akram is Armenian"... In their speeches, the villagers openly announced their ostracism of the writer and asked him never to return to his native places. In the observer's opinion, the representatives of the fair sex were the most active on the rally. After the rally, the fellow villagers of A. Aylisli made a bonfire of all his books.[365]

On February 11, 2013, the intellectuals of the city gathered on the central square of Ganja to protest against the novel of A. Aylisli and started burning all of his books. Hasanbala Salimov, a professor at Ganja State University, said in his speech that the writer had insulted the Azerbaijani people and portrayed the cynical Armenians as the world's best nation.[366]

On January 31, 2013, a group of young people held an action in front of the house belonging to the writer Akram Aylisli to protest against his novel Stone Dreams. The participants of the action chanted various slogans, including: "Why were you taken in by Armenians?!", "Armenian Akram, leave the country!", "Shame and disgrace to Armenian, let Akram ara1 go blind!"[367]

On February 1, 2013, a group of young writers buried the book Stone Dreams by Akram Aylisli in Baku. During the event, the young people put the book in a coffin and took it away to be buried.[368]

Hafiz Hajiyev, Chairman of the political party Yeni Musavat, offered a reward of 10 thousand euros for a severed ear of Akram Aylisli: "The guys will keep iodine, cotton wool and bandages in their pockets. Once they cut it off, they will bandage the wound. I swear by God, he won't feel any pain".[369]

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed an order to strip Akram Aylisli (Akram Najaf oglu Naibov) of the presidential pension. Another order by the head of the state divested Akram Aylisli of the honorary title of People's Writer.[372]

Faig Shahbazli, Head of the Textbook and Publication Department of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan:[373]:

"At the time of writing the textbook, Akram Aylisli was a people's writer and held titles. Back then, we couldn't know that his subsequent action would create problems for the learning process. All works by Akram Aylisli will be removed from the new edition of the textbook. I believe that it would be base to keep his works in the textbooks. Akram Aylisli has no place in the Azerbaijani textbooks".

Ramil Safarov was pardoned and rewarded, with his years of imprisonment compensated with an apartment and 8-years' pay.[374] Akram Aylisli was stripped of his awards390 becoming a target for ostracism and persecution.[375]

In June 2013, a retaliatory story by Zafar Aliyev was published entitled Stone Truth,[376] in which the author replicated the events described by Akram Aylisli in a mirror setting. The plot of the story is built around the idea that Aylisli is an Armenian and a son of Dashnak. The story concludes with the fiery speech by a professor:

<... > It seems that you welcome this to some extent. What sin are you speaking about?! What do you call a sin? Attempted self-defense? The wish to protect you from Armenians paid with the blood and lives of our soldiers? Or, do you call it a sin to protect our native land from the Armenian occupying forces? Is this a sin?! Would you agree that Armenians took away our land and home? Are you satisfied with that?!
< …> Through this novel, Akper Ayishli insulted the whole nation. With this novel, Ayishli exerts psychological pressure on the entire nation. He slandered and abused our memory of those who died at the hands of Armenians. You seem to agree with that? And when those who suffered at the hands of Armenians protest against such lie and slander of Akper Ayishli, do you consider it to be a psychological pressure on an elderly man? And do you protest against it?
< … > Only those, who have lost their honor or have never had any, can agree to what was written by Akper Ayishli! <…>
<…> Do you really think that after all of this he must keep the title of a People's Writer and receive a considerable presidential scholarship to continue writing such filth? I'm sure that in this case, many of you would have been outraged. <…>
< … > It seems I have clearly exposed my position on the novel. The only question that remains unclear is who is the author of the novel? An Azerbaijani or an Armenian? I am more than confident that an Azerbaijani could not have written this. This could be written only by an Armenian, only by one who carries the hatred for Turks in his heart and genes.
< … > The professor completed his speech and went down heading for the monument of Nizami, shaking his head in discontent.
<…> Many of those gathered rolled down the banners and portraits of Akper Ayishli and threw them into garbage bins. The action disintegrated into groups, and its participants scattered engaging in a heated argument.

The ethical principles are shaped in accordance with certain norms established in the society and shaping interpersonal relationships within the society.

At the end of the day, "the good" gained the upper hand over "the evil" in Azerbaijan.


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[a] The asymmetry in human judgment contingent on the wording of the question and irrespective of its meaning.