Chapter 16. Women's role in shaping armenophobia
Due to social and cultural peculiarities, women as mothers, educators and teachers play the
main role in the process of educating generations.
In the Azerbaijani society, women have historically been the repositories of traditions who
continue to cultivate values in daily and family life (but then, such picture is characteristic
of all Oriental countries). The educational level, spiritual and moral potential of women as
well as their educational effort determine in many respects what the future community
members will look like. The shaping of the person in line with the moral code, culture, world
view and code of conduct is influenced in the first place by women.
The role of the mother holds a special place in this context. The relationships between the
mother and her child have a fundamental significance for human interaction. Understanding
the notions of security, freedom and self-appraisal depends on how the relationship between
the mother or the person acting in her lieu evolved or will evolve with their children. It
is the female and maternal figure that lays the groundwork for the first attitudes, value
benchmarks, preservation of traditions and their development.
In the modern world, with a wider range of duties the role of a woman extended beyond the
family to cover virtually all aspects of the child's life. As a matter of fact, children, irrespective
of their sex, obtain the lion's share of information, attitudes, stereotypes, prejudices
and images through women: mothers, kindergarteners and teachers. The information is
communicated to children through books read out to them, fairy tales narrated to them
and songs sung to them.
In this context, the role of the woman in the society and in intersocial links can be defined as
the forefront that allows envisaging the future prospects of this society as well as ideological
and moral makeup of its future generations.
Akif Melikov, director of Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater,
Meritorious Worker of Arts: I admire the beauty and wisdom of Azerbaijani women.
The Azerbaijani women are simultaneously caring mothers, devoted wives, obedient
daughters as well as loved and loving sisters. The outer beauty of the Azerbaijani
women is in full harmony with their internal beauty.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict made its adjustments in the world view and the set of
values of the Azerbaijani society. The fervent zealotry and yearning to partake "in the
struggle against Armenians" soared among women. More importantly, these feelings are
directed against an ethnic group rather than citizens of Armenia or those who are personally
responsible for purported or real human suffering.
I'd rather go to war than wait for another 20 years", said Shafag Ismailova (34), a
sniper courses trainee and refugee. "War is bad for all. But sometimes the situation
Inasmuch as the female role was historically confined to home and family, with women
shielded from having to resolve vital issues and rarely facing the cruelty of the outside world,
it is generally assumed that the woman is the embodiment of the mercy and compassion.
However, at the turn of the 20th century, the stereotypes prevalent in Azerbaijan remain the
same, while the philosophy of the modern Azerbaijani woman has changed.
Mahira Abdulanin: Let's march on Karabakh...
I must cut out the eyes of the enemy,
Pull out his tongue and flay him alive.
In the ancestral lands of lions, jackals became masters,
Let's march on Karabakh...
Hoist this flag, hoist!
Release this owl form the pinnacle!
The enemy is leeching us and thirsts for our blood
Annihilate Armenians, annihilate!
Go and plant our tricolor flag!
Overall, the inculcation of xenophobia dispensed from the lips of women follows a classic
scenario added to the armory of the official ideology, the only difference being that its
female version is more emotional in character and stands at the outset of the nascent
Eluja Atali Explanation for the little Fidan:[a]
All of a sudden, little Fidan asked:
– Then, why do we call them (Armenians) 'mundar' (dirty, vile)? Her age of 4
years prevented me from gathering my thoughts and giving an accurate answer.
Considering her age, I picked my words carefully and said:
- Look, my little one, when a person has a vile and filthy heart, this propagates all
over the body through the blood. And no matter how much they wash their hands
and face, they cannot get clean. You can't wash away just any dirt with water
For the mother, "picking the words carefully" means a choice of terms and phrases
understandable for a 4-year-old child rather than the semantic content of the answer to her
question. It is important for the author that the girl learns a lifetime lesson that "Armenians
are vile and filthy".
Women exert impact on future generations through laying the groundwork for the child's
socialization and social adaptation.
Socialization is the process of learning the social roles, cultural adaptation and acquiring
the skills of social interaction. This is the process of entering the society by an individual
through acquired social experience, meeting social expectations, following norms and
values which are in demand for a successful life in the given society.
It is in the process of socialization that personal traits, knowledge and skills formulate
enabling the individual to partake in social relationships. Socialization occurs as the
individual becomes spontaneously influenced by various life circumstances as well as
through deliberate shaping of the individual makeup.
The spontaneous socialization covers companies of children and teenagers, the impact
of various prejudiced opinions, old customs and traditions. The depictions of children's
games by female Azerbaijani writers Umm-El-Banine and Shabnam Kheyrulla in the early 20th
and in the early 21st centuries respectively provide illustrative examples of the spontaneous
Umm-El-Banine: On holidays, we played our favorite game - the Armenian massacre.
Inflamed with racism, we lost our heads and sacrificed Tamara to our enmity and
hatred inherited from our ancestors. First, we hurled at her unfounded accusations
of killing Tatars and relished in several rounds of executing her by shooting. We
feasted our eyes upon the sight of her blood and then resurrected her again to kill
her by conventional means: we bound her hands and feet together, threw her on
the ground, first cut her tongue and then severed her head; to show our hatred to
her Armenian body, we carved out her heart and internal organs and threw them
to the dogs. After our wild rampage subsided, and there was nothing left of the
poor girl's body, we started dancing around her body waiving our wooden swords as
savages. If anyone passed by, we immediately helped Tamara to her feet and with
our tongues dry from fear, grabbed her hand and whirled around the garden singing
children's songs. She never dreamed of making any complaints against us because
we would have called her a snitch, a traitor and dirty Armenian; besides, she would
lose our company. No matter how much we insulted, humiliated and permanently
killed her, she couldn't live without our friendship[b].
Shabnam Kheyrulla: One of these days, I witnessed how the kids from our
neighborhood played tag in the street. I was so fascinated with the children's game
that I decided to watch. A girl of five or six, her brother one year younger and other
children of about the same age were crying noisily and merrily to decide who was to
run and who was to chase. After long bickering, they finally decided to assign roles
using a counting-out rhyme. I was about to walk on, but this counting-out rhyme
pronounced by the little girl drew my attention because of its unique and original
character. It is actually the reason why I set about telling you this story:
Vay-vay, it's cold,
Armenians are chickens,
Wherever you see an Armenian,
Put the bullet through his brain.
These words brought an involuntary smile to my lips. At the same time, it made me
wonder: can it be really true that at this early age our children already understand
who Armenians are, who the enemy is, and hate them? The thought was comforting,
but I was still incredulous[c].
Spontaneous impact may include one-time, non-recurrent emotional publications in the
press, single watching of a video, etc. They have a much weaker acceleration effect, but may
exert dramatic impact, especially if they can shock the child.
Deliberate socialization: this category covers special institutes of socialization, such as
nurseries, kindergartens, schools (with mandatory secondary education), vocational
schools, technical schools and universities. This list can be supplemented by all kinds of
public organizations. "All of these serve a single goal: align a young individual to the ideal
personal standard established by all societies. To a lesser or greater extent, it is always a
forcible process"... The sociologist names five principle ways of how an individual reacts to deliberate
socialization: submission, renewal of environment, ritualism, escapism, and creative revolt.
Later, I asked the 4-year-old son of my elder sister a question:[d]
– Who is an Armenian?
– A terrorist.
– Who is a terrorist?
– They kill children.
Then he came dragging a huge book entitled The Armenian Terror probably thinking
that it would be easier to explain if he showed me some photographs.
– All these children were killed by Armenians, he said, it's even on You Tube!
– How do you know all this?
– Grandma told me...
A 5-year-old girl at school:
A daughter of my friends gets ready for school and has
begun attending a nursery class. After she came home today, she told her mother
what they had been taught at school. The teacher gave them their third lesson.
– Armenians made us unhappy and miserable. Remember this, children.
Who are our enemies? Right, Armenians. Learn this well, I will surely ask you about it during the next lesson. Armenians slaughtered
our ancestors, completed her speech the 20-year-old teacher.
The girl's mother was left dumbfounded as she was told this. I also think that this is a
sad thing to happen: a 20-year old young teacher and the brain of a 5-year-old baby.
Why do you need to hammer this into the head of a 5-year-old girl?
The implication of Azerbaijani schools into the state propaganda presents the
perilous prospect of fostering a generation of vengeance brought up exclusively on
feelings of malice and hatred, with a traumatized mind.
In 1990s, we heard rumors that Armenians whispered into the ears of their newborn
children: Turks are your enemies. I don't know if the rumor was true, but back
then it made many of us feel sorry for Armenians. But as we can see, over time
people increasingly resemble their enemies.
Imagine that! Telling a 5-year-old child: "Armenians made us unhappy and miserable!
In the new Azerbaijani society with its warped set of values, children are brought up in line
with the new patriotic philosophy translated into the maxim: "If you love your motherland,
The groundwork for socialization is laid in early childhood starting from the moment of
forging relationships with peers, developing the perception and sense of self.
Sevinj Parvana, A Conversation in Passing:[e]
(a rhymed story in the form of a dialog for children aged 5-12)
– Don't cry, my little daughter. Let Armenian infants cry.
– Mummy, and where are Armenian infants?
– On the very bottom of hell.
– Why to let them cry? Shouldn't we pity them?
– No, no pity. Let the snake bite them, if I lie.
– The infants???
– Mother, I want to play with Armenian children, ha…
– No, no... I want to play with Armenian children
– No, you can't, my little daughter. They are far from us.
– How far? In the hell?
– Yes, in the hell.
– Where are the children themselves? Mother, can I play with them?
– No, my little daughter. They are bad children. We can't go to them. They will take
your toys away and break them.
– Why is that? Don't they have their own toys?
– They do, but they will want your toys. That's why they are so bad.
– will give my toys to them to play. They will give them back later.
– They won't give them back. They won't want to. They never give back what
– Then, I will not give them.
The socialization encompasses the process of indoctrinating mindsets, precepts and dictates
setting up a lifetime program.
G. Ibragimova:[f] I'll tell my son the whole truth without holding anything back. I'll
tell him: "Son, learn to distinguish good from bad. And remember that every nation
has both good and bad people; Armenians are the only nation which doesn't have
good people, or there are too few of them. The great poet A. S. Pushkin venerated
worldwide used the obscene word 'Armenian' whenever he disliked the person!"
And my main third covenant is the following:
"My son, listen and remember, Armenians are our deadly enemies. Don't leave your
enemy unavenged! If you meet an Armenian even in the most civilized country of the
world, treat him as a creature that sucked the blood of your people! Never forgive
the enemy! If you forgive, then let the bread of your motherland, your father's blood
and your mother's milk be cursed!!!".
It is amazing how the author of these lines genuinely believes herself to be a conscientious
and tolerant person.
< …> You call me chauvinist and accuse me of insulting the entire Armenian nation.
A writer accusing an entire nation would just belittle himself/herself. A conscientious
person would never venture to accuse an entire nation. All I do in my writings is to
exhort the children of my people to be vigilant and to keep away from Armenians.
The next stage of building armenophobia in Azerbaijan targets the young people and hinges
on natural fears already inculcated in childhood. The main message goes along these
lines: "Armenians take our places", "they bewitch our men", "Armenians are deformed
and depraved". In other words, this represents a classical form of demonization and
dehumanization of Armenians.
Chinara Vugar: <
> The mother who had financed Armenians in her time was now
marrying off her daughter, but burst into tears in apprehension: "Heaven save us, if
the fiancé finds out about it". <... > I was horrified and wondered how many are those
in Azerbaijan, whose manly blood mix with that that of dogs ... …> Ramil Safarov
axed an Armenian officer[g]. In the beginning, the people supported him, but then they
forgot about him. When Eynulla Fatullayev[h] was in prison, there were more people
grieving at him than at Ramil Safarov who had killed the Armenian serf. < …> So, for
example, the entire property of the former mayor of Baku Rafael Allahverdiyev went
to an Armenian woman, and what is left of it will go to a daughter he sired with her,
right? < …> The school subject of the Azerbaijani Language and Literature is taught
by 2 teachers of Armenian descent. They say that the headmaster of the aforesaid
school is also of Armenian origin, and although newspapers and the Internet contain
reports of this, we can't do anything about it. In fact, we only know that the school
is being destroyed because of the headmaster's position. Many massage parlors
located near the subway station May 28 are owned by mistresses of Armenian
origin. These Armenian women pull the Azerbaijani girls into depravity. < …> There
is much talk about Armenian women. The daughter of an Armenian senator leads
a dissolute life. The daughter of the Armenian singer Sher changed her gender, but
that's not all. Armenians who live in Azerbaijan undergo plastic operations on their
noses. Plastic surgeons excise the Armenian noses and turn them into Muslims. Also,
the Armenian Constitution does not prohibit prostitution. In fact, the women of this
nation are prostitutes, while the men are just "good-looking".
A special structure must be created within the Ministry of National Security to
scrutinize the population for the presence of Armenian blood. For instance, the
parents who want to marry their children should be able to file an inquiry with this
structure to find out if their future in-laws are related to Armenians by blood. Maybe
then we will be able to cleanse our blood from its mixing with the filthy Armenian
The statement of the people's artist of Azerbaijan and Armenia, singer Zeynab Khanlarova
in her commentary of the ethnically motivated gruesome murder by Ramil Safarova is a
glaring example of dehumanization, i.e. unabashed expression of contempt and readiness
to back and commit atrocities.
"He (Ramil Safarov) is a hero of not only Azerbaijan but the entire world. Monuments
must be erected in his honor. Not every man is capable of accomplishing what he
did. There are 2 heroes: one is Mr. Ilham Aliyev, and the other is Ramil Safarov. If I
were in Ramil's place, I would do the same. He took an Armenian's life and rightfully
Along all of the above, the woman's status of a mother and a respected community member is used to marginalize all interaction with Armenians.
Nazperi Dosteliyeva, people's artist of Azerbaijan: I can't bring myself to call
Azerbaijanis those who are in friendly correspondence with enemies who don't
know the meaning of humaneness. I don't know who they are. But as a citizen of my
country, as a mother and most importantly as a People's Artist of Azerbaijan, I won't
forgive these people.
Khalida Bayramova, chairman of the Commission for the Protection of Minors
and Juvenile Cases of the Sabail District of Baku: Maybe, for our future piece, we
must take some steps, but I'm against friendship with Armenians, because the one
who betrayed once, will never become a friend, and must be clearly marked as an
enemy. It is impossible to forget what Armenians did in Azerbaijan, and they, in their
turn, have nothing but hostile feelings towards us. There is a notion of pathological
hatred, and it seems that it is exactly the kind of hatred I feel for Armenians. For an
Azerbaijani or a Turk, there can be no good Armenian. It may be wrong, but that's
what I think!
The capacity to feel kindness and empathy, love or hatred, calm or aggression as well
as many other personal traits are instilled in an individual during childhood and remain
ingrained for a lifetime. In other words, the state armenophobic policy and propaganda are
planted into a fertile soil tilled by armenophobia and dating back to the years of childhood.
Shirin Kerimbeyli, Ahriman[i] of the Globe
Hey, Armenian, hey, cutthroat,
Devil, shaitan, tell me who are you?
The Ahriman of the globe
Hey, perfidious provocateur,
Hangman and criminal,
Isn't the blood you spilt enough?
Isn't the massacre over?
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[a] «Пояснение для маленькой Фидан». См. Application
[b] Третья Chapter книги «Кавказские дни». См. Application
[c] «Вражда по-азербайджански». См. Application
[d] The time when water flowed rapidly" See Attachment
[e] "Conversation on the run." See Attachment
[f] "Three instruction." See Attachment
[g] At night while he was asleep.
[h] Azerbaijani journalist sentenced to 8 years for his own interpretation of the Khojaly tragedy running counter to the official version; the journalist
acknowledged the existence of the humanitarian corridor and conjectured that the refugees had been shot by Azerbaijani gunmen.
[i]Ahriman is the spirit of evil and destruction in the Persian tradition, translator's note.