Place of birth: My land


When I was 11 I went with my best friend and her sister to her granpa’s place. We had a great time talking about books and tales of his life, listening to the poems in Farsi. I absolutely loved him. At some point I mentioned that both of my granpas have passed away (one of them even before I was born). He turned to me and said: “Then, I will be your “baba” (granpa), u can call me that”. And I do, ever since.

While reading my previous posts you’ve probably been wondering why am I so negative and critical about Azerbaijan. My answer is: the same reason our parents would punish us for bad behaviour – they knew we could do better.

But I must admit – there are reasons that keep me attached to this land of injustice, stubborness and stereotypes. The natural acts of love led by “want” not “must”.

Yes, Azerbaijan can be in the middle of nowhere, but it is also a place where people never keep feelings to themselves and argue so loudly their neighbors get deaf. And this is actually the best therapy.

Where orphans don’t usually get abandonned but are raised by the realtives of their late parents and aging parents are always looked after by their kids.

Where you never feel lonely, because there’s always someone to call and meet up. And wherever you go there’s always someone you know. Some might call it a lack of privacy but for me these are the memories of the best spontaneous hang outs.

Where it is a summer tradition to gather all the close realtives and friends under one roof on “bagh” (summer house), feed them with kabab, watermelon with white cheese, samovar tea and endless types of “murebbe” (jam) every weekend. And, of couse, guests are always welcome to stay over.

Where your DJ friends cheer you up by saying “hi” live on radio, reading your MSN messages as if they were from listeners and make you laugh so hard you actually fall down the chair and forget about the sleepless night and the overwhelming day.

Where people secretly miss their armenian friends and neighbors using internet to stay in touch and celebrate Muslin, Christian, heathen and Hallmark 🙂 holidays because this land has always been multiethnic and synergic.

One of my late granpas was a public prosecutor. Every single day after work he would travel to the bordering town to bring Moscow sweets for his niece. He would also take care of the aging mother of some guy he had to imprison by buying her grocery every week for several years until the day he drowned. He never told anyone. The woman showed up crying at the funeral and told the whole story to his family.

So, yes, we can be stubborn, passive, childish but I know we can do better.

And I will never stop hoping for the change.

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    • Ani
    • June 3rd, 2009

    Criticism is the sincerest form of love. Beautiful post, Nigar!

    • Myrthe
    • June 3rd, 2009

    Lovely post, Nigar.

    Don't ever stop hoping for change or contributing your small part towards making your beloved country a better place. 😉

    • Fatalin
    • June 3rd, 2009

    Thank you, girls, I really appreciate 🙂

    • Rashad Elli
    • June 3rd, 2009

    It is moving. So heartfelt and true. This is what also keeps me here after so much being abroad.
    Actually, I believe nations are very similar in a sense. There are just particular periods of ups and downs. And committed and courageous individuals are always there to help and push things forward.
    Thank you tons!

    • bartwoord
    • June 3rd, 2009

    It is also the country where friends sacrifice a productive day of work and a blogging seminar in order for a crazy Dutchman to get his luggage back!

    • Fatalin
    • June 3rd, 2009

    :)))))))) this crazy Dutchman is more Azeri (in the very best way) than many azeris I know, so you and you huge red luggage are always welcome :))

    • Myrthe
    • June 4th, 2009

    Haha! I guess Dutch people are like chameleons, very adaptive to their surroundings, they'll blend in in no time! :-)))) People always tell me I have become Armenian. My answer is always the same: We'll have to bargain about that. I'm willing to go up to half Armenian, that's the maximum. The other half will always stay Dutch.

    Nigar, I wish more people were as constructively critical or as caringly critical about their country and their people as you are.

    • scaryazeri
    • June 4th, 2009

    I absolutely loved this one. Very moving and very good. Very, very good. well done, and I am proud of you ( not in a patronizing way at all!!!)

    It is stunning we still have young people like you in Azerbaijan. While we do, there is hope. Very slight, but yet- we do..

    • Rashad Elli
    • June 4th, 2009

    Unfortunately, many bright and smart people (I mean not only intellectuals, but also a lot of people with good enrepreneural skills) leave the country nowadays. This is what makes me most frustrated. I dont say that moving to a better place is bad. Obama's father moved to US and raised a boy like Barack, who might do a lot of good for the rest of the humanity. US history is based on immigration

    The bad thing for me is that people leave in masses and when we need them the most. They dont see future here and they leave.

    I was talking to a Turkish friend of mine, who said after coup'd'etat in Turkey (September 12, 1980) a lot of bright people left Turkey. They never came back. May be few of them.

    Today we leave. When we need us the most. Reality is too obvious. No place for romanticism anymore. But will we ever come back?

    • Fatalin
    • June 4th, 2009

    Scaryazeri, thank you tons, I really appreciate! For what it's worth, ur blog was one of those to inspire me to create my own 🙂

    • Fatalin
    • June 4th, 2009

    Rashad, one day. Hopefully.

    • Nata
    • June 7th, 2009

    This is a very sweet post. I keep going between idealizing Baku to reviewing the terrible things that people do to each other and not sure which side wins. I know I could never go back there for more than a visit. Yet I know I left a part of me there, forever.

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