The Azeris: Vagif Mustafazadeh

He was born on March 16, 1940 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He started playing jazz when it was still banned in Soviet Union as the “music of capitalists”.

He won first prize at the 8th International Competition of Jazz Composers for his composition “Waiting for Aziza” inMonaco in 1978, a year before he died.

He had a heart attack during his concert in Tashkent 30 years ago.

Both of his daughters Aziza and Lala are well-known musicians now.

This is the music he left for us.

Baki Gejeleri (Baku nights)

Dushunjeler (Thoughts)

Also Fantaziya, Gelmedi and many more.

More about Vagif Mustafazadeh on Wiki

Karabakh conflict a.k.a. Eurovision contest

So, yesterday after few margaritas we decided to join the Eurovision Party organized by a close friend of mine.

We arrived at the place, ordered drinks, took pictures, listened to the songs, which, I have to admit, were mostly much better than all the other Eurovision contests I remember.

Anyway, then came the Armenian girls.
The crowd started whistling, boo-ing and finally demanded that the organisators turn off the sound. They did. Armenian girls danced and opened their mouths in total silence to the accompaniment of Azerbaijani whistling. As I expected such thing to happen, the only question I asked my friends was: “Is it gonna help return the lands?”. Of course, no one have had the answer.

Then there were Turkish chick and Azerbaijani legs with Arash jumping up and down around them. Have to admit, Aysel looked gorgeous.

And of course, my favourite Norwegian who kicked the big Eurovision ass with his simple but adorable song and forget-about-your-boyfriend smile.

When the traditionally predictable voting started the crowd stood up on their feet cursing one countries and making plans on visiting the most generous to Azerbaijan ones. They were happy to discover they are still alowed to love Ukraine and Netherlands.

I didn’t notice the picture Sirusho held in her hands but I saw it today on TV and it made me think. I finally realized that there’s no chance for this region to become a civilized one unless we rewrite the whole history which makes us all think we’re fucking special.

We might have had plenty of lands and legendary kings but what do we have today? 3 major and several minor conflicts in a tiny region and headlines in the world news? Is this something to be proud of? Are hating-the-neigbor zombie generations good future for us? Not for me or the kids I will eventually have. Not for any of us.

Perhaps, it’s time to switch from Kindergarten approach to the real Conflict Resolution one, don’t you think?

Our kids need fairytales not war tales, love, not hatred.

Our kids deserve the peaceful happiness we have never had.

Azeri lullaby by Shovket Alakbarova

The "A" word

My granma used to say this word “ayibdi” – shameful.

She would use it if we talked loudly, asked innapropriate questions or get into school fights. “Ayibdi” was an important part of her personality, hence, identity. Frankly, this scary word is a part of every Azerbaijani.

Married women should not stay out late, wear mini skirts, have male friends or talk about their sex lives even to their husbands. Girls should not chat to neighbor guys, talk late on the phone or let male colleagues give them a lift. “Ayibdi”. Although there are much less limitations for men, the “A” word still has strong influence on them.

“Ayibdi” is a moral limit, a code of society rules which u can not cross in order to be a good respected citizen.

So, the only thing that bothers me nowadays is the immorality we came to by keeping up this code. We care about insignificant things limiting freedoms of our children and forget about what is really important.

Do we respect ourselves for accepting bribes? For detaining innocents? For screwing our own country? For being a part of the destructive system? For keeping silence?

Why isn’t this “ayib”?

Two days after the arrest

1. Along with the supportive crowd, some critical groups showed up already. “U had a quite celebration after the release. Does it go along with the “we want mourning” protest?” they ask. I have nothing to answer, except “Did u ever try to spend 3 hours with stupid policemen and panicking women?”. Some of the friends say “At least they JOINED the protest”.

2. Every person who starts a conversation with me says “I’m sorry, I was at the countryside that day and couldn’t join u”. Didn’t u know, that a lot of protest actions were planned for Sunday. Why would you leave then?

3. There are also some smart asses asking us “Was it necessary? U’re lucky they didn’t beat u up or so”. So? U prefer to be afraid while some people think otherwise.

4. Police came to my house to “check the registrations” asking my mom questions about me.

The Book


There are a lot of great people living here today – the best Azerbaijanis, who despite the challenges they have to face every day, still live, love, create, fight and even do business here.

One of these people is Nigar Kocharli – my dear friend and a very extraordinary and smart person. She is the owner of Ali&Nino bookstores and also one of the most popular azeri bloggers (nigar.livejournal.com).

Several months ago she came up with an idea to mix favorite job and the hobby. According to her plan the most talented azeri bloggers had to write a fiction story (or 2) each and send it to the editorial board, which was supposed to select the best ones in turn. As the project has been launched not only her friends but some already famous young azeri and non-azeri writers expressed their willing to participate.

Editorial board had a really hard time choosing among beautiful stories of talented writers. However, today, the book is ready. It has a creative cover, good quality and a very special meaning for all of us.

Today, we salute Nigar for making us proud.
Today, we’re gonna participate in a presentation of the book in her Ali&Nino book cafe at 7 PM.

Everyone is welcome to come!

Intro

I did it.

Onnik spent a lot of time convincing me it’s important to have a blog in english. Well, my friend, I finally made it here.

So, my yet non-existing friends, today was a very special day for me – I finally got to see Azerbaijani police department, or how we call it “otdeleniye”.
But let me start with a little intro.

Azerbaijan is a young post-soviet country, which fought for its independence for ages and thanks to Gorbachev, finally got it almost 20 years ago. Many things happened since.

We lost Karabakh and our friendship with neighbor Armenia became a history, which led to many broken families, killed civilians and other tragedies on both sides of the border.

After “father” a.k.a “national granpa” a.k.a “nationwide leader” Heydar Aliyev came back as a President in 1993 we immidiatelly attracted world’s biggest oil companies and piles of money in addition.

Hence, today we have a lot of rich ministers, rich relatives of the ministers, ancestral totalitarian regime, monopoly, corruption and so on. But we have McDonalds here, for what it’s worth.

Anyway.
Today I’ve been dragged to the police station for walking with flowers on Flower Day. Ridiculous, u say? I agree. Read this if u’re interested in more details and pictures from today’s arrests.

10th May 2009 was a very special day for me.

Welcome to my blog.

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