Azerbaijani opposition online Meydan TV published an article in the frameworks of “Tabooed themes of the South Caucasus” project, in which the stories of the Armenian-Azerbaijani families and their children’s representatives, as well as the challenges following the interethnic conflicts blazed up in the region are narrated.
As for the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, the article represents the lives of children born to mixed marriages, when the father is Azerbaijani, and the mother – Armenian: a woman named Sofia in Azerbaijan and a man named Felix in Armenia.
“It was not easy for Sofia to tell her story, because many hurtful events she would not want to remember have remained in her memory since her adolescence and her life in Baku after the Karabakh conflict,” the article reads.
“Everything changed in almost one day. All the Armenians became enemies just by default. It surprised and scared me very much at that time. I was 12 or 13, and I realized that it was absurd. My mother, a native Baku woman, who had never ever been to Armenia, suddenly became an undesirable person in the society,” Sofia says. As a result, a “permanent and steady feeling of guilt and fear” appeared in her.
Sofia felt guilt because she was reckoned among enemies, and fear because someone may look at her and ask: you are so fair, are you really a native Azerbaijani? According to Sofia, she often had to lie and say that she was native, or that her mother was Russian.
They did not leave out the problem of her mother’s sisters. When the conflict began, they had to be moved to their Azerbaijani father’s house, while people were running after the car and throwing stones at it. “My aunts lived several months with us, then they left abandoning everything, even their apartment,” she says noting that being protected by her father, her mother was almost condemned to house arrest: for about two years, she did not come out of the house, even for shopping.
According to Sofia, after the conflict began, Armenians, Jews, sometimes Russians left Baku, new neighbors occupied their places, and even minor domestic conflicts with them led to considering them enemies. “They really hated us. My sister and I did not feel comfortable to go out to the yard, and talk to others. We felt a constant fear of hearing the horrible word ‘Ermenidi’ (Armenian),” she recalls.
Three years after the beginning of the conflict, Sofia’s father — unable to stand the humiliations — died from infarction. It was the time when she could already get a passport. “I think he felt the constant fear in which we lived even more than we did. He felt responsibility for his women; however, he could not do anything,” she says remembering how the employee of the passport office addressing him informally reprimanded the grown-up man as a guilty child for “marrying an Armenian woman.”
After a while, being unable to stand such treatment, Sofia’s father died from infarction. And the nationality of her mother hung over her as a shadow. As a result, in order not to hear that horrible “Ermeni” any more and not to twitch when hearing that word, Sofia escaped from Azerbaijan, and her mother stayed in Baku.
Nowadays there is a situation in Azerbaijan when “half-Armenian enemies” are an absolute and vast majority. They start to look for Armenian roots in everyone who calls upon normal treatment towards people not guilty of the conflict. “I can be silenced with one word: your mother is Armenian! This is the phrase, against which my every logical argument will crash,” Sofia says.
Half-Azerbaijani, half-Armenian Felix Aliyev’s “reflecting” life story is also presented in the article. He lived all his life in the Armenian city Etchmiadzin.
“I did not change anything: neither my Azerbaijani surname, nor the country named Armenia,” Felix says.
A celebrated weightlifting coach in Armenia, who has brought up many generations of champions and Masters of Sports of international level, he is sure that he will give new world champions to the country, and that the world is yet to hear of Armenia. According to Felix Aliyev, he is Askar Aliyev’s (a famous and respected clarinetist in Etchmiadzin) descendant, the musical instrument of whom is still preserved by his son.
“We lived in peace and harmony. We brought up three children, a son and two daughters. My father-in-law was very upset during the interethnic clashes. However, his neighbors and friends used to say: ‘Ali jan, you are a good person, do not worry, we will not allow them to offend you. They will not even touch a hair on your head!’,” Felix Aliyev’s wife, Julietta, says adding “And really, nobody offended our family.”
At the beginning of the conflict, Felix Aliyev did not change his surname, which his grandchild uses now, and he did not think of leaving the country. “I would not respect myself if I changed my surname. I am the bearer of my father’s surname. However, I would not have left Armenia. This is my country. Only scums can leave their families,” he says adding that he could only leave Armenia if his students turned their back on him.
Felix has relatives in Azerbaijan, however, he does not hold any contacts with them.
It is noted in the article that once, when a friend of Felix’s father learnt that he continued to live in Etchmiadzin, he was shocked.
Now Felix Aliyev already has five grandchildren. His two daughters are married and live in Etchmiadzin, and his son Vladik Aliyev – Master of Sports in weightlifting – lives in Ukraine. His son, again Felix Aliyev, became Ukraine’s champion in junior weightlifting in 2015. Felix’s two grandchildren will soon go to the army.
“The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict changed everything but our family,” Felix Aliyev’s wife says adding that he is a wonderful person, and that she is very happy with him.
The problem of the “secret” Armenians and searches for their guilt in craftiness is quite a relevant topic in Azerbaijan. An “admixture of Armenian blood” is found in every scandalous person disagreeable for the authorities, and they face persecution later on. For example, at different times, opposition journalist Khadija Ismayilova, Gyulyar Ahmedova, who was arrested on bribery charges, Rashad Mammadov – the former head of the National Flag Square and “Azimport” company, and many others were found to have Armenian relatives.
According to Jumshud Nuriyev, an Azerbaijani political analyst, who holds PhD in political science, the Karabakh conflict will remain unresolved as long as people who have “Armenian blood in their veins” work in state institutions, and the unresolved conflict is the result of the Armenians’ activities who changed their documents.
According to Azerbaijani opposition newspaper Musavat, Armenophobia became a nation-wide activity in Azerbaijan and has reached such an extent that for a easy stay in this country one needs only to accuse someone that he is either “Armenian” or has “pro-Armenian views. At the same time, no one needs any proof, you just have to blame a person to become the favorite of the power. “Cases of no-Armenophobia are only a result of obligations towards the West. If a person will show hatred towards Armenians, the West would not cooperate with him,” the newspaper concludes.
According to Azerbaijani media recently in articles and stories about Armenia and the Armenians published in the press the insulting speech, swearing and unflattering remarks is increasing. In early November, the head of the Examining Division, programming and analysts of the National Television and Radio Council of Azerbaijan TavakkyulDadashov in turn called on Azerbaijani media to continue using insulting speech in the articles about Armenia.