Happy childhood in spirit of hate
Tomorrow the hatred will concern you

Analysis by experts

Armine Adibekyan: Whom do we leave as legacy to our children?

Head of Xenophobia Prevention Initiative NGO Armine Adibekyan answers questions of Novoye Vremya correspondent

Please, tell us about the idea to create website.
- The idea to create such a website emerged back in 2009, during the creation of, website, also launched with the help of a very active and passionary group of volunteers from Open Armenia Worldwide Armenian forum. During the monitoring of materials about the tragedy of Khojaly residents near Aghdam, we discovered a countless number of children's paintings on that theme and were literally shocked by both their content and form. We started collecting them, planning to systematize, analyze and publish them in the future. Then our collection was "replenished" with materials on the state of children in the present-day Azerbaijani society, in particular facts of violence against children.

Another incentive to create the website was the work of activists from the Armenian forum to translate into Russian pieces of children's literature – verses, tales, stories, learning aids and workbooks. It became obvious that the collected materials were more than sufficient to create a website, so we got down to work. With the help of Samvel Martirosyan, a member of our initiative, we applied to the author of the translations, under the pen name Noi, asking a permission to publish his works on the new website. He not only gave his permission, but became an active member and inspirer of our creative team, guiding and correcting our activities.

That is how website was created.

What was the aim of the author team?
First, I would like to clarify my vision on Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. The point is that the post-war events showed that our problem is not only with the interpretation of facts, be they historical facts or events. In this context, it does not matter who tells the truth and who distorts the facts. The main point is the discord between declared and actual messages, which supposes development of a plan of action and its planned implementation.

Selective tolerance has long been solidly practiced in Azerbaijani society – the restoration of the so-called Albanian Autocephalous Church is accompanied by the closure of the Lezghin Mosque; broad advertising of tolerance "worthy of envy" goes side by side with labeling of people on the basis of their ethnicity, religion or sexual preference. The thesis that "all peoples are good," declared from the highest platforms, without fail, contains a "but," followed by the list of the nations headed certainly by the Armenians. Further, the uncomplimentary definitions depend on how and why representatives of one or another country and people did not please Azerbaijan and what kind of relations they have with Armenia and the Armenians. The Persians come second in the "list", followed by, alternating and replacing each other, the French (because of the much-talked-about "law of Sarkozy"), the Russians and, for some reason, the Jews with whom they have strategic relations – depending on the situation (the fascist lullaby – "grow up, grow up, kill the Arabs" – is ascribed to the Jews: editor).

However, it should not have mattered to us – after all, it's up to Azerbaijan to solve the problems regarding its tolerance, its practical use and relations with its neighbors, but for president Ilham Aliyev's well-known and hackneyed offer of a "wide autonomy to the Armenians within Azerbaijan." It is supposed that the new conditions for the Armenians would make their lives better than when they lived with Mother Armenia. In any case, this is what is verbally promised by MP Oruj, head of "Azerbaijani community of Karabakh" Bayram Safarov and country's president (don't you consider strange the generous offer to "show much kindness to the stepchild" in conditions of terror against its "own child?")

However, we see a direct contradiction between the reality and what is declared. Where to look for the truth? Who tells the truth and who is insincere?

We decided to address the most important component of each society – education of the generations targeting the future, which is, of course, reflected in children's and educational literature.

We decided to address the most important component of each society – education of the generations targeting the future, which is, of course, reflected in children's and educational literature.

Second, the website aims to inform the mediators and the international community that Azerbaijan lays the war and hatred for hundreds of years ahead, irrespective of how the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved today and what documents will be signed. 20 years later, the children educated in the spirit of Armenophobia will head that state and build relations with us.

How did the Azerbaijani side react to the questions you raised?
In an unoriginal way, regrettably. The entire traditional set was used – from "another Armenian mean act" ( to "it is a lie," "allegedly," "the Armenians aim to discredit the Azerbaijanis," as well as a well-known passage from the series "but they themselves…their children," and so on.

It is noteworthy that what made them indignant was not the presence of Armenophobic literature, but the fact that the Armenians, "out of insidiousness and meanness peculiar to them," made it public by translating it into Russian. By the way, the English translation is underway.

It is expressively described in Shabnam Kheyrullayeva's story Spy presenting children playing a game titled Soldier and Armenian, with the respective characteristics of the two heroes.
- "You see, children, that we have a guest. Please don't play your war game in the presence of our guest, will you?"
- "Why, mom? Are our voices heard too loudly? Do we disturb our guest?" Sabina asked.
- "No, daughter, your voices are not heard too loudly, but they are audible. You know, I have to tell you something. Your game may hurt madam Aliya hard."

Without denying that the translation is high quality, with every single detail preserved, and that the literature is written by Azerbaijani writers, they try to find justifications (after all you …"), comforting either us or themselves by saying that "this is still not all we could tell."

In this context, it is worth mentioning the words of writer Gulzar Ibrahimova, from her address,
"…you call me a chauvinist and accuse me of offending the entire Armenian people. The writer accusing the entire people only humiliates himself. A conscious person will never allow himself to accuse the entire people…" At the same time, she admonishes her literary son by saying, "Listen and remember, my son, the Armenians are our deadly enemies. Don't leave your enemy unavenged! When you meet an Armenian, even in the most civilized country of the world, treat him like a creature that drank the blood of your people!"

It is worth highlighting the publication in Musavat where experts not only give justifications and say that the true essence of the Armenians is not exposed fully, but also pour obviously dilettantish "facts" that are far from reality (it is worth mentioning the passage about "Moisey Khorenli" and Tork Angegh, which has nothing to do with the notion of "Turk").

We can understand the "offence and indignation" of Musa Qasimli – after all, he is the author of learning aids on history (that will be published on our website soon), he has to justify himself, while, to tell the truth, we failed to understand psychologist Elmina Kazimzade.

She gives as an example the generations in prewar Germany, educated on xenophobic textbooks, something which led to a national catastrophe, she declares that a "textbook must not be turned into a means of revenge," but she sums it up in the opposite way: "the history textbooks of conflicting countries should have different approaches while covering such topics…I think each side protects its own interests in this issue." Unacquainted with the content of Armenian textbooks, she, nevertheless, claims, taking some information as a basis, that "the Armenian textbooks lack peacefulness," as well as appeals to non-existing lullabies, quotes and facts.

There is one thing we agree with unreservedly: love for the homeland cannot and should not be measured by hatred for an entire people. What we see in present-day Azerbaijan is quite the opposite.

Quote: "The stories, written by an emotional and effective language, attract and lead the reader, and strengthen the hatred for the Armenians in children. These stories could play an invaluable and incomparable role in the military and patriotic education of the youth. (The reviewers of the learning aid, Gazanfar Kazimov, Doctor of Philology, Professor, and Masud Mahmudov, Doctor of Philology, Professor, deputy director of Institute of Linguistics after Nasimi under the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. (

Currently, we consider it expedient and useful to publish a storybook by A. Erogul with the stamp of the Education Ministry as an additional learning aid for students of comprehensive schools."
I reiterate that we do not view the issue in terms of who is right, who is to blame, who is good and who is bad. Our aim is to show and, first of all, to understand ourselves that given this state of things and this perspective, we are still going different ways and the issue of cohabitation is as doubtful and illusory as the interpretation of the notion of "tolerance" by Azerbaijani society.

In other words, what interests us is not "why" we are hated, what matters to us is the very fact of that hatred (with rejection of the right to anything for the Armenians), its propaganda, unwillingness to give it up and regular education in that spirit of those with whom our children will have to live. In that context, it makes no sense to appeal to the phrase "as regards you, it is even worse" (without indicating any exact source, case or fact) as it is we who are being forced to the "broadest autonomy" and the "idea of two communities," and they mask themselves with "tolerance having no analogues."

- Do you think such websites can have an influence on the public sentiments in Azerbaijan?
- Judging by the quantity, quality and level of the response, I do not cherish any illusion. But as the saying goes, hope…

- Is there any hope that Azerbaijan will revise the education methods for the next generations?
- It is a difficult question. We are absolutely far from thinking that the entire Azerbaijani society is infected with Armenophobia. Rarely, publications are found attempting to analyze the discord between the declared and actual things, but for the time being they are harshly criticized and opposed by the public and the establishment. Let's hope that the number of such people will increase and long-awaited peace will fall to the share of our children.