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

Through the Looking Glass

What does the Azerbaijani intelligentsia think about website?

This time, has addressed the following questions to a number of writers:

  • What do our writers think about the new anti-Azerbaijani website?
  • What is the reason why there is no quality website on children’s literature in Azerbaijan so far?
  • What should the Writers Union of Azerbaijan do in this direction?
  • Why do we again trail along at the back and have to respond and justify ourselves?

The following writers respond to the website's questions:
-Hafiz Mirza
- Naringul
- Ibrahim Ilyas
- Babak Goyush
- Faig Balabeyli
- Kenan Haji
- Zhalya Ismail
- Alig Nagioglu
- Akbar Gojali
- Javidan

Writer and publicist Hafiz Mirza replied with a question:
“Listen, do we have even one normal website to talk about a website on children’s literature?” he exclaimed angrily.

“A real, high-level literature website or newspaper should present their reader with a literate, efficient and interesting PR, build business on it and pay adequate fees to the authors. Do we have even one such website? So, how can we talk about a children’s website?  I even doubt that there is a worthy literature for adults. It is a difficult and laborious job to create a worthy and high-quality website for children. A writer should be formed in this field, not every scribbler should intrude into it. For instance (I don’t want to mention a name), a female writer who writes erotic poems cannot write anything worthy for children, while this is exactly how our children’s stories are written.

I think the state itself, not only the Writers Union, should be seriously focused on children’s literature. For absence of children’s literature today will lead to absence of literature in general tomorrow. This process should be started from kindergartens and elementary schools. Instead of distributing pensions to some of its members, the Writers Union should carry out new projects and conduct competitions, and at least create one normal children’s website with those funds.

There is much that can be done, and what is needed is resources and will.”

Member of Writers Union of Azerbaijan, poetess Naringul:
“Naturally, the Armenians again carried out their malevolent mission. This should not be surprising to us. For so many years, we have been witnessing their massive anti-Azerbaijani propaganda. Our propaganda is a closed one, we do not carry out a global-level propaganda. But they have united against Azerbaijan and fight with a common goal.

The problems existing in our children’s literature are also reflected in the website they have created. The Writers Union should gather together experts on children’s literature and carry out major reforms. Ignoring the attacks of the Armenians, we should carry out an independent policy to bring our culture and literature to the international community. It should not be forgotten that moral defeat is an insurmountable obstacle on the way to victory.”

Poet and translator Ibrahim Ilyasnoted that he had never dealt with the children’s sector of the Writers Union: 

“For many years I have cooperated with Altun Kitab and Gelem publishing houses in the sector of children’s literature. I translate books from Turkish. There is an interest from readers (buyers). It is regrettable that we have no website on children’s literature. I have never dealt with the sector of children’s literature of the Writers Union of Azerbaijan.”

Writer Babak Goyush:

“I don’t want to speak long about the new anti-Azerbaijani website – – created by the Armenians. For the Armenians very often launch websites like this and each time we have to defend and justify ourselves and respond. I think it is time to start real information warfare against the Armenians. To this end, it is necessary to create websites, not only on children’s literature, but also in all sectors of public requirements, and publicize them. We should not try to find out again who is to blame for the fact that the Armenians leave us behind and it is no good blaming either the state or the private companies. To surpass the Armenians and gain superiority in that fight, we just need to have a state concept. If we have no state concept, then Karabakh will be in the hands of the Armenians for many years.”

Poet Faig Balabeyli is very positive about the new website on children’s literature:

“On the whole, every step serving our literature should be encouraged. The only complaint to the website founders is that they did it so late. Each of us should be interested in propaganda and PR of our literature to the extent of his powers and abilities. Anyhow, in the future, it will serve our people’s propaganda. Quite often, we remember our writers and their works only on their birthdays. The children’s literature department of the Writers Union of Azerbaijan should provide support in this issue in every way possible”.

Writer Kenan Haji thinks that although there is a sector of children’s literature at the Writers Union of Azerbaijan, nothing is being done in this direction.

“That sector has not done a hand's turn in practice and has so far done nothing for children’s literature.
A resource base is needed for the creation of high-level children’s websites, but unlike the Armenians, we do not have it. We have no structure to seriously deal with children’s literature. A push is needed to make progress in this sector, but we do not have it. That is why we only have to record another propaganda move by the Armenians.”

Writer Zhalya Ismail thinks that the creation of website and its presentation to million-strong Russian audience in this way should become a lesson for us. “We should not allow anyone to outstrip us, translate our works and present them to foreign readers from the perspective they want. We should be masters of our own literature. Because of the absence of a common concept of children’s literature and common state policy, we do everything spontaneously – from creating works to presenting them to readers. We stew in our own juice. A common clear system should be worked out when it comes to the education of an entire generation. Our textbooks are prepared based on tastes and preferences of authors. There are neither literary values nor idea nor goal and there is a laissez-faire attitude towards the process. In short, we were again defeated by our enemies in this matter.”

WriterAlig Nagioglu, said after visiting the website yesterday:
“The dishonest Armenians, dying of hunger, did a huge work. Look, from our classics to modern writer-publicists, they included everything and put it to the service of their own ideology and propaganda. The translations are high quality. The reason that our neighbors surpassed us again is that we do not have any high-level children’s websites. I regret very much that the first one who sounded the alarm was a female writer and not the Writers Union of Azerbaijan that preferred keeping silent.”

Akbar Gojalichairman of the World Union of Young Turkish Writers, noted with bitterness:
“Did our relevant bodies know about this website and if they knew, what measures did they take? I don’t know whether or not the sector of children’s literature of the Writers Union of Azerbaijan is doing something, but at least after the Armenians created a website like this, it should get down to respective projects in earnest. Meanwhile, the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Culture should get involved and support new projects for children and youth and creation of virtual space for Azerbaijani youth.”

WriterJavidan thinks that “we are a people that do not like speaking to children in their language and shirk painstaking. For instance, there is a chasm between a Russian and Azerbaijani mother (in terms of their readiness for self-sacrifice) in the sense of their elementary readiness and ability to respond in detail to numerous questions of children – “why,” “where …from,” “who,” etc. It is an entire encyclopedia of life for children and numerous bright and colorful Russian books for preschool children are in themselves an entire school of life.
However, we, as if sleeping in a paradise, from the moment of our birth up to preparation for departing to the other world, as if stick to one age – somewhere between 17 and 25 years.

I try to buy for my children, even by ordering, pieces of world and European children’s literature, also using  libraries. A remarkable occurrence happened once. One day, in order not to come home empty-handed, I bought a book of children’s stories by a modern Azerbaijani writer and what do you think happened then?

After leafing through the book, my children abandoned it and later gave it to our distant relatives. I looked through the book and made sure that under the guise of children’s literature, it was an uninteresting set of meaningless words which did not bear even a slight resemblance to literature. I was happy that I had cultivated a taste for true literature in my children. Meanwhile, it was a bitter consciousness of pain and problems and of course, as a writer I consider it my problem as well.

Admittedly, we have no true, high-quality literature that can be called children’s literature. But what will happen tomorrow – this is what we should think about!