Winter 2001 (9.4)
Experiences - These Past Ten Years
First of all, let's be clear that - given the timing and circumstances
of the period - the Soviet Union had no option other than to
collapse, as the breakup of dictatorships was an ongoing phenomenon
taking place throughout the world at that time. Since I had graduated
from the Institute of Foreign Languages [now University], I imagine
that I would still have been regarded as an average provincial
Soviet citizen with limited rights and no national identity,
just like any other Azerbaijani.
On that note, my career development would have been related strictly
to my behavior within the Communist Party. Thank God, that didn't
turn out to be the case.
As I carefully watched and studied the disintegration of the
Soviet Union and Azerbaijan's move toward independence, I find
it difficult to identify any single issue that seems hard to
accept, except for one tiny detail. Even though both Russia and
Azerbaijan have already been recognized as sovereign states with
their own national attributes, and both have become members of
numerous international organizations, Azerbaijan still faces
enormous pressure from Russia, as if nothing has changed, as
if Moscow still enjoys the privilege of being a power center
for its former satellites. That very feeling of being independent
but still having to face such outside pressure has been the hardest
pill to swallow.
But in general, I can say that I have seen the rays of freedom
shine all over this country. Azerbaijanis may now choose their
own way to coexist among the community of other nations that
have long enjoyed what no money could possibly buy - freedom!
"Rome was not built in a day," as they say. I'm hoping
that I will be in a position to tell my grandchildren how difficult
and troublesome it was to achieve what we have today, and how
strong and committed they must be to preserve this freedom. They
must make every effort to strengthen our independence and enjoy
every single aspect of it, just as my generation does today,
despite all of the hardships we cope with.
Azerbaijan's geopolitical location speaks for itself. In my view,
Azerbaijan is very well situated to deal with and overcome any
given problem if the nation is, indeed, united. As for long-term
challenges over the next ten years, we will need very strong,
dedicated leaders to develop state institutions such as the Parliament,
pass legislation, strengthen the economy and tightly consolidate
the remote regions. Even though Azerbaijan is considered part
of Asia, in my view, we belong to Europe. Therefore, Azerbaijan
ought to continue its fierce struggle to be more closely integrated
into the Western world. It goes without saying that integration
into the world community should be backed by strong internal
and external forces. For me, the security and prosperity of this
nation are the primary areas in which we should concentrate our
efforts, if we really want to succeed. God willing, we will.
(9.4) Winter 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2002. All rights reserved.
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