Spring 2002 (10.1)
of the YDnet Community
by Javid Huseynov
The Yeni Dostlar Network (New Friends
Network) (YDnet) began in 1995 as an informal network of Azerbaijani
college students e-mailing each other about living abroad. Today,
this forum has grown to include subscribers of all ages from
around the world and serves as an important medium of information
exchange among Azerbaijanis, especially in regard to political
developments that affect Azerbaijan.
Javid Huseynov became actively involved with the forum in 1995,
during his undergraduate study in the United States. Javid, 26,
is now a Ph.D. student and research/teaching assistant in the
Information and Computer Science department at the University
of California - Irvine. Here he traces the remarkable development
of the YDnet community over the past five years.
Before I came to the U.S. as an exchange student in 1995, I had
only heard about the Internet through international magazines.
In the fall of 1995, I received an e-mail from Nofal Rezayev,
a fellow student in Texas asking me to join a small online discussion
group, an initiative apparently started by a few Azerbaijani
students in America. And so I became one of the first few members
of the initial Dostlar (Friends) forum, also referred to as E-Majlis-L
When Nofal completed his studies and returned to Baku in 1996,
Adil Baghirov took over the online initiative. Young, aggressive
and a nationalist at heart, Adil was able to formalize the list
by establishing two educational Listserv accounts at the University
of Southern California (USC). I joined Adil in managing these
newly born lists: Habarlar-L@usc.edu
for news and E-majlis-L@usc.edu
The idea for these lists came out of our understanding of the
purpose and future of Internet technology: communicating. We
were encouraged by the fact that we were the first wave of Azerbaijani
students in America, and we felt that we needed to communicate
and keep in touch with each other. Many of our first exchanges
back in 1996 were about our impressions of studying in America.
News and Discussion
Habarlar-L, the first-ever Azerbaijani and regional online news
distribution list, is a convenient, fast and easy way to receive
the day's news about Azerbaijan - all in one e-mail. One of the
list moderators, Kevin Miller at Indiana University, works to
increase the quality and range of Habarlar-L news. Other list
moderators include myself, Taleh Ziyadov of Beloit College in
Wisconsin and Adil Baghirov of Los Angeles. Our news audience
today ranges from ambassadors, news agencies, government officials
and NGOs to professors, scholars and students worldwide. Habarlar-L
has been quoted in several news sources and press releases and
has become a useful source of information for more than 1,000
In August 2001, we started the Habarlar-Int listserv, an extension
of Habarlar-L that distributes news in Azeri, Turkish and Russian.
The audience for this list is also on the rise, thanks to the
work of list moderator Taleh Ziyadov.
E-Majlis-L, the first Azerbaijani discussion listserv, was founded
in 1995-96. At first, it was the only such list on the Internet
and therefore attracted almost every Azerbaijani worldwide who
was plugged into the Internet community. Today, there are many
more groups to choose from. YDnet is the continuation of E-Majlis-L,
a closed, restricted, un-moderated discussion network dedicated
to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis. The official languages of YDnet
are English (preferred) and Azeri. Turkish and limited transliterated
Russian may also be used under certain circumstances.
YDnet is a medium for discussions on a breadth of Azerbaijan-related
issues: culture and arts; history; religion; Karabakh, Nakhchivan
and Zangazur; genocide; economics and business; politics; humanitarian
aid and refugees; education, science and research; travel, tourism
and geography; the military; sports and entertainment; and Internet
trends and developments in Azerbaijan.
In our intense discussions, we naturally run into differences
of opinion - both major and minor - which can have either a positive
or negative effect on YDnet. When there is mutual understanding
and tolerance among the members, the community is strengthened
and productive. When these qualities do not exist, the community
keeps dividing itself along opinion and temper lines, becoming
counter-productive and even damaging in some cases.
Most of our differences have been based on issues related to
the internal problems and politics of Azerbaijan. As an active
member and moderator of YDnet, I strongly believe that for an
online community of Azerbaijani diaspora, the internal politics
of Azerbaijan should not be a major issue, but a minor point
of discussion. Those of us who live abroad should unite and defend
the interests of our country, not those of particular political
Through these continuous transformations, unifications and divisions,
today we have a strong, unified and productive kernel: Yeni Dostlar
(YDnet), now an official online forum of the Azerbaijan Society
of America (ASA). YDnet is the driving force behind a wide range
of actions taken to defend the interests of Azerbaijan.
Our members continuously monitor the media and provide interesting
articles for discussion. We have a small number of activists
who monitor online media sources and post related articles to
YDnet. Members express their views, exchange ideas and suggest
possible protest or appreciation letters (depending on the content)
directly to the publication or the editor.
When unjust articles about Azerbaijan appear in the international
media, we raise our united voices to counter Armenia propaganda.
I would like to specifically mention Liz Fuller from Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, who is on our protest "black list"
for her frequent, clearly biased pro-Armenian reports, which
misrepresent Azerbaijan. She and her agency receive many letters
from YDnet members.
List member Adil Baghirov wrote a letter to Reuters to criticize
the wire service for repeatedly labeling the Nagorno-Karabakh
War as a conflict between "Christian Armenia" and "Muslim
Azerbaijan." Azerbaijan has no official state religion,
Adil pointed out, and religion was not a relevant factor in the
war. [To read Adil's letter, see AI 5.2, Summer 1997. SEARCH
YDnet is at the forefront of letter-writing campaigns to the
U.S. Congress, asking it to defend Azerbaijani interests. The
core members of YDnet compose letters to send to Congress; these
letters are then submitted en masse by YDnet members. Normally,
one of us prepares a draft and a list of contacts, but members
are free to write their own letters as well. Once prepared, letters
are submitted via e-mail, mail or fax.
I'm sure that YDnet has a lot of room to grow. I think that in
the near future, YDnet will be more integrated with ASA as an
official organization. This will allow our forum to become more
influential in representing Azerbaijan and uniting our community
in America and worldwide. There are many Azerbaijanis coming
to the U.S. every year to live, study or work. We hope to develop
this network so that Azerbaijanis abroad will have ties to strengthen
To subscribe to the Habarlar-L
list, e-mail a request to: email@example.com
or visit the group's Web page: http://scf.usc.edu/~baguirov/azeri/
habarlar-l.htm. To subscribe to the Habarlar-Int (International)
list, e-mail a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the group's Web page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/habarlar-int.
To subscribe to the Yeni Dostlar (New Friends) Network (YDnet),
e-mail a request to: YDnet-subscribe
@yahoogroups.com or visit the group's Web page: http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/YDnet.
Back to Index
AI 10.1 (Spring 2002)
| AI Store | Contact us
Other Web sites
created by Azerbaijan International
AZgallery.org | AZERI.org | HAJIBEYOV.com