Summer 2003 (11.2)
Make My Mistake
This is the first time
I've ever written a letter like this and dared to express my
fears, mistakes and feelings so sincerely from the depths of
my heart. I write with a pen name here because many people know
me in Baku. I hope you'll understand.
Now I'm living in the country that so many young people in Azerbaijan
dream about. Before coming here to the United States, my expectations
were completely different. My naivete and misunderstandings about
the American reality and Western values led me to make enormous
mistakes in my life.
Let me speak from personal bitter experience. For many Azerbaijanis,
America seems like a carefree country-a place where you can do
whatever you want and where all your dreams come true. For me,
America was a land of alcohol, cigarettes, a land where you could
try drugs and have sex with anyone you wished. Some American
men, as well as westernized Azerbaijanis, have contributed to
But after living here some time, I realize that my perceptions
about America were nothing more than ideas gleaned from movies
and stories told by people, who simply lied to get something.
Many young girls don't know the real situation here across the
ocean and naively accept what they hear as truth.
I realize now that America is basically a conservative country.
The American style of life that you see in the movies is not
real. The things that our youth try to imitate simply don't exist
anywhere, even in the U.S. itself. Blindly trying to imitate
these things, we don't become "western"-we become nothing.
In America, people strive to preserve traditions, build strong
families and pass down heritage and customs through the generations-just
as we do in our country. People are basically the same everywhere
and want similar things in life-family and love.
People treat themselves with respect in the West and the majority
follow conservative life styles. Not a single woman here would
allow a man to treat her the way that many of our women allow
themselves to be used. Sadly, we often mistake this lack of respect
for our freedom. Unless we have respect for ourselves, how can
we gain the respect of others?
We have forgotten the wisdom of people. We lie to our parents.
The price we pay is our future, I know what I'm saying-I've ruined
mine. It takes meeting a special person that you've always dreamed
about to understand this. But then it's too late.
I only wish that this letter could help some of our young people
not to be naive and repeat my mistakes. Don't let it happen,
don't let anybody use you or humiliate you. Here I've begun to
realize how much I have lost in life. Here I've begun to appreciate
the honor and dignity that I grew up with. Here, I don't have
to lie to my parents anymore, but I have to lie to myself now
to hide from the truth.
Many things change, but dignity and respect, and simple things
like family and love are basic to life everywhere-in Baku and
Studying for my Master's degree in the US
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