Azerbaijan International

Winter 2001 (9.4)
Page 27

Personal Experiences - These Past Ten Years

Yashar AliyevYashar Aliyev
Many things are different today. Consider simple everyday tasks: we used to have to wait for hours for buses in the morning and then after coming home from work very tired, we had to go and stand in more queues to buy meat or butter, bread and everything else.

Many things are politically different, too. The Soviet communist ideology and the Russification [meaning the act of making others learn Russian language, history, literature] in the name of "Friendship of the Nations" would still exist. We used to have to fill out applications for the simplest things in Russian, not Azeri. The developments of our own nationalistic and religious values were forbidden.

Of course there have been difficulties since the Soviet Union collapsed and Azerbaijan became independent. But the fact that we gained our independence made us so happy that we will be able to overcome all of these difficulties. For me the greatest thing has been gaining our independence. I can't tell you how happy it made me. It's quite a different thing to be a citizen of an independent state. The problems are natural. Independence is worth coping with all of these difficulties. That's why I feel very optimistic.

You can be sure that since the collapse of the Soviet Union I don't miss all those meetings and gatherings of the Komsomol that we used to have to attend.

I don't have grandchildren yet. But in the future I'll tell them about how nearly 20 percent of our lands were occupied by Armenian nationalists and how our mothers and sisters were held hostage by them. Then I'll tell them how great it was to see the Azerbaijani flag raised in front of the UN office [1992] and about Azerbaijan's joining the Council of Europe [2001]. The other thing I would explain to them is how the communists of yesterday plundered the wealth of the nation and our natural treasures, all under the disguise of friendship and statehood.

In my opinion, the most serious problem during the next 10 years will be related to Karabakh. We must get the land of our forefathers back. In addition to Karabakh, we need to solve some other serious problems like illiteracy and unemployment. Even now there's a high level of unemployment in Azerbaijan. It will take some time until this problem is solved.

Azerbaijan International (9.4) Winter 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2002. All rights reserved.

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