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On Saboteur’s Ears and Friendship of Peoples

Quite an interesting story has been unfolding in Azerbaijan… Akram Aylisli, a writer highly respected among people of his country, has written the historical novella “Stone Dreams” about the difficult relations between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. The novel was translated by the author and published in the Moscow magazine “Druzhba Narodov” (Friendship of the Peoples).

Book burning, author: jamelah, source: Flickr

Book burning, author: jamelah, source: Flickr

After the publication of the novella, Azerbaijani authorities have accused its author of “sympathising with Armenians”  and the president stripped Aylisli of his pension and national honors. In addition, a leader of a pro-government party publicly proposed to slice off the ear of the 75-year-old writer and even announced a cash reward of 10 thousand manats (about USD 13 000) to the one who does it. Slicing off an ear!

Young activists were burning the author’s portraits in front of his house and told him to leave the country while he still could. The Azerbaijani Parliament and, of course, the local Writers’ Union also condemned the novella. Among other suggestions, there was a proposal to “check Aylisli’s genetic code”.

This story seems quite crazy at first glance. Yet everything is logical. The act of writing is a suspicious activity, which outlived its usefulness long ago. The fact that the literature is still taught in schools is a nonsense and dangerous oversight. Outside we have our famous “stone” age – the 21st century, an era of satellites Belka-2 and microwaves Horizont (made in Belarus) – one must be able to read only a bus schedule and follow Twitter account of Minsk militsya (to check out, for instance, if another edition of “Pieriekhvat” action has been announced). In all other cases,the ability to read is potentially dangerous, like keeping weapons at home.

Thank God that in such a progressive and friendly state like Azerbaijan there are still people who have realised their responsibility and stay in the forefront of the great fight against stagnant literary activities. Yes, right now, the actions of the president and the parliament of Azerbaijan (by the way, people deserving high respect) may anger progressive mankind. No matter – soon everyone will be grateful.

Writers have been discrediting the reputation of honorable people and nations through the whole history of mankind. Especially dangerous ones were excommunicated, imprisoned, executed by shooting, expelled from the country – all depending on political and market conditions. But the proposal to slice off an ear is the most elegant solution among all the previous inventions. First, a person without an ear survives. Secondly, what is really humanely, writers without an ear can continue their scribbling. Thirdly, the ear can be preserved in alcohol, and later, if market conditions change, exposed in the museum of literature.

In Belarus, a writer is also a vicious persona. It is absolutely not transparent how this whole bunch earn their living. They write thick books – no less than a hundred pages of highly unclear content. These swines seemingly want to hide the most dangerous, seditious thoughts so deep inside their stories that normal people can’t comprehend the real message. Here even video surveillance will not help. These cunning bastards!

You can read a little book and everything is as it should be – the complications, climax and denouement. A true adventure in fact. But there is still something wrong, as if the author hints at something which you can’t so easily catch.

“I said many times that I speak for the closer relations between the two warring nations of Armenians and Azerbaijanis”, said Akram Aylisli in his interview for “But the governmental policy is clearly against it. … Here in Baku everyone just writes and says that Armenians are our historic enemies.”

Stupid old man! Can he not understand that the government (not the people, not the country, but the government) cannot exist without enemies? Without them the state falls into decay and has to handle not an information war and ideology, but pensions, roads, social benefits and all that dull stuff about which people make fuss. If there is an enemy, everything becomes easier and more intuitive. If you cannot understand this simple thing, Mr. Former-National-Writer, then you yourself will become an enemy of your people. Get out of the country if you care about your ears. The government’s friends from Belarus have already sent us – via satellite “Belka-2” – a complete list of human organs which can be cut off in case of another subversive act.

Translated by MA

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