BAKU: Armenian women pleased with their life in Azerbaijan

ANS TV, Baku, in Azeri
28 Jul 04

Armenian women pleased with their life in Azerbaijan

[Presenter Natavan Babayeva] The arrest of members of the Karabakh
Liberation Organization [who protested against Armenian officers’
visit to Baku] and the fact that the Armenian officers had been
invited to Baku [to attend a NATO conference] were wrong decisions by
the Azerbaijani authorities. This is the opinion of Yevgeniya
Shagenovna Abdullayeva who thanks the government for allowing her to
live in Baku in conditions of freedom and normal ethnic relations.

[Correspondent over video of Baku] More than 20,000 Armenians live in
the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, today. We decided to knock on a number
of doors which have always been open to Armenians in Azerbaijan –
just to ask how they are doing. We failed to meet a woman called
Rimma because she was at work. But we got in touch with an Armenian
woman who introduced herself as Madina. She was guarded by her
Azerbaijani husband and sons.

[Madina] Why are you filming me? How can you do things like that
without telling me?

[Man in Russian] Don’t film.

[Correspondent] What are your relations with the government? Are they

[Madina speaking in Russian] Yes. I am not complaining. Thank God, I
never complain. Everything depends on God. What can we do?

[Correspondent] We knocked on an another door. Yevgeniya Shagenovna
Abdullayeva met us with real Azerbaijani hospitality. She said that
the Azerbaijani government does not discriminate against her. Her
Armenian background has not restricted her movements or wishes.

[Yevgeniya Abdullayeva] I can say that I am personally satisfied. If
I had not obeyed, I would have never stayed here. I have brought up
two children here over the entire period of the [Nagornyy Karabakh]
conflict since 1988. My daughter was six in 1988 and another daughter
was four. Since that time, I have brought them up, they have
graduated from school and university, my daughter is married, I
travel and talk freely. No, I have no problems.

[Correspondent] Her only problem is that she is a housewife. Although
she had worked as a language and literature teacher for 19 years, she
had to quit her favourite job. Not because of the Azerbaijanis’
attitude to her, but because she was ashamed of what the Armenians
had done to the Azerbaijanis.

[Yevgeniya Abdullayeva speaking in Azeri] When I quit my job, I was
asked why are you doing this, nobody has ever reproached you, you
have an Azerbaijani family and children. I said no, why shouldn’t I?
I thought afterwards that my decision was correct. Everything needs
to be respected. Why should I wait?

[Correspondent] The Armenian woman is pleased not only with the
principal of the school, but also with the peace policy conducted by
the state in which she lives. As for [Armenian President] Robert
Kocharyan, she condemns him for his desire to unleash a war.

[Yevgeniya Abdullayeva speaking in Azeri] Who is he? Maybe someone
knows him, why should I? I do not know him and do not want to. Why
should I? Only because I am Armenian? First, I am Armenian living
here. I have not seen him, I do not meet him and I do not want to
meet him. What kind of attitude should one have to a country that
wants a war? Any country, not only Armenia. Would you have a good
attitude to a country that wants to wage a war with you?

[Correspondent] She says that the 25 years of her free life among the
Azerbaijanis should serve as a warning to Armenia. But this Armenian
woman also spoke about our officials’ position on Karabakh.

[Yevgeniya Abdullayeva speaking in Azeri] My attitude is that it is a
difficult issue. There is a mother who has lost her three sons, God
forbid. One must cope with this, right? It is difficult, they [the
Azerbaijani authorities] probably should not have given permission
and they [Armenian officers] probably should not have come here. One
should take people’s feelings into account. This is my personal
opinion. Was there any need to touch a raw nerve? Those who suffer
suffer in any case, right? But what can we do? The government should
deal with this, right?

[Correspondent] You see, even the Baku Armenians realize this.

Zamina Aliyeva and Aytan Mammadova, ANS.