Published on the Website
HAJIBEYOV.com - with permission from the author Clement
Bailly, grandson of Jeyhun Hajibeyli (1891-1962). Clement lives in Paris.
Jeyhun was the younger brother of the composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948)
who was in Paris with a government delegation of Azerbaijanis to sign
the Versailles Treaty and to gain recognition for the newly established
Azerbaijan Republic [1918-1920]. Tragically while he was out of the country,
the Bolsheviks captured Baku in 1920, making it impossible for him ever
to return. [He was 31 at the time]. He was forced to live out the rest
of his life in bitter exile in Europe.
The following is
email correspondence between Clement and Betty Blair, Editor of Azerbaijan
International and of HAJIBEYOV.com on November 28, 2001.
I spent last Sunday and Monday [Nov 25-26, 2001] reading Grandpas writings in his small notebooks. They were written in French, but I had to struggle with his handwriting. (Maybe its because he grew up writing in the Arabic script and then later Cyrillic). He wrote a lot about his dreams and stuff in those diary notebooks. He writes that he used to dream of Uzeyir quite often and of one of his sisters, too. Don't know which one. Small details. He says things like: "I had a dream about my brother Uzeyir" or "I had a dream about my sister". Nothing more. No explanations. Anyway, I am still working on this "dream stuff". Trying to complete the puzzle.
He almost never speaks
about memories of Azerbaijan. Hardly any other word about his brothers
and sisters. Occasionally, theres a slight reference to Shusha [town
in Karabakh, Azerbaijan, where he spent his childhood]. Disappointing.
I am now totally convinced
that Uzeyir and Jeyhun were afraid to speak about each other in fear of
retaliation. [Remember those were the years of the height of Stalins
Repression when thousands of intellectuals were imprisoned, exiled or
I wish I had time
to translate everything for you into English. I will send you some of
his best comments soon. For example, Grandpa drops hints here
and there about his personal and political feelings: For example, he wrote:
(1) "Czar Nicholas
was important for me and Stalin
looks like one of my cousins (This is Grandpa's sense of humor.
Obviously, the statement is intended to be satirical - because he wrote
many vehement articles against both of them).
(2) I was raised
by my grandmother, I didnt know my mother very well."
(3) I think
that as long as I am banned from Azerbaijan, my relatives will be in jeopardy
and have problems."
I have problems with French censorship about my anti-communist articles:
were supposed to be on the same side."
(5) All the
contacts with my family have been broken since I left.
I discovered also
that Grandpa Jeyhun listened to radio broadcasts from Moscow. He had access
to newspapers published in Moscow through the French National Library
and the French Foreign Office Minister.
I also found out
that in 1918, when clashes broke out in the city of Baku between Azerbaijani
forces and Shaumian's Armenians [Dashnaks and Bolsheviks] that Grandpa
was firing at them from the balconies. [The fighting was ferocious, an
estimated 10,000 Azeris, many civilians, were killed those days in March].
In the Caucasian
Review [published in Munich], in the article that Grandpa Jeyhun wrote
about The 1958 Jubilee of Leyli and Majnun, he is very, very
lenient with the Soviet authority. He just mentions that the brothers
Uzeyir and Jeyhun are the authors of the work. He doesnt say,
I did it with my brother. The question is: Did he write
that out of respect, or out of fear? Who knows? (Actually, he was very
upset that his role in the creation of Leyli and Majnun had
been supressed and forgotten because of his political affiliations and
because he was living in exile outside the country). He always refers
to himself as Jeyhun in his articles [not "I"]. There are more
The same problem
exists today: I already mentioned earlier that in Azerbaijan today, the
Soviet legacy still weighs down heavily. Only young people can talk about
it. The older people never mention it its sort of a natural
inclination and old habit with them - not to say anything.
It seems the need
to be secretive and not express true feelings is still strong. This past
, did you see the Afghan Talibans shaking hands with the people that were
their dreaded enemies the day before? Thats so difficult for us
When I was in Baku
[week of November 8, 2001], nobody brought up the topic about how Grandpa
fought so hard against communism. [Yet that was one of his consuming drives
while living in exile.]
Well, I'm trying to slip into Grandpa's skin to understand what the situation was like for him to be living in exile away from Azerbaijan.
Hope your next Azerbaijan
International magazine [AI 9.4] is getting into good shape.
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