At this point in our research about Uzeyir Hajibeyov, I think we must
ask ourselves some important questions. First of all, what was the real
relationship between Uzeyir Hajibeyov and the Soviet power? We dont
really have his personal point of view, as he died before Stalin did [Uzeyir
died in 1948, Stalin died in 1953] and thus he did not have the opportunity
to write his memoires like Shostakovitch, Prokofiev and Katchaturian did.
Those three really did believe in Socialist Evolution. So
the question is: Was Uzeyir Hajibeyov a good Socialist?
Who can say? Before 1918 he was already involved in politics and social
struggles, alphabetization, Latin script, education, fighting against
the mullahs. He and his friends who helped organize the ADR [Azerbaijan
Democratic Republic] struggled to give women the right to vote long before
France and the USA did. So Im really wondering who the real Uzeyir
Hajibeyov was. Maybe we will never know.
Uzeyir and Jeyhun [his brother, my grandfather] wrote lot of articles
in Azerbaidjan newspaper about this terrible period of 1918-1920.
I took a look at them yesterday here in Paris. Some of them have been
translated into French (Ramiz Abutalibov, I love you). In fact they were
more afraid of Dashnaks than the Red army, and they really made a big
distinction between the two.
Seems they could deal with the Red Army but the Dashnaks used to abuse
both groups. Even Bolshevik newspapers were indignant about atrocities
committed by the troops of Andranik and Lalayev the likes of them.
In Baku [1918-1920] the Soviet army had to threaten the Dashnaks that
they would bomb the Armenian section of the town to stop the Dashnak mass
murders of Muslims.
Second, I have discovered amongst the pile of condolences letters for
my grandfather Jeyhun [Uzeyirs brother] some notes that are written
in very poor French, German and English. There are some very interesting
things: Aliyev Mamad bey, born in Aghdam 1905, arrived in France after
WWII. In one of his conversations with Uzeyir in Baku before 1940, he
mentions that Uzeyir said to him, I dont understand why Jeyhun
stayed in France, why didnt he come back?
Strange. Why would Uzeyir say that? I hope to have an interview with Khadir
Suleyman, 84 years old next month in Paris, Khadir knew all those people.
Third, we must not forget that Uzeyir and Jeyhun were in Moscow and St.
Petersburg prior to the Revolution of 1917. They surely met Socialist
revolutionaries there. Did Uzeyir ever talk about that? What
was the impact on them? Im still convinced that there must be a
lot of valuable documents in the National Archives in French, German,
English, Azeri (Latin script of the 1930s as well as Arabic script) and
Russian as grandpa used to switch between those languages.
Last, always in those condolences letters Mehmet Altunbey wrote that Jeyhun
worked with Uzeyir not only on Leyli and Majnun, but also
Arshin Mal Alan, Asli and Karam, Harun and
Leyla, Abbas and Khurshud Banu, Shah Ismayil, O
Olmasun, Bu Olsun, Sheikh Sanan, In fact everything
that was produced before 1918. Jeyhun also worked with his other brother
Zulfugar on Ashug Garib according to him.
We dont know much about Zulfugar. Seems to be a very discrete person.
Are there some archives about him? Azerbaijani people of a certain age,
seems to me, are a bit passive, I dont think they really want to
dig up the past. We Europeans love poking around in history because we
believe in history. I do not know how Azeris feel about history. Maybe
they want to forget and just remember the good things. But that is not
a reason to stop our research.
When I refer to history, of course I mean the Soviet period. I assume
that Azeris love their history, but I have discovered while searching
documents on the internet (Azeri sites) that there is almost nothing about
history for the periods between 1920 to 1988.
In comparison on Russian Web sites, youll see that they are quite
hysterical about history like they are doing a complete self therapy
about communism. For Azerbaijan, it would appear that fear is still there,
and the Bear is at the border. Or maybe they dont know those periods
and are having trouble accessing them. Anyway ten years is nothing when
December 12, 2001
PS. Im excited about the new developments of finding the handwritten
versions of Arshin Mal Alan [in Azeri Arabic script]
by Uzeyir in the Manuscript Institute in Baku. Maybe this will throw some
light on Jeyhuns role on these early works. Farid [Alakbarov] speaks
about two signatures on these manuscripts. I CANT WAIT. A question
I keep asking myself why the UH [Uzeyir Hajibeyov] museum, whose duty
is to show everything about UH did not manage to have at least a photocopy
of those manuscripts.
Betty, I just remembered. In fact there are some texts in Arabic script
in the Uzeyir Hajibeyov Museum. Theyre located in the last room,
underneath the first Leyli and Majnun program, on a piece
of pink silk embroidery. I cannot remember what theyre all about,
but theyre handwritten in Arabic script.
Added: Dec 15, 2001