"We left anxious and cold Baku in January'90 and back to city filled with warmth, light and kindness"
    Caliber.Az interview with Canadian blogger

    INTERVIEWS  03 October 2022 - 17:21

    Bahram Batiyev

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with Albert Isakov, a blogger living in Canada.

    - Albert, in our last interview in August last year you said that you dreamed of the day when you could once again visit your homeland - Azerbaijan, to see again the sky of your native Baku! So, last month you visited Baku. Unfortunately, I got to know about it when you returned to Canada. Could you please tell me how was the preparation for the trip to your homeland?

    - Indeed, I have always had the dream to visit my hometown. I talked about it all the time. In 2021 one of the active visitors of my Youtube channel, Mr. Burzu Aliyev, a well-known representative of the Azerbaijani diaspora in Ukraine, a former Deputy Minister of Energy of that country, an Azerbaijani patriot, contacted me and shared his pain and feelings. He comes from Karabakh, from the village of Gulabli in the Aghdam district, a place completely destroyed by the Armenian occupiers. On my channel there are a number of testimonies of refugees from Karabakh and Armenia who have experienced Armenian nationalism and xenophobia themselves and their loved ones. This topic brings many of us closer together, it unites us. At the time, Burzu also promised to facilitate my arrival in Baku. Later, hostilities started in Ukraine. And for that reason, only a year later his desire to help and my dream came true.

    - Remind me, how many years have you been out of Baku?

    - I have not been to Baku for 32 years. We left my hometown in 1990. I was sixteen years old at the time.

    - So, Heydar Aliyev Airport, Baku, you exit the terminal, take a deep breath of air, and... Your first thought and feeling?

    - You may be surprised, and it is hard to explain rationally. I thought I was going to worry. But once I was in Baku airport, an inexplicable feeling of peace and silence filled me completely. This inexpressible feeling of peace, and a sense of home accompanied me throughout my stay in the homeland.

    - Already on the way from the airport you must have seen the huge changes in Baku. What was your first impression of what you saw?

    - We left Baku at the end of January 1990. After the tragedy in January. I remember it was dark, anxious, and cold. Now I was surprised by the abundance of light, illumination, and warmth - literally and figuratively. The city is filled with warmth, light, and kindness. There are no words to explain it. This is what I feel.

    Baku, of course, has changed beyond recognition. There are a lot of new constructions. The general architectural style of the city is perfectly preserved. The city is full of life. There are a lot of young and beautiful people. But Baku citizens stayed the same. Kind, affable, cordial.

    - Have you visited the street where you used to live?

    - I had less than a week for everything. But I managed to visit the house and the street where I was born and grew up. The house is still there, but everything around has changed completely. The street, which used to be relatively quiet, is now very noisy because of the abundance of traffic. There are a lot of new residential buildings around.

    - September in our region was hot, there were clashes again on the border with Armenia. Given the fact that you are a thematic vlogger on YouTube, I would like to know your opinion: why is Armenia refusing to sign a peace treaty? What is your hope?

    - Indeed, it is very difficult to find any reasonable, rational explanation for many of Armenia's actions. There is no rationality, nor any consistency in actions. Instead, we see spontaneous, unrelated movements, wandering from side to side. This country is characterised by the absence of its own political course, its own vision of any development path at all, and its own desire to build its own close and long-term relations with neighbouring countries. Armenia has never, by and large, and for certain historical reasons, been an independent decision-maker and follower of important decisions. It has been, is, and will remain an object waiting for decisions and assistance from major players, whose interests often do not coincide in the region.

    You have very accurately pointed out that they hope for someone all the time: they hope for the weather, they hope for a change in the balance of power, for Uncle Sam, for help from outside and that is all. You cannot expect any independent and real decisions, any consistency, or any common sense from this country. I think that today it is more obvious than ever. Parasitic consciousness. They are not used to and cannot live otherwise, alas...

    - One last question. Are there more Azerbaijanis or Armenians among your audience? And how do representatives of the two nations react to your broadcasts?

    - I have long noticed that the vast majority of visitors, subscribers, and active participants in the dialogue on my channel are Azerbaijanis. They speak out, they react vividly, and they constantly talk about the desire for peace and stability in the region. One gets the impression that they are the only ones who want peace. The Armenian side, of course, watches my materials too. It is mainly the various radical elements that cannot associate two words in a human language without using foul language. Some are constantly threatening. They are extremely marginalized. This can be seen in the level of hatred and xenophobia spewed by them in their comments. The other part of Armenian society, I hope there is one too, watches these materials quietly and silently. Many are simply ashamed that this has happened to them. What can one say? People react, but don't show their reaction. Many do not openly show their attitude to the topics fearing the anger and condemnation of the majority. This is how it all works. The sun shines irrespective of whether we are capable of seeing its light, wish to enjoy it, its rays, or it is more pleasant, closer to darkness, where we can continue living in stupidity, ignorance, and lies, deceiving ourselves and others around us and enjoying all that. The choice is up to each of us.

    - Thank you, Albert, for the conversation! We hope to meet you in Baku on your next visit to our homeland!




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