Author: Valentina REZNIKOVA
"The main idea of the International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis is based on the unity and solidarity of Azerbaijanis, the statehood of Azerbaijan, respect for national and spiritual values of our people, as well as the feelings and ideas close to the mentality of the Azerbaijani people and related to historical homeland of Azerbaijanis." These words belong to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. But the idea to celebrate December 31st as a holiday belongs to the national leader Heydar Aliyev and dates back to the events of December 31, 1989, when thousands of Azerbaijanis crossed the Soviet-Iranian border along the Araz River to reunite with their relatives in Iran. On December 16, 1991, the then Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Heydar Aliyev, declared December 31st the International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis, which has taken hold among both the population of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijanis living abroad for twenty-eight years now. Not only ethnic Azerbaijanis, but also the representatives of different nationalities related to Azerbaijan in some way love and pay due tribute to the holiday. Regardless of religious or national background, everyone in and beyond Azerbaijan now can proudly say 'I am an Azerbaijani!' It is much more important that a person declaring his or her affiliation with Azerbaijan feel as part of the country with interesting culture and traditions, part of the history that our life writes every day.
Eldar Akhadov is a poet and writer, member of the Union of Writers of Russia, Russian Geographical Society, PEN Club (an international non-governmental organisation of professional writers). He is the winner of numerous awards and medals, author of sixty books, which have been translated and published in eighteen languages. Dozens of articles and three books provide insight to Eldar's works. Since his retirement in August 2019, he has been extensively engaged in public activities, holding meetings with his fans in the libraries of Krasnoyarsk, and as a participant of the 15th Derzhavin Readings at the Kazan University. Eldar has been living in Russia since 1986.
"I wish all my compatriots living outside of Azerbaijan the best, peace, love, mutual understanding with their loved ones, prosperity and frequent visits to Azerbaijan. And to my countrymen in Azerbaijan, I wish they could preserve and enrich the qualities that have always united us despite the differences—mercy, peacefulness, kindness and generosity.
I have always been in touch with Azerbaijan, since my father had lived there. My mother, my sister, my niece and family, and many other relatives still live there. I visit Baku every year. I hope to be there in 2020 too."
Rufat is a designer and creative director of his own brand AFFFAIR (Turkey). He is well known professionally in Europe and Turkey. Products of AFFFAIR successfully compete with those of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.
"I want to congratulate my compatriots no matter where they live. I wish them peace and happiness in the coming year. I wish all their dreams come true. No matter how far they live from Azerbaijan, I hope they never forget the homeland. I hope the occupied lands of Azerbaijan are freed soon and peace established in Azerbaijan forever. I hope that my people lives in harmony and prosperity. Everything I do is for the glory of my country. I do not part with Azerbaijan for a minute. It doesn't matter where I am at the moment. My Azerbaijan is always with me: in my heart, in my soul, in my thoughts, in my works.
She is an actress working at the Gesher Theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel. Childhood, youth, and professional development of Lilian took place in Baku. "I feel so happy when you call me Lilya-khanum. This is what ties me with my favourite city, my beloved country. To Azerbaijanis living in different countries of the world, I wish only good things, love for our cultural and spiritual values, prosperity and peace. I wish my beloved Bakuvians, all the Azerbaijanis happiness and prosperity, health and peace, clear skies. I wish my beloved country peace and prosperity, especially in theatrical life! I wish my native Russian Drama Theatre new performances, the joy of co-creation and patronage of Melpomene. Always! Peace to you, my dear Azerbaijanis! I love Baku so much that I believe that I will live in Azerbaijan in the next earthly incarnation. Even mentally, I do not part with my beloved country and the city of my youth. The distance between Baku and Tel Aviv is only two and a half hours of flight. It's very close! In the new year 2020, I wish the opening of borders between Azerbaijan and Israel. I wish you clear and open skies to both countries!"
Professor at the Department of International Law, Institute of International Relations, National Aviation University of Ukraine.
"In the name of happiness, welfare and prosperity of Azerbaijan, we work in the countries which have become our second homeland. We work for the honour and prestige of our ethnic homeland to rise it to new heights so that the people knowing us would say respectfully: "He is Azerbaijani". I wish you good health, success, prosperity and new year celebrations in Shusha. I keep in touch with Azerbaijan regularly, because public diplomacy through scientists from Ukraine and Azerbaijan contributes to strengthening of friendly ties between peoples. I congratulate President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani people, as well as the staff of the Baku State University, including the Dean of the Law Faculty Amir Aliyev, my friends Tural Isgandarov, Azer Shukurov, Vidadi Huseynov, and my relatives living in Barda with the Day of Solidarity of Azerbaijanis and the upcoming New Year."
Pianist, Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan. She has lived in Geneva, Switzerland for seven years. "I wish all my countrymen living abroad good health, the strength to bear the difficulties of living abroad, to continue keeping warm friendly relations, and not to forget the smell of my Baku. I am lucky because I did not lose my friends. I know that I can help my friends any time if necessary, and they can do the same for me. We are from Azerbaijan, and we remain Azerbaijanis no matter where we live now: in Russia, Europe, the U.S. or Asia. I wish all my compatriots living abroad more positive things associated with Baku and Azerbaijan in terms of appearance and living conditions.
I also wish good health to those who live in Azerbaijan. I hope that all their dreams come true! Let the stars light up so that everyone could find his own star in the sky to make a wish! Just believe in your dreams, and they will come true!
I am always in touch with my relatives and friends in Azerbaijan. I visit Baku every year and even more frequently. I visit the graves of my parents and the great maestro Niyazi, who encouraged me to begin my musical career. I always invite my new friends and colleagues to Baku, telling them about the beauty of the boulevard, the city, musical art, and Azerbaijani culture in general. Every time I speak to Europeans, I proudly say that I play the music of Azerbaijani composers. Their applause is a thank you to the musical culture of my country, to Azerbaijani composers. Today it is no longer necessary to explain what kind of country Azerbaijan is. I am happy that I have also made my small contribution to this."
Psychotherapist, Jungian analyst, head of social services at the Lin Medical Clinic in Haifa, Israel. She is the author of two poetry books: Light Sky (Tel Aviv, 1995) and translations of Israeli poetess Yona Wallach, Creation of Love (Moscow, 2005). She is a member of the Writers' Union of Israel. Olga has lived in Israel since 1989.
"I hope my compatriots never forget our hometown — wonderful, joyful and hospitable Baku, which is filled with light and sun. I hope the multinational people of Azerbaijan will be able to maintain its identity and warmth, tolerance and fidelity. May there be peace and light in the land of Azerbaijan. It is vital for me to keep in touch with my friends living in Azerbaijan, for they are my native country."
She is the former head of the Azerbaijani-Finnish society Dostlug, who lives in the U.S. and is engaged in social activities to promote multicultural values.
"I wish everyone a Happy New Year, peaceful skies and prosperity. Most importantly, I hope that they take children to Azerbaijan more often and speak the native Azerbaijani language at home, wherever it is. We should live in peace and friendship while maintaining stability. We are a secular state, and we should be vigilant to provocations. I keep in touch with Azerbaijan. It is always with me: in all the events that I held in Finland, and now in the U.S., in my thoughts and in my heart. Every time I talk about my country across the ocean, I think that we all find ourselves one step closer to establishing justice both for Khojaly and for Karabakh."
Shervin Najafpour is a famous Norwegian designer coming from South Azerbaijan. She creates outfits for many celebrities and even for members of the royal family. In early 2019, Shervin presented in Antalya her collection called I'm a Star under the slogan I want to go back home to Karabakh! The event was accompanied by an on-screen demonstration of the names of Azerbaijani cities, including the ones occupied by Armenia. Interest to the fashion show was so great in the media and social networks that caused the locking down of Shervin's pages due to complaints from Armenian users. Shervin has managed to combine fashion with public policy activities. She is a member of the ruling party in Norway and chairman of the public organization JAN established by Norwegian Azerbaijanis.
For Shervin, the Solidarity Day of World Azerbaijanis has a special meaning. "On this day thirty years ago, the Azerbaijani people took the first step on the road that would consolidate them around a single national idea. I want to congratulate all my compatriots on this wonderful occasion. I wish my people good health, love, happiness, all the best and prosperity. I hope that 2020 will finally bring our lands peace and freedom from Armenian occupation," Shervin Najafpour said.
Our poll is just a drop in the ocean of voices that we could hear if we had an opportunity to interview all Azerbaijanis in the country and beyond. All respondents have expressed indisputable and unconditional love for Azerbaijan, its culture and people. And all these words, thoughts and feelings can be paraphrased as "respect for national and spiritual values of our people, feelings and ideas related to belonging to the Azerbaijani people, attachment to historical homeland", which is in fact the concept of unity and solidarity.