Author: Natig NAZIMOGHLU
The Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis of the world annually celebrated on December 31 is one of the main public holidays of our people symbolizing its unity and strong bonds between compatriots regardless of their place of residence. The celebration of this day in 2020 had a special meaning and significance due to our Great Victory in Garabagh thanks to the unparalleled unity and solidarity of all the Azerbaijanis.
Invaluable role of the leader
The history of the Solidarity Day is exemplary because of the unique experience of national unity accumulated through the dramas, tragedies and accomplishments of our people in the years of restoration and strengthening of independence. At the end of the Soviet era, the popular movement in Azerbaijan gained an unprecedented momentum mainly due to the increasing need to protect the territorial integrity of the country. But in the course of its development, the popular movement has transformed with an objective to achieve national freedom.
It was an event with a deep symbolic meaning that speeded up the declaration of the Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis. By the end of 1989, it was clear that the Kremlin was not able to defend the Azerbaijanis from the Armenian aggression. Almost total injustice against our people revealed the truth in its entirety – it was necessity to unite the efforts of all Azerbaijanis to defend Garabagh and establish the national independence. On the New Year's Eve of 1989, thousands of Azerbaijanis living in Nakhchivan broke through the Araz River to the territory of neighbouring Iran to embrace their brothers living in South Azerbaijan. It was a spontaneous but significant action of fraternization, unification of Azerbaijanis after almost 170 years of merciless separation after the conclusion of the Gulustan and Turkmenchai agreements, which divided Azerbaijan in two halves – North and South.
Incidentally, yet another remarkable even took place on the day when the Soviet-Iranian border was destroyed between the northern and southern parts of Azerbaijan. On December 31, 1989, the first ever World Congress of Azerbaijanis convened in Istanbul. That’s when the goal of achieving national unity of Azerbaijanis in modern era was formulated. Based on these two significant events, the Supreme Council of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic led by Heydar Aliyev declared on December 16, 1991, two months after the proclamation of state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the date of December 31 as the Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis. This is how the political and legal background was formulated for the national unity and consolidation of Azerbaijanis.
The idea was as simple as great and relevant so much so that that we continue celebrating the date just before the New Year as a truly dear holiday for every Azerbaijani. It is no surprise that the idea of unity and solidarity of Azerbaijanis has become a cornerstone of Azerbaijanism – an ideology raised to a state rank thanks to the efforts of Heydar Aliyev. It was during the ten-year period of his presidency that Azerbaijan established itself as a full-fledged, self-sufficient, strong state based on the will and unity of the people.
Not only as the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan but also as a national leader did Heydar Aliyev consolidate the idea of modern statehood of Azerbaijan based on national and spiritual values, feelings of love and affection for the Motherland. It was the idea that makes every Azerbaijani realize his duty to the Motherland, as well as a sense of pride for being an Azerbaijani. At the same time, Azerbaijanism has become an ideological fulcrum not only for the Azerbaijani society and state. It entered the consciousness of Azerbaijanis all over the world, including the emerging diaspora organizations of our compatriots in foreign countries. Therefore, the Solidarity Day can be rightfully considered a holiday of all 50 million Azerbaijanis around the world.
Yet the path of unity and solidarity has not been without serious difficulties and obstacles. We still remember Heydar Aliyev's speech to the Azerbaijani diaspora in Germany back in 1998. Stating the need for unity among Azerbaijanis scattered all over the world, he complained about the lack of consolidation of our compatriots around the state of Azerbaijan. To rectify the situation, the 1st Congress of World Azerbaijanis was convened in Baku on November 9-10, 2001 on the initiative and under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev. The event has become a significant milestone uniting Azerbaijanis around the national state – the Republic of Azerbaijan.
"President of the Azerbaijanis of the World"
Undoubtedly, over the past years of painstaking efforts to strengthen the solidarity of Azerbaijanis of the world we have become closer to achieving this goal. Heydar Aliyev's successor, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, has proclaimed himself "the President of the Azerbaijanis of the World" because the solidarity of Azerbaijanis has not only become one of the priority directions of state policy but also a way of life for the entire people living both in Azerbaijan and in more than 70 countries in various regions of the world. For almost three decades since the inception of independence, Azerbaijani communities have been formed in almost all countries of residence of Azerbaijanis. Moreover, these communities serve not only the ethnic Azerbaijanis but also the representatives of other nationalities who were born and raised in Azerbaijan, such as our fellow compatriots living in Israel play an active role in their work.
Certainly, the strengthening of the position of Azerbaijan in the international arena largely due to the growth of the country's economic and political potential has significantly contributed to the successful structuring of the Azerbaijani diaspora. Due to the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, the main mission of the diaspora was to inform the world community of the truth about the essence of the Garabagh conflict. It became necessary to thoroughly expose the false Armenian propaganda aimed at securing international support for the aggression against Azerbaijan.
But the real triumph of the consolidated efforts of the Azerbaijanis of the world in the name of the just cause of our people and state took place in 2020. We have lived a special year marked by a demonstration of the unshakable unity of Azerbaijanis around the world, which became one of the fundamental factors in the victory.
Unity as a factor of victory
The impressive potential of the solidarity became clear during the July battles between Azerbaijan and Armenia. It was a real war of diasporas indeed, when the Azerbaijanis living in Russia, the US, and Europe witnessed the predatory acts of the global Armenian organizations. After all, for a long time the Armenian diaspora, especially in the Western countries, has been considered much more structured and influential that the Azerbaijani organisations of that calibre. But this time it was clearly caught off guard thanks to the Azerbaijanis’ mobilisation to defend the interests of their historical homeland. An unprecedented event was the embargo of Armenian agricultural products in the markets of Moscow organized by the Azerbaijani businessmen led by God Nisanov, a native of the Mountain Jewish community of Azerbaijan.
In July, when aggressive Armenia used another military provocation on the border with Azerbaijan, our people demonstrated that they would never accept the occupation of their lands any more. We demonstrated our unyielding patriotic spirit to the whole world, our readiness to restore the territorial unity of the Republic of Azerbaijan at any cost and by any means, to protect the independence and security of the Motherland.
The culmination of this unprecedented national desire for Victory was the unity and solidarity of Azerbaijanis during the 44-day Patriotic War. Not only the Armenian invaders but also their external patrons saw the iron fist of our people united to secure the victory once and forever. In the name of the victory and the peaceful future, prosperity and development of Azerbaijan, the representatives of all nationalities and ethnic groups living in Azerbaijan have united. Adepts of all religious confessions of the country turned to the Almighty with a single prayer for the triumph of justice in our lands and the victory of our glorious soldiers over the invaders.
Our diaspora also united to ensure the victory in the sacred war. Actions to support the just cause of Azerbaijan were held in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Germany, USA, Canada, European countries... Everywhere where live the Azerbaijanis and all those who are not indifferent to the fate of Azerbaijan, its true friends and well-wishers. The media and social networks became an arena where the fighters of the information front (Azerbaijani patriots, regardless of their country of residence, nationality and religion) fought tirelessly to disseminate the truths about Azerbaijan and its people.
After the victory in Garabagh and in the Patriotic War, Azerbaijan is entering a new stage of development. Our goals and objective in the post-war stage require further strengthening of positions and our potential. This means that a path to our new great victories will go through the unity and solidarity of Azerbaijanis around the world.