Chingiz Guseynov on Akram Aylisli's novel

Chingiz Guseynov on Akram Aylisli's novel



Author: Petr Lyukimson, Israel, exclusively to VK

Chingiz Guseynov is a well-known writer in Russia. His novel are a natural part of the world literature. Almost very new book by Chingiz Guseynov raises vehement arguments and loud public response. His works are praised as well as bitterly criticized, but that's what makes him so special. He has always been a nonconformist, he has always wrote and said what he thought and paid no attention to what people thought of him.

Now Guseynov is in Israel and he agreed to talk to VK. The interview was expected to be devoted to literature, but it was impossimble to avoid such issues as religion, politics and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. VK was also interested in Guseynov's attitude to Akram Aylisli novel "Rock Dreams".

 - Before I ask you about your opinion about Akram Aylisli's novel "Rock Dreams" and the scandal is caused I had to ask you about your attitude to the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict in general.


- I have a novel named "Doctor N", in which the background of this conflict is depicted. There are two Ns in this novel. One is Mamed-Emin Rasul-zade, the second one is Nariman Narimanov. Both symbolize two possible ways of Azerbaijan's development - the Soviet way, which lead to a collapse, and the way of national independence, which at those times was not realised. Both these ways had some advantages and none of them should be condemned. But the intrigue is that these two men were friends and once were a part of one and the same movement. There is a phrase in this novel that both remember how they were slaughtered, but do not remember the massacres they were responsible for. I believe this phrase is the most eloquent description of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. If read what Azerbaijanis write on varous web forums about Armenians, you will be astonished, but if you read what Armenians writes about Azerbaijanis, you will be astonished even more. It's a vcious circle of hatred. Speaking about the military conflict itself, I have to say that both parties acted savagely. Only Armenians tried to hide their atrocities, tried to look clean. And the international community believed them.


- I understand what you are talking about, but still there should be someone responsible for the beginning of the conflict, someone caused all this bloodshed in the first place.


- The only way to avoid territorial conflicts is to accept the current state of affairs. The first attempts to change the borders were undertaken during the Nikita Khrushchev age. He himself said that such attempts would lead to the breakup of the state. In fact the Nagorno-Karabakh conclict did lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union. From this point of view Azerbaijan was not responbsible for the beginning of the war. At first Azerbaijanis were forces to leave Armenia and then Karabakh. Many people were forced to leave their homes. of course this led to violence, for which the world now blame Azerbaijan. The Armenian authorties managed to explain there position in a better way, while our officials were confused. Armenians on the other hand were raised with belief in their national idea, they detested everything Turkish and called us Turks. Moreover, the Armenian diaspora around the globe is very influential. That is why we lost the information war.

 - And what should we do?


- What can we do! Hold talks. But it seems like now any talks are fruitless. Several generations were raised in the atmosphere of mutual hatred. I believe we shoul continue peace talks. let them be endless, that's the only way out.


- Let us now talk about Akram Aylisli's novel "Rock Dreams". I believe you read it.


- Yes, I did. My attitude to all this is very complicated. Aylisli was once my student and we were in a very good relations. I know him very well. I think he knew what he was doing. You may call it a provocation, a PR action or a shocking behaviour, as you want.


- But what was his aim?


- You see... I guess pain and personal belief in his own rightness. As many other authors he thinks he is the only true writer. After the scandal started I had to support Aylisli, because I wanted to save him and because I believe his book is a very good piece of art. It's very emotional and it caused powerful feelings. I wrote that every artist has a right for his own point of view, that this book was not a documentary about the Karabakh conflict, that it's not a research about Azerbijanis living in Armenia. Anyway this book has drawn public attention to the issue and this can help us to better understand the nature of this conflict.


- As for me I was surprised by the fact that this book is very biased. I remeber the events of those times. I remember that many Azerbaijanis risked their lives to save Armenians. And it was not a rare thing, as one may think reading the book.


- If Aylisli had written about everything you talk about, the book would have never caused such a outcry.


-You think that was what he wanted? A scandal?


- That's what it turned into. But I support him, because when all is said and done no one have a right to make an artist be silent. The ideal way out is to find some Armenian author who would write a similar book about the Armenian party.
  I believe such a joint project would even win a Nobel prize.


- But there is no such project in Armenia.


- And there won't be.




- Armenian society is much less tolerant then that of Azerbaijan. The Armenian nationalism is nothing like Azerbaijani tolerance. All open-minded Armenians now live abroad. It's unthinkable to live in Armenia and to write a book about the massacre in Khocali. It's like a death sentence to yourself. As for me I believe in an artist's right to express his own attitude. That is why I support Akram Aylisli. 

 I see three possible ways out of this crisis. The first is Aylisli's emmigration. This wil be a great loss for Azerbaijani litarature. The second one is his assasination. The third and the most civilized one is to start a dialogue and to explain everyone that we are not savages.


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