By | Rachel Brooks
December 31, 2020
Image credit: “File:Templo de fuego, Baku, Azerbaiyán, 2016-09-27, DD 34.jpg” by Diego Delso is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
As 2020 comes to an end, the Azerbaijani community of the world celebrates World Azerbaijani Solidarity Day. This was described by Azertac News as a day of solidarity celebrated ever since Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union.
Republic Underground interviewed two Azerbaijani people to ask them what World Solidarity Day means to them.
First, Republic Underground spoke with Ataol Ebulfez.
What does World Azerbaijani Solidarity Day mean to you?
I was born in Tabriz amid the Cold War and grew up with a big curiosity and nostalgia towards Northern Azerbaijan on the other side of the Araz river. Araz was our Berlin wall and still is to a certain extent. I was a college student in Manchester, UK when the Berlin Wall came down.
Just a month or so after that Azerbaijanis on both sides of Araz dismantled the border fences. Our nation united for just a day or two. My lifelong dream was realized. My heart sank when I saw the pictures of this reunion on the first page of the most prominent British papers.
Alas, Russia could not tolerate this. 20 days after that they brought their tanks to Baku and massacred innocent unarmed civilians. This was the beginning of the end for the Soviet regime. We have a brave nation. Azerbaijanis are resilient. I also believe that after such a huge victory—liberating most of our occupied land after 30 years, we will force the so-called “Russian peacekeepers” out. I don’t believe for a second that we “invited them in.”
Then, Republic Underground spoke with Ahmed Obali, of Gunaz.tv
On December 31, 1989, Nakhchivan residents tore down the infamous barbed wire separating them from their Southern Azerbaijani brothers in Iran.
We have been celebrating our Solidarity day every year since 1991. This year’s celebration comes just after liberating the occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding seven districts from the Armenian occupation. We, the South Azerbaijanis, were able to protest against Iran’s support of Armenia and force the Iranian government to pause sending arms and military equipment to Armenia during the liberation of the occupied lands in September.
We achieved our goal, contributed to the operation, and set our hopes on eventual freedom and reunification with our brothers in the North of Araz river.
Mr. Obali also gave five points for why this year’s World Azerbaijani Solidarity Day is different:
To understand the Azerbaijani nation, we must realize that this nation was divided into the Northern part ( the Republic of Azerbaijan) and the Southern Part ( Northwest area of Iran) in 1828.
This year’s celebration is different for the following reasons:
1- Karabakh Liberation:
In 1989 the entire north of Azerbaijani was still part of the Soviet Union, and there was an Azerbaijani movement towards freedom from the Soviets towards independence that finally came in 1992. While Azerbaijan became independent, Russian and Iranians helped Armenia to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts. The liberation of the area this year is the continuation of the struggle for liberation, unification, and independence.
2- South Azerbaijan:
In 1989, only Northern Azerbaijanis( The Republic of Azerbaijan)were active, and South Azerbaijanis ( over 30 million in Iran) were not as active. There is a deep movement towards freedom and independence among South Azerbaijanis today, and they played some role in liberating Azerbaijani lands from Armenian occupation. Thus, this year both parts of divided Azerbaijan coordinated their efforts.
3- In 1989, Azerbaijanis built a foundation for North Azerbaijan’s independence, but this year, Southern Azerbaijanis signaled their goal for freedom and eventual independence/ reunification.
4- In 1989, the world supported Gorbachev, and the Azerbaijani’s movement did not get much support or media coverage.
Today the world recognizes Iran’s destructive role and our non-violent movement in Iran has more support and media coverage.
5- Independent Republic of Azerbaijan:
In 1989 we did not have an independent country supporting our movement. Today the Republic of Azerbaijan is getting stronger, and the liberation of occupied lands will only make Azerbaijan more powerful, emboldened with millions of active diaspora and 30 million Azerbaijanis in Iran.
Republic Underground news wishes the Azerbaijani community a blessed World Azerbaijani Solidarity.