Saturday, 11 Jul 2020

Quotes from “Ali and Nino” (1937) about Azerbaijan and Europe.

“Some scholars look on the area south of the Caucasian mountains as belonging to Asia, while others, in view of Transcaucasia’s cultural evolution, believe that this country should be considered part of Europe. It can therefore be said, my children, that it is partly your responsibility as to whether our town [Baku] should belong to progressive Europe or to reactionary Asia”. Ali and Nino, 3-4.

“Oh yes. We are centuries ahead [of Persia]. You must remember that we have an enormous amount of industry here, and a railway. Unfortunately the Russian administration has suppressed our cultural revolution. We have not enough doctors and teachers. But I hear the Government plans to send gifted young people to Europe, to learn there what they have missed under the Russian yoke”. Ali and Nino, 254.

“Look here, Iljas Beg”, I said and took him to the map, “our natural allies should be Turkey and Persia. But now they are both powerless. We’re hanging in mid-air, and from the north one hundred and sixty million Russians are pressing down on us, thirsting for our oil. As long as the English are here, no Russian, Red or White, dares to cross our borders. But once the English have left there’s just you and me, and our few regiments to defend our country”.

Ali and Nino, 264.

“In any case I’ll admit that your country is just as ripe for independence as, shall we say, the Republics of Central America. I think our Government [British] will soon recognize your state.” Ali and Nino, 254.

“There is one thing I cannot understand about the Christians. They have the best weapons, the best soldiers and the best factories, in which they produce everything they need to conquer their enemies. Every man who invents something to kill other people easily, quickly and in as great numbers as possible is highly praised, he makes much money and a decoration is bestowed on him. That is good and right. War must be. But on the other hand the Europeans build many hospitals, and a man who during a war cures and feeds enemy soldiers is also praised and decorated”. Ali and Nino, 15-16.

Kurban Said, Ali and Nino,
first published in German in Vienna, 1937, current English
language version, New York, 2000

Source: Jos Boonstra research on Azerbaijan and EU relations: http://www.ecfr.eu/content/entry/ecfr_fride_promoting_democracy_and_human_rights