Back to previous page

A nation’s reaction to insult

Regarding the Feb. 13 news article “Azerbaijan issues fatwa against author”:

Akram Aylisli’s novel “Stone Dreams” indeed caused a heated discussion in Azerbaijan. This illustrates that the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict remains a painful issue for Azerbaijanis. But the greatest cause for widespread popular reaction to Mr. Aylisli’s novel was not his references to the Armenians but his derogatory and insulting accusations against refugees and internally displaced people from the Armenian-occupied parts of Azerbaijan and from Armenia itself. I am sure that human rights activists should understand the feelings of the Azerbaijani victims of ethnic cleansing when an insult is added to their injury.

Certainly, Mr. Aylisli has a right to express himself. So do his critics. A number of parliamentarians and law enforcement officials stated clearly that no call for violence against Mr. Aylisli or anybody else will be tolerated. Accusing Azerbaijan or its parliament of attacking an individual is akin to blaming America as a whole for statements and words of its individual politicians.

Mammad Talibov, Washington

The writer is political and legal counselor at the Embassy of Azerbaijan.

© The Washington Post Company