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Observations by Clement Bailly – No. 1
Return from Baku

Email from Clement Bailly, grandson of Jeyhun Hajibeyli [brother of composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov]. Clement currently lives in Paris. Posted on with permission from the author.

To: Betty Blair, Editor of Azerbaijan International magazine and editor of, who lives in Los Angeles. Correspondence began early in 2001 when Clement Bailly discovered various items about Uzeyir Hajibeyov on Azerbaijan International’s web site – Betty encouraged Clement to go to Baku and suggested some people who would be valuable contacts for him there.

Issue: Researching the history of the Hajibeyov Family since so much was lost during the Soviet period and Uzeyir the composer was living in Baku while his brother, vehemently anti-Communist was forced to live in exile in Europe.

Occasion: Written a week after Clement’s return from his first trip to Baku on the occasion of the Azerbaijani World Congress meeting (November 9-10, 2001) where Clement was an invited guest from France.

Date: November 15, 2001
Dear Betty,

I’m back from Baku. I discovered this morning. Incredible work, so much information.
I still have no words to explain my trip in Baku. Immediately upon arrival at the Paris airport, I met Gadir Suleyman, the senior member of our French delegation. He is 84 years old. The last time I saw him was 40 years ago and yet I still recognized him.

First Diaspora Organization
Grandpa Jeyhun created the first Azerbaijan Diaspora organization in 1925 in Paris and Gadir gave me a lot of information about it. Gadir is still in Baku from the Congress, but I hope to interview him when he returns to Paris.

He took care of those Azerbaijani members of delegation [members from the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic who were in Paris in relation to the signing of the Versailles Treaty and who were never able to return]. An interesting note from him that I discovered recently. He considered most of those people idiots and cowards.

After WWII, a new wave of Azerbaijani emigrants who had been prisoners of war settled in France [Stalin would not allow any Soviet soldier who had been captured by foreign forces to return to the Soviet Union after the war]. After Grandpa’s death in 1962 until the 1980s, Gadir Suleyman and various others created other Diaspora organizations in Paris.

[Added on Nov 21, 2001: My own father Timuchin created “The House of Azerbaidjan” in Paris in the 1992. He was the president. After he died in 1993, Sayid Ismayilov takes care of it.

I discovered while reading Grandpa’s notes (in French) that he had news from Azerbaijan in 1940. He learned of the death of his mother (Shirin Aliverdibeyova) that same year.

I discovered that Grandpa worked for the French Foreign office during this period. Maybe he had news from newspapers or maybe directly from the family. I will try to learn more about that. He also worked for the Asiatic Review of London, too, and the French Academy].

But back to our trip to Baku for the World Congress of Azerbaijanis [November 9-10, 2001].
As soon as we arrived at the airport in Baku, TV reporters jumped on me and I gave my first interview. They had questions about me, my family, Karabakh etc…

The name - “Hajibeyov” / “Hajibeyli” is a magical password in Baku. It carries so much respect in people’s eyes. Seems I became the official spokesman for our French delegation. I had tons of interviews from TV, radio, and newspapers. Some of their accounts, I have read. Some were perfect; others were not. For example, I mentioned about your on the Internet, and one of those newspaper credited me as being responsible for it.

Azerbaijani World Congress - 2001
The Azerbaijani World Congress started with very, very long speeches – remnants of Soviet times. The following day there were committee reports about culture, history, language, sports, etc. At night there was a concert with all sorts of artists from Alim Gasimov (mugham singer) to Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s works.
Meeting President Aliyev

After the concert, I personally met President Heydar Aliyev for about two minutes. I was very lucky. I gave him a map of Azerbaijan made by the 1919 ADR delegation to Paris [which my grandfather was a member]. We hugged each other.

Jamming with Jazz Musicians
At night, I played in a jam session with jazz musicians from Baku. The day after that, I was “kidnapped” by people from Shusha [Hajibeyov’s home town which now is under occupation by Armenian military forces].

Agil Abbas is the guy who gently stoled me for that day. He’s from Shusha and is very active with the refugees. He said his hair turned white within a few hours when Armenians invaded Shusha [Spring 1992]. He was with Rashad Majid, Editor of 525 Gazet, also from Shusha.

Everybody was treating me as if I was some sort of living Buddha. I met refugees, people that knew my family, even the chef of the restaurant took me in his arms. We spent the day making toasts. At night we had the second jam session with all the jazz guys from Baku.

Hajibeyov Home Museum
Three times I visited the Hajibeyov Home Museum. The last time there was a very big emotional surprise. They invited every Hajibeyov still living from 5 year old to 90. There were about 300 people in that small museum, crying, hugging me, giving me presents. One of them presented me with a portrait of Uzeyir Bey from the 40s.

It was the first time since 1920 that the whole family had been together. I met so many incredible people. The day after, I had a meeting with the descendants of the creators of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic [Musavat Party who established independence in Azerbaijan which lasted from May 28, 1918 to April 28, 1920]. Then again, tears and emotions because our Grandparents had worked together. We decided to create an association together.

I have collected a lot of original information about my family. There are so many things that I have to check. There are still a lot of documents appearing every day. There is a lot of material at the National Archives. The director wanted me to go there but I had no time. He told me that Grandpa had worked with Uzeyir on “Arshin Mal Alan” as well as some other pieces. We will check into this in the future.

I have brought a lot of original photos from Baku that are not in the [Home] Museum. The French Embassy and the new Ambassador want me to be an emissary for cultural exchanges between France and Azerbaijan. Lider TV made a very beautiful documentary about Grandpa Jeyhun. Just before it was broadcast, I was invited for another live interview.

I cannot relate everything and I have to take time to think about what I will do. The Azerbaijani Embassy in Paris wants me, too. I have discovered a new home and 8 million sisters and brothers. My poor little head is boiling. My father’s widow, Pascale Hadjibeyli, gave me a huge box of original documents, handwritten by Grandpa about history and about his dreams [actual dreams at night, not wishes]. I met her in Baku though she was part of our delegation that came from France. I am just starting to read those documents.

Well, Betty, I want to thank you again for what you are doing. Without you, nothing would have been possible. You have my eternal gratitude.

November 15, 2001

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