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Reader's Forum
Re-examining History

Winter 2001 (9.4)

Farid Alakbarov's vision of Uzeyir Hajibeyov is interesting, but still it does not change my point of view. Yes, Uzeyir was "a rare bird" and we probably will never know who the "real" Uzeyir Hajibeyov ever was. Never mind. Who cares anyway? What we do know and appreciate is the legacy that Uzeyir left for Azerbaijani music and musicians.

Certainly Uzeyir was utilized by the Soviet system, as were many other artists, and in this system he had no choice. Lots of other great artists had no patron or sponsor; some became famous long after their death, while others disappeared into oblivion along with their creations.I would never blame Uzeyir Hajibeyov. Nobody has the right to do that. His legacy must be preserved and spread throughout the world. But I still want to find out what happened with those people caught between those systems. What was the process? What really happened with the Azeri intellectuals after the first Revolution between 1905 and 1915?How is it that my family managed to become one of the most respected families in Azerbaijan? How is it that Uzeyir and Jeyhun, who came from a small town in Karabakh with a very simple background, and who started from nothing, no money and no means, managed to do what they did? Was it mere circumstance? They could just as simply have become teachers or lawyers or just countrymen, but "history jumped on their back" as we say.

What feelings did Hajibeyov have towards Socialism and Leninism? Was he mesmerized by those ideas about freedom, equality, and fraternity of the human race? It's a great debate that we must not avoid. Democracy demands transparency.

Before 1925, Uzeyir Hajibeyov and my grandfather Jeyhun [living in Paris] were able to communicate one way or another. How is it that those two brothers who loved each other so profoundly cut off their communication with each other? There are so many things to dig and learn. No doubt there is much hidden in archives all over the world. There's so much that needs to be done to understand this period. Thanks for making all this kind of discussion possible via Take care,

Clement Bailly

Editor: Clement Bailly is the grandson of Jeyhun Hajibeyli (1891-1962), the younger brother of Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948). Jeyhun lived out his life in exile, having been in Paris representing the fledgling government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) when the Bolsheviks took over Baku in 1920. Fearing for his life, Jeyhun never returned home. Clement, a musician, lives in Paris and is writing a book about the Hajibeyovs.

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