Home » Featured, Headline, In English

Memories from Baku, 1987

27 February 2013 No Comment

Armenian and Azerbaijani kids before the conflict/war in May, 1987.

School No 8. Baku. Last day before summer holidays. About a third of the kids in this picture are Armenian. I’m in the back row, slightly obscured by another kid. The date on the board is May 1987. Within a few months Karabakh conflict will begin. Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia will start arriving in Baku and Sumgait.

By February 1988 it will be Armenians fleeing en mass. By the time ceasefire will be signed in May 1994 whole swathes of Azerbaijan, beyond Karabakh will fall under Armenian occupation and all Azeris will be expelled from captured lands. And hundreds of thousands of Armenians will flee their homes in Azerbaijan, driven out in despicable attacks and pogroms from Baku and Sumgait.

Armenia will be emptied of Azerbaijanis, and Azerbaijan of Armenians; whilst in Karabakh Azerbaijani population will be systematically driven out and ethnically cleansed in massacres, as will happen in Khojali and my grandmother’s village of Malibeyli in 1992. Then again Azerbaijanis will be no less merciless, both sides will commit horrendous atrocities. Tens of thousands will perish; cities will be reduced to rubble, becoming ghost towns, like my grandfather’s birthplace of Aghdam; over a million will flee their homes.

Azerbaijanis and Armenians will be locked for 25 years in a bitter embrace of war. But in May 1987 we were just kids celebrating the end of our first year in school. I think this picture too belongs in the Karabakh album. May all victims of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict rest in peace. And all should be remembered.

I was going through all the photos that came from Baku and came across this one, taken on 1/09/1986, Baku, School No 8. That's my first teacher. Zhanna Aramovna Khachaturian. Her family lived in the same block as my grandparents. Her sons taught me to play football. I don't know which year she fled Baku. I know she moved to Moscow. I thought this picture belongs in this album.

Photo and words by Murad Gassanly on Facebook. More photos here.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.