Azerbaijani Authorities Taking Revenge for Aylisli Trilogy Grand Traffic Jam

The detention of the writer Akram Aylisli in the Baku airport on March 30 shows that the authorities have not forgiven him writing the trilogy The Grand Traffic Jam, which came out in a signal edition of 50 copies in 2011 for peer review. The novel exposes the Soviet and modern political mores of Azerbaijan.

Aylisli even then, as a writer-seer, was trying to send a signal that the authoritarian government system built in Azerbaijan moves it to a dead end. Hence the name of the trilogy The Grand Traffic Jam.

The trilogy consists of three novels: Yemen, Grand Traffic Jam, and Stone Dreams.

The open persecution of the writer began after the December 2012 issue of the Russian magazine Friendship of Peoples with the novel Stone Dreams published. It tells about the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations in the light of the arguments of the book hero, an Azerbaijani intellectual.

The very Stone Dreams called pro-Armenian writing were used for attacking Aylisli for the whole trilogy. The first two parts of the trilogy full of criticism were not specifically mentioned.

Bacchanalia persecution started on 1 February 2013 with the writer’s obstruction in Parliament, where he was accused of treason. The same day, the youth wing of the ruling party New Azerbaijan held a rally in front of the writer's home, staging a “funeral” of the books by Akram Aylisli. On February 7, President Ilham Aliyev canceled Aylisli’s People's Writer title. The Scientific Religious Council of the Muslim Office issued a statement accusing the writer of insulting the best feelings of the Azerbaijani people. The odious leader of the pro-government party Modern Musavat Hafiz Hajiyev announced a reward of 10 thousand manats for the one who would cut off the writer’s ear.

All government and pro-government media in an organized manner led the campaign of insults and slander against Aylisli. His wife and sons were dismissed from their jobs.

As for the Stone Dreams, there the writer attempted to send a call to the Armenians to forgive each other mistakes and look into the future, cleansing of the tragic burden of the past. "The essence of the idea, the novel’s energy is in this," the writer told Turan then.

Aylisli then called Armenian writers to follow his example and also admit their mistakes. "Nations are not to blame for wars. Guilty of wars are those who use politics for personal gain and to earn from the wars,” Aylisli said.

Aylisli is supported by the Azerbaijani and international democratic community.

"The persecution of a living classic of Azerbaijani literature Akram Aylisli impresses with its sophisticated cruelty." In the XXI century in the country, which built the first democratic government in the East, a writer is subjected to a public execution with the ruthlessness of the medieval Inquisition," said the screenwriter Rustam Ibrahimbekov.

The British journalist and expert on the Caucasus, Karabakh conflict researcher Thomas de Waal called the publishing of the Stone Dreams a courageous act.

"He wrote this not as a politician or a journalist, but as an artist and a writer. He expressed his vision in an artistic work. He said the society in which we live is also doing bad, so we are responsible for it, and it must be admitted," said Thomas de Waal.

In February 2014 an international group of professors and university presidents nominated Akram Aylisli for Nobel Peace Prize:

Sergey Abashin, a professor of anthropology and social studies in Europe, St. Petersburg University; Andrei Bitov, ​​President of the Russian PEN Club, an honorary professor, Yerevan State University;

Craig Calhoun, Professor of Social and Political Sciences, Director of the London School of Economics;

Georgi Derluguian, Professor of Social Studies and Public Policy, New York University in Abu Dhabi;

Alexander Dobrokhotov, ​​Professor of Philosophy, Higher School of Economics (Moscow);

Hasan Huseinov, Professor of Classical Philology and Philosophy, Moscow State University, Higher School of Economics (Moscow), University of Basel (Switzerland);

Kevan Harris, researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Princeton University (USA);

Rouslan Khestanov, Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Higher School of Economics (Moscow), Director of the Moscow Institute of Social and Cultural Programs;

Michail Maiatsky, Professor of Cultural Studies, Graduate School of Economics (Moscow), University of Fribourg (Switzerland);

Vladimir Malakhov, Professor of Social Research, President of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Director of the Center for Applied Political Theory and Political Science;

Nikolai Plotnikov, Professor of Philosophy, Russian Scientific Center of Philosophy and Intellectual History, Ruhr University of Bochum (Germany);

Teodor Shanin, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, President of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences;

Andrew Wachtel, Bertha and Max Dressler, Professors of Humanities, Center for International and Comparative Studies (the CICS), Northwestern University (USA), University of Central Asia;

Immanuel Wallerstein, Professor of Sociology at Yale University.    -0-

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