February 17, 2006 - 12:00 AMT
Ramil Safarov Has Been Proclaimed "Man of the Year" in Azerbaijan
He was honored with this title for beheading the sleeping Armenian with an axe.
Azeri officer Ramil Safarov, who killed Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan in February 2004 has been announced man of year of Azerbaijan. This title was awarded to him by former Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Iskander Hamidov on behalf of the National-democratic party. This was perhaps the most vivid expression of anti-Armenian hysteria, which currently reigns in Azerbaijan.
The title has been awarded to Safarov "for merits in protecting state and national interests". It follows from this that according to Iskanker Hamidov national interests consist in killing sleeping Armenians. Meanwhile, the ex-minister is not interested in the crime circumstances, which prove that Safarov is a coward. (As it is known, he refused to duel with Gurgen Margaryan) "I don't care how Safarov killed the Armenian officer. The more Azeris kill Armenians, the less Armenians there will be. If every Azeri soldier had killed an Armenian the war would have ended with the victory of Azerbaijan", Iskander Hamidov said. These monstrous words need no comments. It should only be mentioned that they belong to a person who has been a very important figure in the government of Azerbaijan and up to now represents the viewpoint of a considerable part of Azeri society and political elite. It should also be mentioned that Hamidov's point of view is quite popular in the Azeri parliament where there are several committees supporting Ramil Safarov.

In this connection we can ask a question which may look out of place. Can the co-chairmen of the Minsk group really believe that Ilham Aliev wishes and is able to create an atmosphere of trust necessary for Karabakh conflict resolution? In Rambuy the Presidents have reached agreement on seven from nine discussed issues. Trust measures is one of the points, which did not create any disagreement between Aliev and Kocharyan. How can we talk about atmosphere of trust if the representatives of Azeri legislative power (Fazil Gazanfaroghlu, Chingiz Damiroghlu) take part in the presidium where it is decided to proclaim Ramil Safarov man of the year? It would be wrong to suppose that the monstrous views of such obscurants like Iskander Hamidov and Akid Nagi are absolutely supported in Azerbaijan. Not all the Azeris agree that it is necessary to erect a monument to Safarov and make him a national hero. "Making Ramil Safarov a hero would be a big mistake", said veteran of Karabakh war Elkhan Alibeyli known as Rambo in his letter to "Real Azerbaijan" paper. "Such widespread discussions of his deed in the press are a big minus for Azerbaijan. He is no hero and I doubt in the correctness of what he has done. He has done a thoughtless thing... It is the society that brought him up like that". Doubt in Safarov's heroism was also expressed by journalist N. Ibrahimov in "Zerkalo" newspaper. Here is a citation from his article: "Safarov has killed the enemy not in an open and honest battle but in circumstances which give Armenians a well-grounded reason to doubt in the valor and courage of the Azeri officer. The disservice, which we render to ourselves, showing murderer as a hero, disparages our image of a peaceful nation in the eyes of the West. Giving such а trump to Armenians is the bathos of stupidity. Now our enemies will cry on every corner that we are not only murderers but we praise that in every possible way and honor the murder of a sleeping man. Isn't it obvious that boasting and making R. Safarov a hero means pouring water in the Armenian mill? Safarov and his patrons have also been carefully criticized by well-known journalists and public figures Zardusht Alizade, Shakhin Rzaev and Eynulla Fatullayev. However, their more or less sensible appraisals sound in Azerbaijan like voice crying in the wilderness.

Moreover, publicly prejudicing the deed of Ramil Safarov is dangerous for life. Editorial office of "Gyundelik Azerbaijan" newspaper was attacked only because of publishing an article urging not to hurry up canonizing Safarov. In reply to this, Ramil Safarov's father in his interview to pro-governmental "Sherg" newspaper promised to sneak up to the editor's bed late at night and behead him with an axe. Commenting on this, the editor wrote: "It looks like passion for axes is a hereditary trait of the Safarovs. Can you imagine what will happen if Safarov's statement gets in the hands of Armenian propagandists?..."

Of course, the Safarovs' passion for axes cannot characterize the real face of today's Azerbaijan. Dregs of society and morally depraved people exist everywhere in the world. But the thing is that state leaders of Azerbaijan do not try to prevent idolization of the murderer and even indirectly encourage those who praise him to high heaven. This is what shows the real face of Azerbaijan. It is hard to understand how can a country where such a monstrous crime is called a deed pretend to a place in the European family.