“I used to live in Gandja. As all people see, there was an explosion in there and our house is near from where the rocket exploded. Our house was badly damaged. For this reason, we just moved to Baku. Now we live in two small rooms and we are six people. We rented the house without any plans and we did not have another choice because many people have moved and there is no home for rent. There is not place for me sitting in front of computer and studying online.”
This is the opening paragraph of a short story by Javidan Guliyev, who studies at School of Business at ADA. But this is not just a story. This is a history.
You are living through an unrepeatable and unique moment in the history of our nation. It is unique not only because of the war and the pandemic COVID-19, but also because of a new page in the Azerbaijani process of nation building. I was reading a twitter post of our Mehriban xanim Aliyeva this morning: “These days, the whole world community is witnessing the invincible will, determination, unity and solidarity of Azerbaijani people, their loyalty to the Motherland”. Our national values re-emerge with new vigor.
Years from now, historians will study from the experiences of people who went through it – people like you, your families, friends, neighbors, teachers. These are the days that cry out to be documented.
History is not only about dates and facts but also, as Betty Blair, a dear friend of Azerbaijan says, it is about narratives and testimonies that create so much empathy with readers.
That is why we invite you to be part of The ADA Writes History Initiative. Many of you mentioned in your recent emails that you are overwhelmed with emotion and that these emotions prevent you from focusing on anything except your Motherland and those who are fighting for it.
Many of you have brothers, cousins uncles and close friends, who are sacrificing their lives for Karabakh. Some of you have parents who are doctors, saving the lives of those soldiers. Others have parents who spend sleepless nights helping the government return our lands.
Millions of Azerbaijanis all over the world are now united as never before to help soldiers and their families with donations, to help Azerbaijan’s voice to be heard in every corner of the globe. Some of you live in the cities that have been attacked like Ganja, Ter-Ter, Barda, Mingechevir, Goranboy, Agjabedi. Or you have relatives or friends living there.
Your stories are history. The time is perfect to document them for future generations of Azerbaijan and the world.
This project is also to provide platform for Azerbaijani youth to develop multiple skills – exploration, examination, articulation, creativity, cooperation- that are at the core of our ADA mission.
We invite all ADA affiliates -students, graduate students, staff, faculty and alumni - to contribute to history!
You can contribute:
1) by yourself individually, in pairs or in groups
2) with parents, siblings, cousins, classmates, friends and teachers.
We begin this project as ADA Writes History. Your involvement will make it a valuable contribution of Azerbaijanis Write History!
Note: Please, indicate all participants if you are working as a team.
Your story must be true. Here are some suggestions:
Share your observations, examinations, reflections, discoveries, feelings, emotions. Write about what has impacted you the most since the war started. Why has it impacted you? Why do you want to share it? What will others learn from your story? What will foreigners learn from your story?
These can be stories that witness or heard about that you would want to tell to your kids or grandkids.
Take or share a photo which tells a story by itself! They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” Be sure to ask the photographer’s permission if you use someone else’s photos.
“I saw this truck other day while I was leaving campus. A big smile erupted on my face. This has been time of unity, strength and standing together. This has been time of rewriting the history of the Azerbaijani nation. This is history being written by us Azerbaijanis as we witness it and experience it everyday!”
For some of you, heroes are those who are fight on battleground sacrificing their lives for our lands. For others, heroes are doctors saving their lives. But a hero can also be old man donating his engagement ring to help soldiers. Write your story of Azerbaijani hero in the 2020 War for Karabakh. Include their biographies.
There are many of you who are talented in expressing your feelings through poems or songs. Use your talent as a creative means to convey the history!
If you are in the regions being attacked or regions close to the frontline, document what has been happening there, how people feel, the difficulties and problems they are experiencing.
Keep a record of memorable social network posts. Organize them in a creative story thread. You may add pictures. However, don’t forget to ask for permission if you use other people’s’ posts in your story.
Since ths is the age of technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, use computer graphics to illustrate an important idea about the war or you can draw / paint a poster.
Rumors are an important part of documenting history. It often takes time to sort out the lies and discover the truth. For example, there are often rumors about whether certain town have been captured – like Shusha. Or, there have been rumors about an explosion in one of the schools in Baku being carried out by Armenian terrorists? Focus on one of these rumors and show how it reflects the fears and concerns that people have. Show what happened to convince people of the truth.
Dream about what you would like to see developing in Karabakh after it is returned to Azerbaijan. What changes and developments do you dream of seeing there? How can you be a part of those changes? This can be your business plan, policy paper or social responsibility project.
Since one of the purposes of this project is to make our voices heard all over the world, English language is the preferred language to use.
But, the Azerbaijani language is also welcome since another purpose of the project is to compile oral histories.
Word limit for each type is provided. However, keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity. Your story needs to be complete, unified, coherent and credible. It should not tell the reader what happened. It should show the reader what happened.