Friday, 20 May 2011

When your troll asked: "What makes you Azeri?"

Thanks to my new blog troll, Kaweh, I have been thinking about this whole what makes you Azeri? (See comments on the previous posting about the Eurovision win, if you can be bothered) issue.

Also, when Mark asked today:

“Seeing your Azeriness called into question also makes me wonder what Azeriness is. Every people has a different sense of itself, typically drawing on a mixture of heritage, language, place of birth or current residence, diet or dress, and patriotism. For the Anglosphere, being in the club basically means speaking English, living legally within the national borders, and, preferably, owning a t-shirt and pair of jeans. How do Azeris decide who is one and who isn't? It seems very different. Is it mostly about heritage and patriotism in Azerbaijan?”

I thought we could talk about this once and for all.

Before I explain what I think, let’s look at some of Kaweh’s arguments. Basically, he claimed “It's not that you're not Azeri enough, it's that you're not Azeri at all."

He explained that, because I did not speak Azeri, but spoke Russian, I was not Azeri.

Here is some of the logic applied:

One may identify with a certain ethnicity, religion, State etc. However, this is not the same as ethnicity, which is overwhelmingly determined by first language. I'm not making this stuff up you know, it's long been studied and well documented....

...In your case you may identify yourself as Azeri because you've been raised there and are influenced by the culture and so on. However, my guess is that you've always felt a bit different from mainstream Azerbaijani's, perhaps a bit superior, and that you've never quite understood all the nationalist sentiment and so on. This would've been quite different if you spoke Azeri as your first language for reasons explained above.

As I've understood from Mark's copy/paste you identified yourself as a Russian speaking jew who grew up in Soviet Azerbaijan. This makes you a (former?) Azerbaijani citizen, yes. Azeri ethnicity? No.

You may disagree because you FEEL Azeri, you may IDENTIFY yourself as such. I'm afraid however this doesn't fit the criteria of ethnicity. Your criticism of Azerbaijan goes well beyond the norm, even surpassing those of Iranian sell-outs who desperately try to be accepted by 'The West'. Yours borders hatred, you probably hated the country growing up, you hated the backward people speaking a language you didn't understand and most importantly, you probably felt alienated from them. This explains your attitude, and believe me you're no exception.”

As I said to Kaweh, some of his arguments do make sense, and I am sure (as he kept reminding us all) he had based them on some recent social studies, which must claim that language is the one and only core element in determining someone’s ethnic identity. As most of us, of course, know, recent does not automatically mean correct, but let’s leave the scientific arguments for some other, academic blog.

As another commentator (Noor) pointed out, Azerbaijan, and Baku in particular, “in a whole, are not a homogenous group. I suppose you already know that there is a long list of ethnic minorities that include Jews, Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Russians, Caucasus Germans, Iranians, Talysh people, Lezgins, Georgians, Udins, and Avars, etc.”

So, it has always been (sadly, maybe not so much anymore) a very multi-national society, with a lot of various ethnic groups and nationalities living alongside each other. And Russian for a long time was the main language, back in the Soviet times. So, in theory, if we were to assume the language to be the only criteria, we should all be calling ourselves Russian and not Azeris, Jews, Armenians, Georgians, Tatars and Kurds etc.

I look back at the people I knew back home when I grew up. People, whose first language was Russian, but they were not Azeri or Russian. Let’s take Jewish people who lived in Baku, for example. They did not speak much Azeri, but neither did they speak Hebrew. Some of them knew a few expressions in Yiddish. But, mainly, they spoke Russian. So did thousands of other Jews all over the Soviet Union. Were they Russian? Of course not.

Take Armenians who grew up in Baku. They spoke Russian, too. In fact, a lot of them spoke Azeri a lot better than me. Did that mean they were Azeri? Did that mean they could remain in the country when the war started? Sadly, that was not the case. I have heard of some Armenian families moving to Armenia and trying hard to assimilate- yes, without the language, it must have been pretty hard. So, a lot of them chose Russia as their new home. Does that make them Russian, just because that was their first and only language? Nope. Guess what they are? Armenian! Ta-da! Surprising that, isn’t it?

Another good example is London, where huge chunks of the population are, on one hand, British, but on another belong to their ethnic group- very clearly sticking to their roots and traditions. Again, language is sometimes there, but not always. Take a few of my Indian friends. They are a generation who grew up in the UK. Their first language is English, they were brought up in English speaking schools. But they are clearly Indian. Some of them might understand or even speak some Hindi (or some other languages used by Indian people of various groups). But Hindi alone does not make them Indian. Their cultural upbringing, their food, music, parents, and, of course, religion: a whole tapestry of the complicated, intricate details is what makes them different from other British ethnic groups.

I so often get told I am not Azeri, or not Azeri enough that I decided to just clarify once and for all.

Yes, I have bits of other bloods mixed in me. Which means that, besides the main (over 50%) Azeri “blood”, I also have a mixture of other bloods that had accidentally slipped in somewhere along the genetic line. That, of course, does not make me a “Russian speaking Jew” as Kaweh assumed for some, unknown to me, reason. If I were a Jew who grew up in Azerbaijan, I would not be calling myself Azeri. Why on earth would I? I would call myself...let me think...perhaps a Jew?

So, I would like to assure you (mainly nationalists, who are obsessed with identities, religion or my first language) that:

a) My mother toungue is Russian. This means I was raised speaking it, I went to a Russian speaking school and university (as well as the majority of Bakuvians then) and I think in Russian. However. I am definitely not Russian. I like Russians. I think they are wonderfully mad and dramatic. I love their culture, I speak their language and I was brought up studying Pushkin and Lermontov, and watching Russian cartoons. Russians will always be a huge part of my childhood and my background. And I am happy with that. But I can’t call myself Russian, because I am not.

b) Guess what? I am Azeri. And I don’t “hate being Azeri” or wish I were someone else. I am quite happy the way I am. As for hating chushkas and chushka behavior, hmm...that is true. And I know it is not PC to say so. But hey, I don’t care. I hate chushkas not just in Azerbaijan though. I hate English chushkas with even more passion, if it is possible. Just to clarify. By chushka I mean a person with no manners, and disgusting attitude. Spitting on the pavements, lack of personal hygiene, grabbing girls’ bottoms on buses, etc are some of the signs of being a chushka. Not the language you speak, your specific ethnic background, or the amount of money you may have.

c) Final, and most important point- Please stop trying to prove to me I am not Azeri or challenge my ethnic roots. I don’t just call myself Azeri because it is such a fantastic, enviable nationality the whole world wishes they belonged to. I call myself Azeri because I was born Azeri. By Azeri parents, grandparents, and some very proper (even famous) Azeri ancestors going generations back. In fact, that main % of Azeriness that I have in me is so friggin' Azeri that all of you crazy nationalists would die of envy.

This posting turned into somewhat of a narcissistic me,me,me posting. But really, I did not want to talk about me. It is just that I am tired to answer endless questions about being Azeri. What is the big deal anyway? This obsession with having an identity fascinates me. Not only I get challenged constantly because of the language I speak, or being too open about things I dislike back home; I also often get attacked by religious people who claim that I don’t have an identity because I refuse to have God.

According to their logic, you see, I don’t belong because I reject Allah and therefore, “deny my national identity”. National identity to them is the same thing as a religious one. I am tired of repeating that national identity, or cultural one, does not have to be based on religion. There are a lot of non-Muslim Azeris, and guess what, they are still Azeris, whether the religious lot wants them to be or not.

Oh, I am exhausted now. I know it is a long and boring posting, and I apologize.

I have less than a week before I have to go into labour. Can we please stop going on about ethnic identity now?


  1. You know, I personally think that the notion of ethnic identity in this region is way over the top. Instead I am hoping that one day citizenship takes precedence, although obviously people are free to identify ethnically within that concept.

    Of course, being human takes precedence over everything... :)

  2. @Onnik: Well, these two concepts have been confused in the previous comments section. Ethnic identity vs citizenship. Azeriness vs Azerbaijaniness so to speak. :)

    I think Kaweh thought I was a Jew but for some reason liked being called Azeri just because I grew up there. That, of course, is not the case. That would mean I was an Azerbaijani Jew, technically speaking. To be honest, I could not believe! I had to write this all to explain how it works. One would have thought it was bloody obvious!

  3. How frustrating it must be for troll that you do not conform to its strict definition. I wager that troll finds life difficult and unpleasant after spending all day volunteering as the ethnic police! But hey I am an American mutt with no homeland and some sort of shameful ancestry, what do I know about the stringent requirements one must meet in order to be Azeri.

  4. Ok, so where do I sign up for Azeries who don't feel Azeri club? My Dad was very much Azeri, my brother and I grew up speaking 3 languages and our linguist father made sure that we didn't mix them. That said neither my brother nor I feel particularly Azeri anymore. We don't live there and we have assimilated quite well into our new adopted homelands.
    I wish nothing but the best for my old country, but I personally didn't fit in there to begin with. My husband likes to tell people that I was the only person at the US Embassy in Baku whose laugh could be heard all the way down the hallway. I was always too tall, too loud, too direct, and too feminist and most importantly didn’t have any kind of family clan behind me.
    I don't see any issues here. If a person is happy and feels that they belong where they live, who cares what their ethnicity is? I think people place too much emphasis on nationalism, nothing good ever came of it. Just open history books and look at how many people died in wars started by nationalists. Enough already.

  5. Looks like it's pretty exhausting to be Azeri among Azeris, who for some reason believe you're not Azeri. Maybe that's part of Azeriness, the constant questioning of your fellow's Azeriness.

    Tough crowd!

  6. Hey I loved the whole post. Your wrote down the thoughts that been crossing my mind for ages...but I could never ever put them on paper like you did. Good job!

  7. @Nata: Ah! You will get Kaweh quickly on your case, as he will call you a typical "sell-out who desperately tries to be accepted by 'The West'". :)))

    @Az Eri: :))) You made me smile. Yes, a tough crowd. If you remember, azeris also like to ask each other what region they come from. That also plays a HUGE part in your Azeriness. Some regions are more azeri in their understanding, than the others. Of course, it is all very silly.

    @Gunel: Thank you.

    @Shannon: The trolls enjoy trolling. Also, I would suspect it comes from personal issues that go too deep for us to understand.

  8. Lovely post, i don't know how people find time to analyse your identity so much, it must be very flattering :) i'm same as you and many other old bakuvians - feeling a bit detached from the regions but very much azeri, i guess that is part of being azeri, caucasus is in itself a region VERY different from the rest of the world and no comparisons can be made, it is unique. But all aside, the main reason for my comment is to wish you a good luck in a week's time (or anytime now?) and for all to go well for mummy and the baby :) take care

  9. It's interesting how your troll's questions made you reflect about your Azerinness. I've always wondered what means to be Peruvian, and I guess there'll be a number of answers, maybe as many as there are Peruvians. We even have a beautiful word: Peruanidad. Very used right now on electoral times.
    Are you a week away from labor? I wish you, your baby and your family all the best. And we'll be here waiting for you!

  10. Talk about mixed identity. I grew up in a mixed Armenian/Azeri Russian-speaking family and stayed in Baku through the 1990s with all of its (still ongoing) anti-Armenian sentiments. As a result of hiding my Armenian roots even from my friends in college years and afterwards (some might have suspected but never called me on it), I grew up feeling that I belonged to no particular ethnicity as I don't truly associate myself with either Armenians or Azeris. I have issues with both. Most of all, I despise them both for breaking up my family as my dad had to leave Baku after the war broke out and I was raised by my mom. We visited dad who settled in Russia, twice a year. Our old-time neighbors in Baku knew about out situation but we kept it a secret from everyone else. Well, last year my mom died in Baku. And my dad was still in Russia. He could not even be with mom in her last moments, and was devastated about it.

    And now I am married to a Jewish guy in the US who claims Jewish people are only those who practice that religion, which he does not. We are truly an ethnically confused family.

    Anyway: my point is, nationalism is stupid and dangerous as others have already pointed it out here. Unfortunately, it will always be there for as long as humanity exists, because, let's face it, people are utterly imperfect and suffer from self-inflicted idiotic behaviors.

  11. @Anonymous: I often thought about this particular kind of a family, an Azeri/Armenian marriage, torn by the conflict. It is absolutely heartbreaking. Could your parents not have left together? That, I guess, would be the only solution, but probably was too complicated for them at the time.

    The bottom line is, a lot of us are ethnically mixed/confused.My children will be confused even more than me, but I dont think it will be any issue for them, whatsoever. I hope it will just make them more interesting (and maybe even better looking!)

  12. Yes, it was heartbreaking, to say the least. Mom did not leave Baku because, at the time, it offered better prospects for me in terms of education than the rural area where dad had settled. So, in a way, I should have appreciated that she wanted me to have a better start in life... but I definitely would have preferred that they left together and stayed together afterwards. It is hard for me to now remember Baku the way it was when everything was normal...just seems it was such a long time ago. Things are so different there now (worse, as far as I am concerned) that it pains me. Went there last year for mom's funeral and swore to never go back. I hated every minute of it. Most of all, corruption and bribes you have to pay for every damn certificate verifying the dealth of your loved one. What the fuck happened to a much-touted Azeri compassion and empathy?! And they did not even know I was mixed. Imagine if they did, they would have sent me out penniless. Anyway, sorry for getting off at a tangent, this topic just struck a painful chord with me. I did not agree in the past with some of the things you said in your blog, but I respect you for being so outspoken on this issue. Thank you for this.

  13. @Guler: You are right! I should be flattered. :))) I am like Obama with his birth certificate.

    Thanks so much for the baby wishes. I hope it goes well and quickly....but very scared!

  14. @Anonymous: I would not expect everyone to agree, it would be quite boring.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I have to say, I miss that old Baku, too. I think a lot of us do. Yet, I do have (some?) hope that there are a lot of cool young Azeri people, who are determined to make things better. But for people like you, and me, and Nata...we are not part of that life any longer.

  15. Finally got to you, huh? Sorry to have prodded a sore spot. For what it's worth, your blog has gotten our family interested in Azerbaijan; "Baku" is a household word. I always like the posts where you would talk more about your roots.

    One thing I think you need to remember is that the concept of ethnicity is largely an invention. It's true that shared language / history / genes / dress / etc do serve as excellent motivators for cooperation. But ultimately ethnic categories and ethnic identities are things we build in our minds.

  16. Here's what's bothering me: it's been almost a day, and we haven't heard a word from Kaweh. I'm worried...

  17. Not sure If I should attempt a proper reply since most of my posts just get censored anyway.

    Now, if you want me to reply seriously, rationally, then you have to say now whether or not you're willing to accept the possibility that you might be wrong. So no 'OMG UR JUST A TROLL LOL' every time you disagree with me.
    I repeat, accept the possibility that you might, just maybe, be wrong. Which is really a prerequisite for any debate.

    If you're cool with that, then I'll try to explain ethnicity and identity etc. in more detail and have a calm, rational debate. If not, then not.

    Thanks for the tremendous ego boost by the way, I really needed it.

  18. @Kaweh: Yes, if you send me personal insults, in the style of your stupid f****ng blog, eat your frigging pork you Barbie, etc they will get deleted.
    As an Azeri, I have my own understanding of democracy and freedom of speech. I have also deleted a few other comments from people who called YOU nasty names. I decided to keep things a bit more civilized here.

    I tried to talk to you in the previous posting, keeping things rational and calm. You managed to turn it all into a personal attack- again. Now, you are telling me I can’t hold a debate. I suggested you and me probably should not even attempt to have one. I feel like I am speaking to a brick wall, and clearly, you don't respect my opinion to start with anyway.

    Your example with a French man who moved to Japan compared to an Azeri born and raised in Azerbaijan made such an astoundingly poor logical sense that I decided nothing can get through to you. I think you got confused in your academic theories, but now can’t admit to it. So, our feeling is mutual.

    You are welcome to send polite, sensible replies to people. I personally am NOT interested in any further debate with you. I said what I wanted to say, provoked by sheer ignorance of your question. You will never agree with me, a pork-eating Barbie, right? So, what is the point? :)

    But if you feel it is only fair to argue your case here, since the whole subject was raised by you...go ahead. I am sure you will annoy enough people(have you noticed some pattern developing here?) who might care to respond. Good luck.

  19. @Gabriela: Sorry,thought I replied to you but now realized I never did. I was just going to say...this whole concept of national identity and ethnic blahblah..if very useful for electoral times.
    Yes, waiting for that baby...thanks for the wishes. will let you know!

  20. @Mark: Glad Baku and Az is interesting for you guys. It is a fascinating place, indeed. I dare say, you would enjoy it if you visited.

  21. I am really looking forward to visit Baku asap, I have already being in the Iranian Azerbaijan and absolutely loved it. I am such a junkie of all things Azerbaijan actually and that is why it's been more than a year that I am following your blog.

    I guess as a newly created nation-state, Azerbaijan is going through a phase of defining its boundaries, rewriting its history and more importantly, creating a national identity. All of which suck and it's incredible what, in the 21st century, these lunatic Aliyevs are doing. Probably by the time I visit AZ in the history books there will be a complete chapter explaining how the Aliyev tribe was the first to settle the lands of AZ on 7000 b.c.e. or sth (jk).

    I am seeing people from Azerbaijan that are willing to fight for the rights and denouncing what is going on, but still there is much to be done if we want a free and democratic Azerbaijan. Given the history of the region, it's still hard to believe there is a rutless dictatorship ruling a place in which the first democratic system of the Islamic world ever appear.

  22. @Scary: Not sure how to reply to anything without it being considered an insult by you.

    @Renostan: What I'd said regarding Azeri ethnicity was not about the national identity, which can of course be multi-ethnic. Rather it was about a literal interpretation of the term 'ethnicity' and why it differed from citizenship/national identity. Something that angered some people here it seems.
    Having said that, the term 'Azeri' is of course a very confusing one, much like 'Asian' and 'European' are.

    Mind if I ask why you're so interested in (Iranian) Azerbaijan and what your visit was like?

  23. @Kaweh: Wait a minute... You are kidding me, right?

    Of COURSE nationality and ethnicity are completely different things! Is this what you attempted to explain to us? Because if so, that is different- entirely and completely!- from the earlier debate.

    You can be an Azerbaijani Russian (Armenian, Jewish, etc) or British/American Indian
    (Chinese, Azeri...)

    But! That is NOT what you said?! :-)

    I was NEVER confusing Azeri nationality/citizenship with ethnicity. What made you think I was? I tried to explain to you in this posting that ethnically a lot of groups in Azerbaijan were perhaps, speaking Azeri or Russian, born there etc but still remain ethnically different groups within one country/citizenship.

    But what you said was that , despite my Azeri roots, the fact I spoke RUSSIAN made me NOT AZERI AT ALL. That, plus the fact that I openly say something critical about my homeland. :-)

    That is what you stated and that made no sense to me. If what you are NOW saying is that you explained to us, silly people with no idea, that ethnicity is different from nationality, then come on, man! Nobody will argue about that, that is pretty clear- possibly even to my 5 year old child, I am sure. :-)

  24. Could you drop the ''you're elitist and look down on us''..? Really, that's not the kind of person I am and never have been. Yea I talk in an arrogant ''emotional'' fashion but that's just the way I talk, to anyone. I like it, people who show emotion are more honest is my experience.

    Your last post confuses me though, it seems there's a major discrepancy between my intended message and the received one, because I didn't say anything new in my last post?

    There's much more to be said since determining Azeri ethnicity can be pretty complex given the history of the region and the ambiguity of the term 'Azeri'.
    A bit busy right now but I'll try and explain more clearly what I meant by 'you're not Azeri' later today or tomorrow.

  25. @Kaweh: I think, in all honesty, there is no more to be said. You already told me why you did not think I was Azeri. I already told you why I thought I was. I also gave you enough examples. So, what else can we do? Also, does it really matter? Not really.
    Unless you got confused in my roots/citizenship/whatever else....I can't really help you any more. Of course, if you thought I was actually Jewish, but called myself Azeri? That would explain what you tried to tell me. But I told you you were wrong. Not sure what your problem is.

  26. Looks like we found out one distinguishing characteristic of an Azeri - they must have the final word :-D
    @Scary, @Kaweh: Stop beating the dead horse and drop the subject. Or use email ;-)

  27. @Riyad: Totally, I know.. :))) at least, I have an excuse- I am soon to go into labour! Hormones all over the place.

  28. @Scary: I think there is much more to be said regarding ethnicity and Azeri/Azerbaijani identity. Not about your specific case per se, but about the subject and country in general. A lot of it will deviate from this particular blog, so I won't bother anyone here with it.
    I wasn't confused by your ethnic roots, I was just pointing out that it's (first) language that determines ethnicity.

    @Riyad: The horse lives. My excuse for continuing the beating however, is testosterone. Which I believe is also a kind hormone?

  29. @Kaweh, how about you let the person decide what her identity is? Isn't it by definition what person should feel/perceive himself/herself? How can anyone else have a right to tell that person who they should feel like?

    I don't know where you went to school and learned this fascinating study but if the first language determined the ethnicity then half of Africa would be French by ethnicity and half English? There would be some others too!

  30. not only you scary but you are also crazy azeris out here :)) Being Azeri is being many things at once: speaking different languages in one sentence, eating pork and then going to 'masjid', talk about 'namuz and qeyrat' and then go and whistle at every single girl that passes and then wonder why prostitution and divorce rate is at all time high in AZ.
    It is also giving your last 'manat' to friends and family, putting others' needs before yours, and being the most tolerated country in SOVIET BLOG, that never prosecuted other ethnicities (Jews, Talish, Lezqin, Kurd, etc.)
    I think (and it is only my modest opinion), we as Azeris, being non-individualistic community, always try to categorize and assign certain connotations to individuals and situations.
    To me, scaryazeri is 'Bakinka". Here in NY we always talk about AZ, its past and present, and 'Bakin4i' comes out as its own category. 'Bakin4i' are 'Azeris' because of their love and admiration for 'old baku' and soviet Azerbaijan. But for new Azeris it is time to move and realize that Russian language is....Russian. In USA we speak English in Azerbaijan Azeri.
    Scary, i really like your blog and have been visiting it periodically, yet....(you know 'yet' was coming :)) ) Like most thing in life, there is BALANCE. Yet, Your blogs are overwhelmingly TILTED towards the negative aspects of our culture/ethnicity/views and I think that makes certain individuals doubt your 'Azeriness'.
    It is funny, I always talk about our negatives as well, but when others bring it up.. I want to strangle them!
    I respect your right to constantly bring up NEGATIVE aspects of AZ and azeriness. I know them too, I hate them and they should be destroyed. But! Some of your blogs remind me of Carpetblogger! - which I don't respect due to INSULTS.
    Being Azeri is not being Azerbaijani, Muslim, or Corrupt. Yet being good Azeri is being of value to Azeri cause. (and I do not mean being Muslim, bashing on Armenians, and eating dolma)
    You are Azeri, I don't think you are particularly a good one, but not all Azeris are. We should stop trying to categorize everyone and be so super-sensitive and nationalist to the point where we can not take criticism and bashing from fellow Azeri.
    But by having Azeri in the title of your blog, I was hoping for some more positive azeri stuff as well.
    I walked into this "Azerbaijan" restaurant few months (its 10 minutes away from my home) ago and ordered Azeri salad from the menu. Came lettuce, thin cut carrots, and some 'Italian' dressing on the side. They did not have any actual Azeri dishes. Does the owner of that joint has a right to name his restaurant "Azerbaijan"?? Hell yeah! Do I dislike and consider him an unworthy individual - you bet!! I approached him and suggested maybe adding certain azeri items to the menu was a good idea - he did not want to listen. He is Azeri as well, even though I do not consider him a good one. I think he should have some soft spot for Azeri and have desire to show our good culture, good food, and be proud of it.
    Back to NBA playoffs.... thank you scary for allowing us to contribute and post on your blog.

  31. @everythinginbetweenblog: Identity and ethnicity are two different things. It's because people here don't make that distinction that they get so upset about my comments.

    @azeriinnewyork: How is NY treating you? I've been thinking about moving there.

  32. Sən mükəmməl bir azərbaycanlısan.

  33. @azeriinnewyork, you raise an interesting point in your response. First, I wanted to say that as an Azeri living in US I do and know others who speak Russian. I think it would be generalizing to say that Azeris in US only speak Azeri or even lump them into one category as you pointed out was not great.

    Also, I was curious about your statement regarding 'being good azeri means being value of Azeri cause'. I am curious as to what this cause is? That would help to determine what exactly 'good Azeri' is. Overall, I don't like defining people by good and bad based on their devotion to their country as defined by group of individuals. So I am in disagreement with your point but also curious to clarify it further as relatively new member of the diaspora I don't like all the pressure and labels on Azeris abroad: what we can and cannot say, what cause we must advance, etc. Perhaps you are talking about something else, thus I am clarifying.

    And I find it refreshing that Scary looks critically at the issues at home. She does something others often don't do. Especially among Azerbaijanis abroad.

  34. Wait, so all Americans who speak English as a first language are...English?

  35. I really have to laugh at this post that someone has the audacity to say you aren't Azeri... as if the only way you can be Azeri is to live in Azerbaijan, speak Azerbaijani, have dark hair, dark eyes, want to stay home and be a house wife with a bunch of kids, and do nothing but drink tea... doesn't this guy know what stereotyping is? So if you don't meet his definition of "Azeri" then you aren't Azeri? Really? That's ridiculous. I speak Azerbaijani. I lived in Azerbaijan. I had dark hair, and cooked, cleaned and did all the girl stuff... but guess what, I'm American! Americans speak English, does that mean that all English speaking countries are Englishmen? I think Australia, Canada, New Zeland, and America would all take offense at the notion that language defines your ethnicity. Your "troll" is a moron and obsessed with extreme patriotism. That troll probably says that half of the people in Baku aren't Azerbaijani then by his standards. He's wrong, and he's entitled to his wrong opinion, but he just sounds silly when he makes a statement that absurd.

  36. I didn't say the first thing about hair, tea, eyes, or wanting to stay home. You have a colorful imagination.

    I'm applying elementary social laws, not making anything up, this isn't disputed by anyone in the social sciences. If you want to believe your own fairy-tale and ignore science then join the creationist club.

    2 x 2 = 4, deal with it.

  37. Um, ignoring the importance of place of birth, socialization, or genetic background in the formation of ethnic identity does make it pretty elementary, I guess. Unfortunately the findings of social science don't really approach the level of certaity of simple mathematical equalities which can be proven from first principles. Seriously Kaweh, deep down, don't you realize how absurd it is even to draw such a comparison? Is there no little voice in the back of your mind telling you that you just might be making a fool of yourself?

  38. You're referring to identity, again, you fail to make a distinction. Identity may be influenced by numerous other factors, but this is not to be confused with ethnicity, which is usually one of the factors determining identity.

    Naturally the 'findings' of social science don't approach the level of certainty of exact science. This does not mean that any finding in the social science is false by definition or that any finding can be dismissed merely because it isn't absolute. Probability is what the social sciences are all about.

    There was no comparison. The mathematical equation was a literary reference. One that you, as a British person, should be familiar with.

    As for me being a fool (or whatever random insult desperate people throw at others when they're running out of arguments), no.

    As said before I'll clarify ethnicity, identity, nationality (in particular the notion of Azeriness) and so on in a later blog, please don't bother debating topics with me of which you know very little. I don't believe in humility being a virtue but it's pretty damn convenient at times I assure you.

  39. Crikey, is this what happens when an irresistable force is applied to an immovable object?

    I couldn't quite be bothered to read all of Kaweh's comments, mostly because they are repetitive tripe. However, surely ethnicity is a genetic, not social science? And therefore your ethnicity is defined by the genetic make-up inherited from your parents, grandparents etc.

    Nationality might be a social science, but I'm pretty sure that nationality is defined by the country which issues you a passport, hence the possibility to have dual nationality, and therefore an administrative issue rather than a science.

    Which really only leaves identity, and surely that comes down to what you as an individual think, it might be which street/city/region/nation or combination of streets/cities/regions/nations do you most identify with? You create your own identity, and that's really philosophy - technically an art, not a social science.

    So where does all this come in Kaweh's world of social science? I doubt there's even a page on it in his 'Social Science for Dummies'.

  40. (The above comment approved by Mark as containing 850% of Reader Daily Allowance of good sense and troll roasting. Mark is not responsible for headaches, twitching, or public urination instigated by this comment. Please read responsibly.)

  41. 'Surely ethnicity is a genetic, not social science?'

    It isn't, do your homework.

    'I couldn't quite be bothered to read'


  42. @Kaweh: Aw, bless you. Still going on about it. :-)

  43. I educate the ignorant whenever I can, sweetheart.

  44. Kaweh,

    I did some homework, as you suggested and because I'm not closed to the idea that it's possible I could be wrong. I didn't need to go much further than googling 'genetics and ethnicity'. It seems that the Human Genome Centre at Howard University in Washington agrees with me.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  45. Quoting an article by the The National Human Genome Research Institute: 'First, it is essential to point out that 'race' and 'ethnicity' are terms without generally agreed-upon definitions'.
    It then goes on arguing why they think their research proves there is significant overlap. In other words, most ethnic Japanese look different from most ethnic Germans. A shocking discovery.

    The identification of ethnicity with genetics is a product of past centuries with the purpose of providing an ideological backbone for the creation of nation-States. It's intellectually bankrupt.

    I don't smoke.

    P.S. Completely forgot about having to write a new blog explaining ethnicity and identity and such. I'll get on it eventually, I hope you haven't been praying too hard now?

  46. Maybe it's just the name of the blog that irritates people? Why "scary"? Now I kind of don't pay attention to the meaning, just taking it as a rhyme to the word "Azeri", but I remember when I first saw your blog, without reading it, I too thought you were someone who hated Azeris.

  47. Dear Scary Azeri, you have raised a fantastic topic even though i came across to it a bit late. I am Azeri that is a russian speaking one, I do not live in Azerbaijan and I do not really mind that anymore. Yes, it does not sound too patriotic, but what to do. I do not feel like I am home when I visit my parents and my brother. Since I have married and left Azerbaijan, My home is where my husband and my child are (plus a little annoying dog of mine).
    I have visited Baku last summer and was not home for 2 years at the time. On the passport control the Officer, instead of just letting me through with a child, start asking me: Why I was not home? Who is my husband (by means of nationality)? Where is he and why he is not traveling with me? Where did we meet and how long we are married?...All i had in my head:"Really?", I am a holder of an "amazing" green passport with the full right to visit my home country.So, why not just let me go? This is probably different story all together. But coming back to the topic, I am an Azeri and there is nothing to be ashamed of, but a lot of explanation to do. I love the country of my childhood with old names and old parks and I will always will, but I do not feel like home there anymore. I am just a foreigner, even in my own home country.

    1. Hi Dilara. Like your name. Do friends call you delya? It is my child's second name. :)
      Thanks for your comment. Also, you reminded me of this posting. It was good to go back and view the comments...oh, kaweh! How much fun did he bring to us all. :))