2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

The Azerbaijan Community and Cultural Center remembers Black January.

Local Azerbaijanis and Houstonians join to remember the events of 20 January 1990.

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, the Azerbaijan Community and Cultural Center in cooperation with the Houston Baku Sister City Association, hosted an open house in commemoration of those who lost their lives during the attacks against Azerbaijan’s capital Baku before the country officially gained its independence in 1991.

On 20 January 1990, military forces of the Soviet Union, under orders issued by a decree signed by then President Mikhail Gorbachev, launched an offensive attack against the city of Baku in an attempt to impose emergency rule and seize military control.

1

In a sign of solidarity, the people of Baku resisted peacefully against the occupying forces, and three days after the initial invasion, Soviet forces withdrew.  Despite the peaceful resistance against the invading forces, over 100 people were killed or injured, and as a result, 20 January, or Black January, is the official observance of those who lost their lives that day.2

The commemoration of Black January was opened with a slide show created by Elkhan Agamirza and Yusif Aleskerov, a local expert of the events that took place in Baku on that fateful day.  In addition to the guest lecture, a brief question and answer session took place followed by eyewitness statements from those who were present that day.

3

Immediately following the statements issued by eye witnesses, a moment of silence was held in memory of those who died that day. Co-founder of the US Azerbaijani Network Yusif Babanly also gave a brief history of the events that caused the 20th of January invasion and it’s implication of Azerbaijan’s quest for independence.

4

A moment of silence in memory of the deceased.

In addition to the guest lecture, the Azerbaijan Community and Cultural Center’s doors were open to the whole community, and we were grateful to be joined by members of the Avondale Society who took time out of their weekend to visit and partake not only in this educational lecture, but also the delicious homemade finger foods and teas that were served by our gracious volunteers.

5

A group photograph of those who joined the commemoration and open house.

Puppet Show and Special Guest Visitor!

Aladdin and Jasmine Marionette Show at the Azerbaijan Center.

On January 5th, 2012, Houston’s Azerbaijan Cultural Center organized a puppet show by Marionette Playhouse performed by Jean Kuecher, a popular puppeteer based in Houston for local children in celebration of the holidays.

543282_10151406041729236_1962704556_n

More than 50 people attended a marionette performance of the story of Aladdin, a Middle Eastern hero from the book “A Thousand and One Nights”, which both the children and their parents enjoyed and were encouraged to participate in by singing.

Following the show, the puppeteer explained the background of the story and showed the children how the marionettes worked. After the performance, the children were surprised by a visit by Santa Claus himself, who presented gifts to not only the children but also the adults. The puppet show and the visit by Santa were an enjoyable occasion had by all and a wonderful way to ring in the New Year!

430937_10151406028199236_1563418425_n

 

SOLIDARITY DAY AND 2013 NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

30th of December Azerbaijan Solidarity Day and 2013 New Year Celebration at the Cultural Center

736042_10151395171439236_1541403834_o[1]

Every year on December 31st, Azerbaijanis around the world celebrate Solidarity Day, a day of victory and unity for Azerbaijani people all over the world.

On December 30th 2012, friends, guests, and members of Houston’s Azerbaijani community joined at the newly opened Azerbaijani Cultural Center in the historic Montrose neighbourhood as part of Houston’s own Solidarity Day celebration.548031_10151395073894236_542684979_n[1]

This day of celebration included networking opportunities, delicious Azerbaijani foods and drinks, and of course, no Azerbaijani event is complete without dancing, singing and lively music.  We were also honoured to have Ali Haghshenas, a member of the Houston – Azerbaijani community, who played beautiful Azerbaijani music on the garmon, a traditional Azerbaijani musical instrument similar to an accordion.

735124_10151395073799236_1895961273_n[1]

Solidarity Day was first celebrated in 1989 when at the Conference of the Turkish-speaking countries held in Istanbul, it was agreed that December 31st would be a day of celebration of the solidarity of Azerbaijanis around the world.190643_10151395073679236_2043740506_n[1]

Solidarity Day is unique in that despite being a national holiday in Azerbaijan it is celebrated by Azerbaijanis globally.  It presents an opportunity for the organization and consolidation of Azerbaijanis living in foreign countries and offers them the opportunity to maintain strong ties to their homeland and culture.