Thursday, July 31, 2014


Transmission

'Shameful' Folktale Of Incest, Vulgarity Causes Outrage In Azerbaijan

The sixth volume of a now infamous collection of Azeri folklore stories
The sixth volume of a now infamous collection of Azeri folklore stories
Five years after it was published by Azerbaijan's distinguished National Academy of Sciences, an anthology of “traditional” folklore is causing quite a stir in the Caspian Sea state.

In particular, one story found in the sixth volume of the ambiguously titled “Tales” anthology has been making the rounds online in Azerbaijan, primarily because it is fraught with vulgar language and graphic scenes of incest.

Now, people are beginning to ask how such a story could have made its way into a book like this, which has been available in bookstores and public libraries within easy reach of children.

The now infamous story, “The Unwanted Son-In-Law,” centers around a dispute between the families of a young couple. The incest-laden plot and the "colorful" language of the protagonists would put Sacha Baron Cohen’s crude character Borat to shame.

The story has also been criticized by several members of parliament, who are outraged at the tale's content.

"[The story] is unsuitable for children," said Kamila Aliyeva, a member of the Science and Education Committee. "It is full of vulgar words and curses.”

Aliyeva has also wondered how it is possible that the names of well-known intellectuals and scientists are listed as being on the editorial board for the offensive publication.

“I wonder if they were aware of the contents of the book," she asked. "If they were, it is shameful. And if they were not, it is also shameful.” 

Orudgj Aliyev, a member of the Folklore Institute of the National Academy of Sciences and one of the people responsible for the anthology, was apparently not even aware of the story until the controversy arose earlier this month.

Although Aliyev claims that the book is not for sale anymore, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service says the book can still be found in Baku’s Akhundov National Library, which is easily accessible to children. 

-- Deana Kjuka and Rovshan Gambarov
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jim Sayles from: USA
July 20, 2012 22:11
Art imitates Life...And I thought Cohen's "Borat" a terrific "Hoot". That he refers to his kinfolk as the "Number Three" prostitute, and his efforts to assimilate proper manners as a guest of a "southern belle" by bagging his excrement in a paper bag, or his courtship of Pamela Anderson, were instances of comic genius. In that he his antic's may have been extrapolated from this fine Azerbaijani folktale, without crediting the source, I find offensive, ....to a point. It makes me think that there exists a tome that would put Jeff Foxworthy's observations of ruralite stereotypes into the category of an also ran. It is refreshing to know that the there exists on the planet people outside trailer parks in America, that their relatives would prefer to leave their skeletons in the closet when they depart, likely as an event that will place them in contention for a Darwin Award.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 23, 2012 02:52
If one is ashaimed of "Azerbaijanies" sabotaged by Rashkastan,
Why elevate "Borat" - Russian mud bomb to smear Kazahstan?

by: Stevo from: Hawaii
July 22, 2012 18:27
"Vulgarity" in Azer folklore would seem a logical reflection of the "vulgarity" of a great deal of the history of the region. One can't expect a dozen or more centuries of repeated invasion, pillage and exile not to find expression in the folk life and lore of the population. I remember being somewhat shocked at the words to an ancient folk song in another country that cheerfully spoke of gang rape on a country road. As it turns out, history, indeed life itself, is often lamentably and objectionably vulgar.

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 23, 2012 17:04
In former USSR Academy publications were only for a narrow
circle of related researchers and government offices, as
probably in many other countries, that included non-eccential monorgafic writings, larger than actually published works,
sencored-out pages, and so on.

For instance unpublished works of known Russian poets used
too wulgar and abcene language and remain only in limmitted academic publications.

For instance, almost any third of ethnic Russian might tell you
story about sleeping with mother in law, it might be in Russian folklore section of limmitted academic publications.

If something like that got into Azerbaijan's limmitted Academic publications, no big deal, specially when Russians forced other Republics line-up with Russia on the same issues, even for
one such individual in non Russian republic per capita would be
many Russians per same capita that sleeped with their
mothers in law.

The contravercy simply show that Azerbaijanies, unlike many Russians, against it even in academic limmitted additions,
not another way arround, while Russians interpret to contrary.

Probably remnants of Russian influx and occupation set-up
the whole thing in a first place...

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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