ALI AND MALENA, A LOVE STORY
The innocence that characterizes true love can never be repeated. When it disappeared, it was gone forever. In the beginning; when the sweet and bitter blend; no haste muddying the waters; humans are nameless, character, and, without a future.
I weep for my inability in arithmetic. Damn states, so the difficulty of this Math. Destiny has brought me, the son of Azeri pride was in school, the school of our invaders. Since the Treaty of Gulistan, Russia takes Azerbaijan of Persia and incorporate it into the Russian empire. Fate also beats reality in family history. Usually, an Azeri son only learned from an Hoja (traditional teacher). I must admit that I’m smart enough. Fluent in Arabic, Farsi, a little Turkish, and science whiz in Fiqh, Mantiq, and Hadith. Something that can not be proud of here, in the school entirely Russian. Lost all my pride.
I had haltingly spelled Cyliric (Russian alphabet), this is all because of Hoja. He duly blamed entirely, a calm and quiet she had burst into rage and despair when I whispered teachings Hoja, “Mother. Hoja said to me. Women in Islam are second-class beings. “
Then, the bitterly lamenting mother then hugged. On the day that he forced my father to send me to school soon. This stance is in fact not the nature of my mother, because she thinks the Russians are occupiers. My father can only surrender, at least she has shown to me in that day, that the words that I told Hoja back to her, were nothing more than nonsense, totally unfounded. After successfully putting me in school, she smiled with satisfaction.
“Educating children to become civilized, intelligent for the sake of Mother Russia.” It is the school motto. Here we have to dress like Westerners. No taboos, no sacred here. Teachers are often cynical to children Azeri, Armenian even though. They often insinuated that we breed so much so that it will very difficult to feed the family. How school “civilized” is actually racist, or “barbaric.” I prefer the lessons from Hoja, although some of his teachings are crazy. At least, he was more honest.
“The school does not accept students who have been married.” On average, we Azeris married at the age of 14-16 years. More quickly than in Russia or Armenia, I can only smile and nod when Hasan before the teacher entered had to bribe him with candy bars to not call dad at school. Hasan liked school, he did not get kicked out. Although he did not have good learning abilities. He does not grade three times and is followed by his son Haydar, who goes to school. Fortunately, our body is equipped with a sleek and small. Although longer-lived as they entered school than others. We, the son of Azeri can be deceiving teachers who do not know how old we are. During the night, in the recitals Hoja, I told friends. They laughed and said, “Russians have a big body, but a little brain.” At least it is satisfaction, mock teachers who humiliate us (Azeri) in the afternoon.
“The school is open to all sons and daughters of Imperial Russia.” Actually, no! The school is open to all races in Russia, but not all Armenians. Moreover, the Azeris, like me. Only those who came from a prominent family received and not all are also enrolled in school. Some prefer a madrassa run by Hoja. However, something that has been running for hundreds of years is more evident than something new, thank Godfather owns land used by the Russian oil fields so that I could go to school. Silent and slowly I started to like school because schools are combining between boys and girls. Indeed there are no Azeri women who go to school, but there are daughters of Russia and Armenia. Although they are arrogant, at least there was a refreshing sight here.
This year, with great difficulty, I grade. At least, I have pride. The first Azeri, who went up a class in the first year!
Alena Shevchenko. Ganja Secondary School Principal cleared his throat, and the classroom became silent. These people have the opinion that wearing religious attributes violate school policy, which requires students to attend classes in secular clothing. Anyone who is caught will not be permitted to enter again unless removed, these policies generally accepted the fact. The white students were not allowed to wear a cross necklace but of course, our main target (Azeri), which often brings kupiah, beads. The blood of the Azeri is always hot and secretly revolts if it has a chance.
“The only way to save civilization is through progress and order,” said Alena around the classroom, I hid the cap in the clothes. While Hasan inserts the beads in the bag. He was right in front of me, my ass cowering in fear. She looked into my eyes, this Russian grandmother so scary that, I looked down.
“Ali Murtaza! What is it inside your shirt.”If you do not remember your ancestors were the formidable desert wanderer then I’ll pee in my pants and heard the sound of the thunder tub. He pulled my shirt and discovered forced my cap to hide.
She looked at me and smiled. “You think you are a devout Muslim in Turkey or Iran by wearing this!”
Streaks anxious stuck to my forehead. I want to say yes, but I’m afraid.
“You are wrong to think like that. Azerbaijan is still part of the Russian empire even if the Ural mountains have been uprooted. Well, Ali is on your mind! You should be dealt with. Now Sufi pack your stuff!”
I did not answer. My eyes filled with tears, I was expelled from school on the first day of the second year, I thought. At the time I was starting to like this crap.
“From today onwards, you’re sitting next to Malena.” Doomsday nevertheless occurs. But sitting next to Malena, the Armenians? Armenians are ethnically not liked by us (Azeri) or Russian though. They are a nation of old and crafty. they rarely bathe so that their bodies stink. that’s a rumor, we (Azeris) even avoid having to be near them. in addition, our nation Azeri unaccustomed adjacent to the woman is not mahram. Occupied, is certainly not a reason to forget the Islamic Law. I want to refute this Alena Shevchenko, but certainly, soon he will accuse holds the view stodgy. I’m still searching for a reason.
“Ali fast! Or you will I return to your parents! ”
I was outnumbered and under pressure.
Still in 1912
Rumors which stated the Armenian-smelling carcass is totally wrong! So much hurt, so who passes it up to recitals Hoja should be cursed. Is the fragrance this? My nose feels foreign, floral fragrance mixed completely I do not remember it, felt familiar and strange at the same. A little sweat like a spur tremendous warhead. The fragrance of the heart thrilling moment, cells in the brain were spinning. Aha, this is the reason why disseminated rumors that they smelled of carrion because we (Azeris) are too weak will perfume them. Strongly according to the Sunnah! Advise women to wear colored perfume but not stink. A woman’s perfume.
That night I told Hoja, after the recitation of Al-Quran. I was surprised to see he chuckles, “Be careful with the horse, Ibnu Usman. Before you know it, all of a sudden you have to ride and she will gallop across the desert with you strapped to her back.”
How wrong Hoja, and how just a little he knew about the outside world. The sour expression on my face signifies distrust. I noticed Hoja see changes in my face and nodded with a smile of sympathetic understanding. As I walked toward the gates of the madrasah, I think I hear a whisper Hoja, in my ear, “Beware, beware Ali.” But it’s only a mere daydream.
The new year 1913
Ali and Malena, we sat on a bench next to each other and chatted. It felt as if we were a pair of close friends who trust each other. Finally, I know, not entirely Armenia Malena, her father is Georgian, Armenian mother. Died shortly after she was born. She and her mother were picked up by the uncle of Armenia and was educated here. During this time she could deal with the problem alone, and sew their own clothes. As an orphan, he did not give himself the mysterious fate of the (possible) cruel. Somehow in her eyes, I saw sadness but not unhappiness. Armenian pupils more hate us (Azeri) than we do not like them. Malena shunned me because sitting next to me, I feel fortunate to be born an Azeri, despite a sharp mouth but we have our own affairs, I still get along with fellow Azeri without being considered unclean.
Hoja even the toughest just said, “Georgia? I hear that the famous Mamluk Sultan Baybars is a descendant of Georgia. He defeated the Mongols in the decisive battle at Ain Jalut several centuries ago. Good that.” Hoja continues the story on Islamic dynasties shining in the past, I just respectfully, I felt Hoja also learn from my story, as I learned from him.
Back in Malena, he loves playing with dolls. He knit his own dolls and sometimes took him to school. I think what’s this? Hoja stories that Rasulullah Muhammad smiled at his wife Ayesha playing piggyback. But, never mind even sometimes I help hide if Alena Shevchenko raided. Silly, she named her doll, “Sonja.” And true Azeri men never (want) to interfere with women, until.
“Papa, papa! Sonja was sick!” Malena, she pinches my arm, chuckling then leaned close to me. I just quite damn shook my chest.
“Let papa see, oh maybe Sonja too long in the bag so she was sick.” I got carried away but was still able to be realistic.
“Papa has promised not to be mentioned that this is a doll, Sonja. For us, she is a living creature!” Malena put a face to sulk.
What is this, when does the deal happen? Rather than argue my mouth said, “Well, Papa was wrong.”
“Thank you, papa Sonja.” He laughed aloud at his own words, and somehow I nodded in agreement. Life is divided into four phases: step; sustenance; meeting and; death. In this case, love is a meeting, there is no love without a meeting. At this point, I was reunited with accidental destiny, “Sonja” is the name of a wholly European, non-Arab nor Persian. Will the fate of my future offspring?
Love is silliness, makes you do things you should not do.
Hoja was stunned by my question, “Can a Muslim man marry a Christians?” Flashed in my head, men like Hoja Nasruddin will not let it happen. People see a man with high integrity, and unfortunately, in this world, only a few people like him. He has been advising me almost throughout my life. That is why he means to me, even though I was closer to him than my parents, he is where I tell intimate secrets in my life, that I will not share with others.
“Is there no other Muslim women who attract thee, O ibn Uthman? So the choice fell on the Georgia woman?” Hoja’s face looked very sad when I shook my head.
“Legally Fiqh is permitted as long as the Daulat Islamiyah,” he paused. I tried to think what the next words out of his mouth, but he continued. “If it’s your wish then we will make it.”
“What if my parents do not approve?”
“Let Hoja Nasruddin be explained to them.”
“What if the family Malena refuses?”
Smile joy, back in the face of Hoja, he chuckles. “Ali you are the son of Azeri, our mighty nation. We’re going to kidnap him from his family if they are against it will get rid of them forever. Whatever will I do for the wishes! You can trust to keep any secrets, closer than you save. We are friends friend. we will be there with or follow you like hounds.” Sometimes I feel Hoja is not a good religious teacher, but he is a best friend.
Thankfully, my presumption against failure is nothing more ridiculous. Everything went smoothly, Hoja arranges everything for me. I and Malena married in Madrasah Ganja, with the ordinances of Islam in accordance with the terms Hoja.
The day was so beautiful, while the world rolled under the strong wind gusts.
March 8 – 8 November 1917.
The Russian Revolution begins, and the Tsar abdicated. The Russian Caucasus where Azerbaijan joined in the fall. Administration system in which Armenian, Azerbaijan, and Georgia united, has been broken. In March 1918, ethnic and religious conflicts between the Armenian-Azeri in Baku began. On May 26, 1918, after a messy problem. Azerbaijan faction withdrew and proclaimed the independence of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. Shortly after the outbreak of war the Armenian-Azerbaijan in the summer of 1918. The fighting itself is still continuing in Karabakh until 1919, fighting peaked in 1920 to General Samedbey Mehmendarov expelled Armenian troops from Karabakh.
Clearly visible Soviet Russia would attack Azerbaijan. Vladimir Lenin said, “The invasion must be done because the Soviet Union would not survive without the supply of oil from Baku (capital of Azerbaijan).” I do not like politics, for me, it is all nonsense. But I fear that young pregnant Malena. I have fears of a prospective father, as appropriate. My resolve was made, we had to evacuate. Actually, I chose the Persians in the South, but Malena balks. Eastern country was too foreign to him, I said that I was an Asian, and my son should be Asian. He cried and said I’m not Asian, but Azeri, and our children should be a European. Finally, I relented, Melena’s uncle picked him to Georgia. Only she and her unborn child, I was not allowed to participate. I was Azeri, and there is no place for the Azeris in the north.
Malena holding my cheek soothingly, “Bear Ali. If the situation is improving, we will get you.” Malena goes with the last train, when all my family returned to Persia, I refuse to evacuate. I will survive.
Russian XI Army entered Ganja, and waves of red-backed army rebels in Armenia and Georgia came like a flood. I, along with Hasan Army Democratic Republic Azerbaijan keep the Ganja bridge entrance. Our faces were covered with dust, and blackened eyes from lack of sleep. The sound of trumpets and drums of alerting all soldiers. Like a beast awaiting prey XI, Russian troops have faced off across the river. The desire to kill them keeps them calm and passionate. Apart from best effort to stay calm, I’m able to control my fear. They are too much!
In the middle of the day, we have a view of the enemy we have been preparing to enter. The soldiers spilled out to the bridge, and I was swept with a carbine. But wave after wave came, the sky layer of dust erupted.
“Allahu Akbar!” I screamed when a bullet penetrates my shirt, I fell into the water and did not remember anything else.
May 31, 1920
The Democratic Republic of the Soviet Union conquered Azerbaijan. In the end, the Azeris did not surrender the independence of 1918-1920 quickly and easily. 20,000 were killed fighting in the Russian conquest. And soon the Soviet Union establish Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, and easier because the support of the majority of the Bolshevik ideology is popular among industrial workers in Baku. From that day Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union.
1 Shawal 1412 H – 4 April 1992
Last night I felt nauseous and sick. I was shivering, my body like fire-roasted. I drank three pots of water and slept. I spent the morning Eid prayer, the pain was gone, but I felt so weak and suffered a bad premonition of impending disaster. I sat down on the bed. Then I laughed, remembering the words of Alena Shevchenko.
“You are wrong to think like that. Azerbaijan is still part of the Russian empire even if the Ural mountains have been uprooted. Well, Ali on your mind it! You should be dealt with. Now Sufi pack your stuff!”
About six months ago, Azerbaijan gained independence from The Soviet Union. In the end, nothing lasts forever, not even the Soviet empire, which seemed to be thousands of years old, fell out. I am very happy to imagine, Alena Shevchenko mourning at the grave. But nothing lasts forever, words Hoja. My teacher Nasruddin Hoja. “We are your friend. we will be there with or follow you like hounds.”
He is really a hunting dog. How he came to the site of the battle and carried the wounded me through all the Red army barricades Azerbaijan penetrate into the border of Iran (Persia) and escorted me to my family to Tehran. If all the gratitude in the world should I spoke to him, then it’s not enough. After that he disappeared forever, never to be seen again. I’m trying to find him but eventually gave up. Maybe Hoja was no ordinary man, maybe he was an Aulia (saint). As Aulia’s nature, then it is better he is mysterious.
In Teheran Iran, I passed long years. Marry and reproduce, as an economic man I succeeded. A shoe store that I pioneered growing rapidly, but over the years it anyway I still think of Malena. The time has long passed since the incident, I imagine Malena, our children caught up in conflicts that led to the most terrible. Often in a nightmare, I imagine they were trapped in the fire and how often I expect there to share the pain with them. When the Soviet Union still existed, many times I tried to get in. Unfortunately, I was identified as a rebel, and the Iron Curtain country closed to me forever. All of it is a painful memory. I kept trying to internalize it.
“Grandfathers. There’s a guest.” Little Fatima entered the room, I tried to get out of bed but could not. A woman entered, accompanied by a man, from my view he is a charming thirties, his eyes the color of honey. His hair was jet black. see his heart stopped. His face reminded me of someone who I thought never would I see again, Malena.
He rushed up and hugged me, she was crying. There seemed eternal closeness created between me and him. “Grandpa introduced me, Sonja.” Sonja’s name never echoed in my ears many years ago, then he wiped his eyes and introduce the men next to him, “This is my husband Dimitri.”
I seemed to already know the subject, but only one word that comes out of my mouth, “Malena?”
“Yes Grandpa, I’m Sonja, grandson of Malena.” At first glance there is some relief on his face as the last revealed word, or is it just my imagination? I held her hand and stroked her gently.
Sonja tells the story, of his grandmother Malena, my beloved wife. Later that night arrived in Tbilisi (Georgia) and stay home with her uncle, she gave birth to our son, Kaka. The Caucasus was so chaotic circumstances at the time, so there is no news of Azerbaijan. Once it was safe, he tried to find out where I was. But there is no definite news, some said I had been killed at the battle of Ganja. Malena pretty eventually married again, to Joseph a secretaries Communist Party of Georgia (my heart was jealous), he regretted why left me in a state of chaos. In 1960 Kahka, my son. Met with Haydar Hasan’s son who still lived in Azerbaijan, from Haydar knew that I was saved by a crazy old man named Hoja, who was carried past a hail of bullets to the south and disappeared. Malena and Kahka tried to enter Iran, but the iron curtain country closed the door. Only when the Soviet Union broke up, did the door open. Unfortunately, both Malena and Kahka were gone. Sonja as the only daughter Kahka still has hope, through the network of connections he tried to find news about me, and we eventually met.
“She always remembers you,” he whispered. Tears streamed down my cheeks. “And I always remember her, never lost sight of her, and also my son, your father.”
I remember our first meeting. I was a little afraid of him because they have to sit next to the Armenians, who told Hoja behaved like a ghost.
“Time to eat!” Fatima was surprised once again.
I invited Sonja and her husband to go to the dining room accompanied by Fatima. I said it would follow after a decent dress, Dimitri wanted to help me stand up but I was kidding him, “Ali Murtaza, never received the help of a Russian.” Dimitri was surprised, but I patted his back and said that I was just kidding.
After they leave, I dress the best that I have. Before exiting I prayed, “O Allah, I had the pleasure over the fate predetermined me.”
Now everything is finished. I’m glad you’re here with me. In these moments, my granddaughter Sonja.
“We know very little about our ancestors, indeed, we could even mention their names several generations.” Ali and Malena, a love story, with background Azerbaijan during the Russian empire, the independence and the Soviet invasion. 1911-1920
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