Azerbaijani Teacher Fired After Call for Peace with Armenia
“They said I am an Armenian agent, that I came to Azerbaijan to destroy this country under orders from Armenia."
In late December, a group of men from a nationalist organization broke into a high school in Baku and accosted a teacher, who had become a social media sensation for posting a photo of one of his students dressed in traditional Armenian attire.
“They humiliated me in front of my students. They called me Armenian,” the teacher, Rovshan Azizov, told Eurasianet. “They said I am an Armenian agent, that I came to Azerbaijan to destroy this country under orders from Armenia. I just wanted to show that peace is possible, and that we cannot solve this conflict by killing each other, that's all,” Azizov said.
Azizov said that school officials had pressured him even before the nationalists stormed the school. “They told me: 'You better go. If you stay, you put our life and the life of kids in danger,” Azizov said. “Teachers told my students that I was Armenian and that they had to stay away from me.”
Days later, on December 28, Azizov was fired. School officials say it wasn't because of his pro-Armenian positions, but his unorthodox teaching methods.
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Lamiya Adilgizi is a freelance Azerbaijani reporter