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Azerbaijan's Satellite Song: To Infinity and Beyond

Ten days ago, Azerbaijan slung into space its first-ever satellite as an apotheosis of the country’s hydrocarbon-fueled progress. And what better way to celebrate the joy and the glory of the moment than to burst into song?

“Our first national satellite went into orbit. How can I not be happy, oh, motherland?” elated, shiny-eyed opera singer Ramil Qasimov bellows out in a handsome, optimism-infused tenor.  “And now that our voice comes from the cosmos, nothing can restrain my joy,” he continues, gesturing dramatically in an online video recently posted in the Azerbaijani Studies Digest listserv.

A festively dressed choir, each woman holding a single flower, then kicks in with the politically correct chorus: “With Ilham, we march toward happy tomorrows . . . !”

The folk dancers kick and jump, the choir croons, the conductor waves her hands and the Azerbaijani satellite flies high in the sky.

If you feel like you've seen this somewhere before, you would not be far wrong.

Reminiscent of Soviet-era hymns to the proletariat, space exploration or young communists, the panegyric to the 3.2-ton, $230-million piece of national pride has sparked much eye-rolling among many Azerbaijani Facebook users.

But those Azerbaijanis weary of the country's Aliyev personality cult may see more space singing soon.

President Ilham Aliyev, so dearly mentioned in the song, has pledged that the February 8 satellite launch is just the first step in his country’s space ambitions. Lease fees are expected to recoup the cost of the US-made satellite and oil-and-gas dollars will help sponsor future projects and, perhaps . . . even accompanying soundtracks?

If so, local talents, in their future cosmic oeuvres, might well opt to paraphrase a recent satirical song to NASA, and sing “We are Azerbaijan, and we know it.” 



*Translation of "The National Satellite Song" provided to EurasiaNet.org by the Azerbaijani Studies Digest (azerbaijani_studies@yahoogroups.com)

On February the 8th, 2013, 1:36 AM Baku time. 
Azerbaijan’s first national satellite was sent into orbit.

Our first national satellite got into orbit.

How can I not be glad, oh, motherland?
And now our voice comes from the cosmos. 
Nothing on earth can limit my joy any longer.

With Ilham, we walk towards happy tomorrows,
Heydar’s banner above our heads.
Our first national satellite got into space.
Be joyous, oh, motherland!

Oh, my beloved Azerbaijan,
Her glory/pride spreads around the world. 
Every day, new progress, every day, new advances. 
This is our country’s strength, its power.
With Ilham, we walk towards bright tomorrows,
Heydar’s banner above our heads.
Our first national satellite got into space.
Be joyous, oh, motherland!
With Ilham, we walk towards happy tomorrows.

Azerbaijan's Satellite Song: To Infinity and Beyond

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