by Mir Jalal

From the book "Dried Up In Meetings"
Azerbaijan International 1998, USA

Some of our specialists have been struck with a strange disease. You ask one of them, "How is such and such a book?"

"Wonderful," he says.
You ask, "Why is it wonderful?"
"It was printed in Poland."
You ask, "How is such and such a song?"
He says, "Excellent."
"Why?" "It is sung in Austria and Bulgaria."
"What do you think of such and such a painting?"
"Excellent, because it's being exhibited in Marseille."

At first this disease only hit a few, but it is spreading slowly to many people. Yesterday I read an article by an agriculture specialist who had come to our office. He writes that the peach is a "sort" of nectarine which was discovered in America at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1897 it was brought to the Soviet Union, and from there it traveled by rail to the Caucasus and Azerbaijan. Then our agriculturalist friend writes about its color and taste, and tries to prove that the agriculturalists of the world, particularly those of Azerbaijan, are greatly indebted to the American scientist who "discovered" the peach.

At the end of his article, the specialist comes to this sad conclusion: "Unfortunately, our good people do not pay their dues to this great scientist of the world of fruits and vegetables, and do not praise him in their books, newspapers, radios and meetings from morning until evening. We eat the peach, but never remember its genius inventor and the man who produced it. See how backward we are. How far we are from advanced nations!"

After reading the article written by our esteemed agriculturalist I gave it a great deal of thought. Of course, I have no doubt about his "scientific" competence or "originality" of his writing, but I still have a few questions for him.

I would just like to ask the esteemed specialist if different types of peaches are more in America or, say, in the gardens of Ordubad, Ganjah, Quba, Batum, Gori and other cities of the Caucasus? I also want to ask him if the color and taste of the peaches or nectarines described in the article that he wrote, or to be more exact, that he has translated, are different from ours?

I also want to suggest to our specialist friend that, rather than picking a peach from a tree, its real source, and learning about it, he has learned about it by reading slowly and haltingly through a foreign language article.

Furthermore, I want to say that the author, rather than making peaches popular among his countrymen and garden, wants to advertise its grafter.

He wrote this piece, it seems, not for the sake of fruit specialists, students, researchers, or simply to do a service for his readers. Rather, he has written it in order to get a good opinion from the members of the Central Agricultural Institute for his future articles. Fourth, fifth and etc.

This author doesn't know that many things come here from America, but not nectarines or peaches. Chewing gum, cocktail-drinks nylon panty hose, plastic and many other things come from there, but not nectarines, not figs, not grapes, not Shamkhor watermelons, not Jorat melons, not the seedless white berry, not the apples of Quba, not the sweet pomegranates of Shirvan, not the tomatoes of Lankaran, not the onions of Hovsan.

If this agriculturalist had spent five or six years among the people, he would not have written such an article, or if he had, he would have written it differently. We've seen that such articles are published for the sake of workers and agricultural laborers. It is said that in ancient Greece, some writers would draw pictures and hang them in public places in order to see what the people would say. Now some authors write their articles and give them over for translation without bothering about what their own readers' reaction will be.

Another thing I don't understand is why some of our institutes get all of their advice from abroad. It's really strange that when they want to do research on figs they leave the orchards of Bilgah and go to California. A student who had gone to Mexico in order to learn about apiculture was asked about the characteristics of the honey of Qabagtapeh and the bees of Dastafur. The student had to return to these villages to get some honey and a few boxes of bees because he did not have any experience here-he had gone abroad with his eyes closed.

Perhaps our esteemed agriculturalist friend will have the time to read the writings of men of letters, and perhaps this one, too. If he reads, he shouldn't think that we don't want to look at the outside, at other horizons, or that we are against learning from neighbors, or even from strangers. We are only against those who look at their own things and their own existence from the balcony of the West, and for that matter, look at them negatively. We want agriculturalists, physicians, teachers, engineers, artists, all of them, first to learn about the bounties of their own city and their own homeland carefully and with love. After learning, they should talk about them without fear, and make them known to the world.

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