Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Azeri Student Responds With Effusive Apologies

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

In contrast to the obscene and threatening e-mail Rauf Zeynalov (an Azeri university student) had sent on April 30th to Garen Vrtanesyan, the web master of an Armenian web-site, he sent in response to our last week's column an e-mail full of regrets and apologies. In his e-mail addressed to the "readers of The California Courier," Zeynalov repeatedly expressed his regrets for offending Armenians. In fact, in his letter, the word "apology" appears 12 times and the word "sorry" 4
times. Here is his lengthy and rambling letter:

"I am writing in order to ask for apology for a recent incident happened with an e-mail I send (sic) to Ms. Karen [Mr. Garen] Vrtanesyan. First of all, I would like to ask for sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected and hurt from my letter. I understand that a lot of people are hurt because of my words, and I am ready to apologize to everyone, and I hope one day I will have your forgiveness. With this letter, I ask for apology of all readers of The California Courier, and for apology of everyone that has been harmed from my words.

"Second, I would like to explain the situation and why this incident
happened. At the time of writing the letter to Vrtanesyan, I lost myself due to my emotions and I forgot that the language I was using should never be used. As everyone knows the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has resulted in death of lots of innocent people from both sides. And during these conflicts, as a resident of Karabakh, we lost our relatives, house, and assets and became a refugee in Baku, Azerbaijan. We have been settled in a hostel in the capital of Azerbaijan, with four family members. All of these problems made me very emotional and when I read an article in www.armenianhouse.org about an Azerbaijani soldier, I became victim of my emotions when I was writing to Vrtanesyan. All of these reasons that I have mentioned above made me quite emotional and made me forget what kind of language I was using in my letter to Vrtanesyan.

"But after analyzing the case deeply, I understood that whatever the reasons are, I should not use that type of language with anyone. So I would like to ask my sincere apologies. I am not such type of person who is using that kind of language and I would like to say that the language type which was used by me was only and only result of my emotions for that time. In order to prove myself and to show that I am not that kind of person, and I am really sorry for being victim of my emotions, I would like to apologize to Vrtanesyan and to all readers of The California Courier. The incident that happened with Vrtanesyan was due to losing myself in my emotions for very short time. I regretted writing that letter immediately after I send (sic) it, but it was too late, because a lot of people were hurt from my action. I want to ask sorry (sic) to everyone, and I hope that everyone accepts my apologies.

"I am really aware of my action, I am really aware of the damage my actions caused, and I would like to ask once more apologies of everyone, for using slang type of language in my letter to Vrtanesyan. I am extremely sorry for my action and I would like to say that I am also ready to ask for apologies to every individual.

"I understand that my letter has affected many people. Therefore, I am open to ask sorry (sic) to every person and every community that has been affected from my letter, which, I emphasize, was written in a moment when I was victim of my emotions.

"Again I want to ask my deep apology to everyone for the incident, and I can assure everyone, that not only this kind but also any kind of incident will never happen again. I hope you will accept my apologies very sincerely and will take them into consideration."

It is not very often that we get a letter of apology from a Turk or an Azeri for sending an offensive or threatening e-mail message. While we commend Zeynalov for apologizing and recognizing his mistake, we are dismayed that he uses the Karabagh conflict as an excuse for his inexcusable action. We cannot overlook the fact that his apology may be an attempt to have his suspension from the American University in Bulgaria reversed and is trying to save his full scholarship from Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute. His contention that he "regretted writing the offensive e-mail immediately after sending it" does not hold water. He sent an apology six weeks later, only after realizing that it was in his best interest to do so. Finally, a psychoanalyst should evaluate and treat Zeynalov to ensure that he is totally rid of his demons, before he is readmitted to the University, and before Armenians can forgive his hate crime.

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