A popular singer in Azerbaijan is no longer aired on radio or television in the ex-Soviet republic after returning from Israel where he performed on the day of a national Azerbaijani commemoration.
Image from Day.az:Azerbajani singer Nadir Gafardzadeh, de facto banned in his homeland for performing on a day of massacre commemoration
According to the Russian-language Day.az from Azerbaijan, singer Nadir Gafarzadeh “has been officially ‘prohibited’ [from appearing] in government events while citizens, shocked with the singer’s heartlessness and unprincipled [character], have stopped inviting him to [perform in] weddings.”
Gafarzadeh, on a February 2008 visit to Israel, had performed at a restaurant on the day when official Azerbaijan commemorates the 1990s killing of several hundred Azerbaijani civilians during the Armenian takeover of the town of Khojalu, Nagorno Karabakh.
Regarded as the “Khojalu Genocide” by official Azerbaijan, any challenge of the official account of the massacre has been violently suppressed in Azerbaijan. An independent Azerbaijani journalist who has suggested that Armenian forces left a humanitarian corridor for the civilians of Khojalu to leave, for example, is currently in jail with at least 10 more years to go.
Singer Nadir Gafarzadeh has attempted to win back his audience amid the uproar. His effort to show good will by giving financial support to some Azerbaijani refugees from Khojalu, as reported by another Russian-language Azeri source, has apparently failed. Earlier, he was interviewed on a TV program in Azerbaijan in early March 2008 on his previous month’s performance in Israel, as seen in a YouTube video. During the short interview, the female host asks the singer about his performance on the anniversary of the “Khojalu genocide” to which Gafarzadeh passionately defends himself. After the host and the guest interrupt each other several times, the Azerbaijani journalist stands up and starts hysterically yelling at the singer.
At this time there are no criminal charges filed against Gafarzadeh.
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