Arts, Culture & Media

Azerbaijan: Bounty Money Offered for Author Akram Aylisli's Ear

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Armenia, Azerbaijan and the disputed district of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Some books can make their authors pretty unpopular.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

But a political party in Azerbaijan this week took matters one step further.

It offered a $13,000 bounty to anyone who can slice an ear off novelist, Akram Aylisli.

People have also been protesting outside the 75-year-old author's home, burning copies of his books.

And the writer's wife and son have both been dismissed from their jobs.

The reason for all this is that his latest book, "Stone Dreams," is seen as pro-Armenian.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in savage dispute since a bloody war over a disputed enclave in the 1990s.

Famil Ismailov of the BBC Russian Service says that history is central to understanding what's going on.

"Lots of atrocities were committed," says Ismaolov. He added that both nations are trying to control the narrative, portraying themselves as victims and the other side as aggressors.

Aylisli's book upsets that 'correct' version of history by acknowledging that some Azeris are responsible for some misdeeds.

The author hopes it's a step toward peace, as long as the Armenians do the same.

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    Azerbaijani author, Akram Aylisli. (Photo: Akram Aylisli Facebook)

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