Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the celebration of Novruz holiday organized for the orphans and children of martyrs - Gulustan Palace, March 20, 1996

Dear children, our girls and boys,

I cordially congratulate you today on our national holiday Novruz. I send greetings to you and to all Azerbaijani children, youth, girls and boys and I wish you a happy life, health, happiness and a great future to all of you.

Novruz is a national holiday of our people, which passed on from generation to generation and was bequeathed to us by our ancestors to this day. We celebrate this holiday on a high level in the recent years. However, because of the difficult situation in our country this holiday sometimes, is celebrated not so joyously. But still, our nation celebrates, rests and enjoys. Our greatest joy and most beloved are our kids, children and youth. I embrace all of you. I am very pleased to be here today with you and this is a celebration above all the holidays of my life.

Many of you have lost your fathers, mothers, the fathers of yours have become martyrs, sacrificed their lives, displayed heroism and died as heroes protecting our homeland and the independent Azerbaijan. But they live as heroes in your, in our and in the hearts of the Azerbaijani people. They are not dead, they are with us, in our hearts. Today they are here in this hall and are even more happy seeing you happy. Never think that you are orphans. Your parents are the land of Azerbaijan, our homeland, independent Azerbaijani state and its President. You can be sure in that.

The "Gulustan" Palace was built for holding public ceremonies 16 years ago. Usually official ceremonies, public receptions, celebrations are held here for the elderly, for concerts and other events. Today it is the second time in the history of the palace it has been given to you, at the disposal of our children and you celebrate the holiday here today. I believe that the walls of this palace have never been so happy. They are happy because you are in this hall, our dear children, rejoice, sing, dance and celebrate Novruz.

I rejoice even more. Because you are children and do not know, your age is not great, 16 years ago it was me who built this Gulustan palace. This is my creation. I am glad that I built it then for the great events and now it is yours, children. You celebrate the holiday here.

Dear children, your joyful life and day are the great future of Azerbaijan. You are the future of Azerbaijan, the future of the independent Azerbaijani state and the independent Republic of Azerbaijan. Therefore, you should rejoice just like today and your life should be happy. But at the same time, you should get a good education and prepare for the future life.

Today I saw how talented our children, our girls and boys are. You sing beautiful songs, dance, and actively participate in mass dances. It makes me very happy. This shows that those who are engaged in your upbringing, education, indeed, approach to this diligently, responsibly and with all their heart.

I know that most of you are living in children houses. Providing care for children houses is one of our main responsibilities. Once more, I declare it today. But more than you, I declare it to the governmental authorities. All public and executive bodies should pay special attention to the children houses. They should take special care for the life and education of orphans. Once more, I note it and lay it as a duty on the government authorities. In general, concern for schools, children, their upbringing and education is our main duty.

You are children and might not feel difficulties of life. Of course, in few years when you grow up, when you enter universities, you will learn a lot. But maybe some of you will remember the date, how you met the President and he gave you his advice. Thus, I want to tell you that today our country - Azerbaijan is going through a very difficult stage, difficult period. Our country has been subjected to the aggression by Armenia. Millions of our citizens have been expelled from the occupied lands. Dear children, the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan has destroyed your families, broke and murdered your parents.

We stopped the war. About two years, there is no war but a cease-fire. We want peace and to resolve these issues peacefully. Because we want our people to live in peace and security. The more peace we have, the better our future generation will live, get a good education and prepare for the future.

We implement all this work into life through the difficulties. But in spite of these difficulties, we care and shall take care of you. The duty of every citizen of Azerbaijan is to care for the children. Today, I appeal to every parent, father and mother to look after their children, to educate and breed him. The present children are the future of independent Azerbaijan. Therefore, I appeal to the teachers and educators to give children a good education and prepare them for future. I know, the situation in schools is complicated and there are a lot of problems. But despite this, the teaching has always been sacred for us and an honorable duty, and I hope that the teachers will continue to adequately carry out their duties.

Today, I appeal to all the kind people of Azerbaijan. Using the capabilities they need to take care of children and young people. I appeal to them, mainly because they have to take special care of the children houses for orphans. It is necessary that all the kind and rich people should consider his duty to take care, to help the orphanages and make life easier for children who live there. I think I shall be supported.

It is the second year I meet you in Gulustan Palace. The initiator of this wonderful event is the administration of Baku. I think this is a very noble, great initiative, an initiative of our people and the nation. I express the hope that everyone, all towns, districts, all public figures and kind people will join this initiative. Thus, our children, girls, boys and the young, despite all these difficulties, will live happily, in prosperous circumstances, receive a good education and prepare for future.

Dear children, I think that the minutes and hours spent here with you are the happiest moments of my life. I become happy, when I look at you. What beautiful, talented children and youth we have! It means we have a bright future! It gladdens me. Thus, once more, I congratulate everyone, all of you, embrace and kiss you. I wish you good health, happiness and prosperous life. I wish you were always happy, laughing, singing and dancing. Thank you.

Translated from newspaper “Azerbaijan”, March 23, 1996