“The first time I heard her say ‘It is important that truth comes out’ Khadija was only 9 years old. I was in 5th grade and Khadija in 4th. I scored the lowest grade in my class and wanted to hide this from our mother. Khadija said there was no way she was letting that happen and that she would tell our mother immediately. I begged her not do it and promised to fix my grade. She was younger than I and yet she was bossing me around. She said ‘fine, I will give you time’.” This is how Khadija Ismayilova’s sister, Sabina Rahimova remembers Khadija. Azadliq Radiosu spoke to Sabina who is a specialist in pre-school education.
As the conversation goes on, Sabina speaks of Khadija with much admiration.
“My attempts to keep Khadija from telling our mother about my grade failed. Because the teacher disliked me I was unable to change my mark. Eventually Khadija took the matters into her hands and went to our mother. When I asked why she was betraying me she bravely noted, ‘if I don’t tell the truth now, the consequences of this action will be far worse’. Now as I remember my memories of our childhood I realize that already at that age Khadija was the big fan of truth. At 9 years old she was revealing the truth in her own ways”.
Azadliq Radiosu: What kind of a sister is Khadija?
Sabina Rahimova: You see, for Khadija it does not matter whether that person has family ties to her or not, what is important for her is the human side of things. She is simply unlike anybody. I will give you an example. Imagine two people are asking for Khadija’s help – me and one other person. Khadija’s decision would be based on the essence of the request and its benefit for a community rather than the relationship that exists between these two people and herself. She would first help the person whose needs would benefit the community. For her, it doesn’t matter whether it is pro government, opposition, family or a total stranger. For her there is only a human and human rights, and whose rights are being abused, and are in need of help. Basically she is my idol and a human being with capital letters.”
“We always knew there was no way to change Khadija’s mind. All her live, her decisions are public. She always shared her decisions and positions on Facebook. We understood that if Khadija said it, then its over, and that there is no changing her mind. So we have always accepted her for who she is.”
At his moment, Khadija’s retired mother Elmira Ismayilova interrupts the conversation. “From early on, since she was a child, she made sure everyone spoke truth at home. She always called things the way they were. There was no other way for her. I remember she was about to graduate from high school with a distinction but the school’s principal demanded a bribe. Khadija told them off and said there won’t be any way that she was going to be pay a bribe.”
“I always wanted her to have a family, to have children of her own. First, she wouldn’t listen to me and ignore my calls. Later she would say she did not want her family face any pressure because of her work. I miss her a lot. I miss her smile the most. She calls once a week and when I ask her how she is, she only tells that she is fine, then there is silence…"