Thursday, January 29

The future of Azerbaijan- an eternal presidency, no foreign broadcasts, no freedom of speech or press... what else?

In an interview with Day.az, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Lluis Maria de Puig expressed his regret over the broadcast ban of foreign radio stations as well as concern over recent constitutional amendments. These changes seriously undermine the possibility for a democratic state in Azerbaijan especially because Azerbaijan took the responsibility to abide by the principles of democracy, respect for law and human rights when joining the Council of Europe.

"The [proposed] changes to the tenure of the presidency and also the postponement of elections during war, considering the fact that the country has been effectively at war [with Armenia] since 1990, causes concern in terms of the future of democracy in Azerbaijan." 

But who cares about democracy, when there are plans to build winter boulevard in Baku?! This decision was approved (2006) by the President within the framework of city improvement. The boulevard will start from Haydar Aliyev palace and will continue until Fizuli square. Or brand new schools built in remote villages across the country lack heating and sewage systems? Or that everything now has to be translated into the national language (soon they will issue an order to translate all the foreign music videos and no offense, I love my language but why translate all the movies)? Or jeopardizing freedom of speech and press by proposing a ban on making video and audio recordings and photographing someone against their will (does that mean our reporters wont be able to film, record, photograph any of our politicians)? Next thing we know, there will be a ban on released information by the media- the state will control all the info to be distributed to the public! 

I feel like whatever internationals might say, raise their concerns or regrets, our government is going to do what it wants and the way it wants it. And that it means nothing when someone actually nods with their head (from the state bodies) that they would really do something worthwhile or take into account whatever has been said... 

3 comments:

JGW said...

Nice post.

I tend to believe in the inevitability of democracy, transparency and liberalization.

Much like geology and the study of rock formations, however, what it will take is pressure and time. Societies are not that different from nature--there are forces beyond our control that cause a natural convergence long term.

Elli said...

Arzu,

it takes unity, integrity and courage to overcome challenges. As a nation, we fought for independence. But to become free individuals requires other form of struggle. It is fight for nation and fight for individual at the same time. We didnt have a State when fighting for independence. State emerged afterwards as an immoral constitution. It is now the responsibility of citizen to limit the power of the state. And yes it takes commitment, energy, sacrifice and will.
It is about building independent associations and groups of individuals who could withsatnd the pressure of corrupt governments.

Arzu_G said...

Thanks for your comments!

I agree that it takes considerable amount of time for societies to build themselves. It took centuries to build European democracies. And it will take much longer time for Azerbaijan become a democracy.

However, there are impediments to democracy building, elements as liberalism, transparency. In Azerbaijan, there is lack of both. And while I agree that it takes unity, integrity and courage to overcome challenges, in a society like ours, where personal freedoms are limited, when public voice is unheard one cannot but wonder how long we as individuals ready to fight for real democracy can actually take it. Right now, I am on the brink of giving up but I am trying hard not to.

My only hope, is that you are right Elli and that we (the Azeri society) will have enough 'energy', 'commitment', and 'will' to fight for it and eventually succeed in withstanding 'the pressure of corrupt government'.