The title of this post is stolen from a song written by a band called Starsailor. I chose this title because I think it explains perfectly well, the condition of people in Azerbaijan who choose silence over raising their voices because its simply easy.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading interesting news. First, the First Lady of Azerbaijan was awarded Legion of Honor- France's most prestigious national award. Not that I am jealous or anything, but wasn't it too obvious why she received it? I mean, if I was to donate some 40,000EUR for renovation of a cathedral's stained- glass windows, financed some other renovation works at the Palace of Versailles, and donated an additional 1 millionEUR to the Louvre Museum, I think I would get that too but of course, its not me. We are talking about the First Lady, the UNESCO goodwill ambassador and a woman who heads the Haydar Aliyev Fund. Of course, donating just a bit of that money to several orphanages in Azerbaijan, or allocating another sum to increase salaries and pensions would have been not necessary because after all, according to state officials, we live in prosperity.
Then, I read somewhere that the President decided to sweeten the water in the Caspian sea. Why? We solved all our problems that now all we have left to deal with is Caspian water? How about cleaning some of our regions from rubbish. Or cleaning some of our badly polluted rivers and lakes? Ah, I forgot, we don't have that do we? Everywhere is super clean and we breathe in the cleanest air in the world.
But wait, it gets even better. The head of the Human Rights Committee of the National Parliament, our beloved Rabiyyat Aslanova, said that it was time to give some responsibilities to the international institutions residing in this country. If they (the government I suppose) doesn't do this, then these very institutions will get spoiled and lazy of sitting here and not doing anything. Oh come on woman! For once, say something that does make sense at all?!
An article on migration in Azerbaijan, said that following the visa regime changes applied to Azerbaijani citizens traveling to Iran, number of women crossing the border multiplied. They deliver some packages they are given in Baku to people in Iran and then do their shopping there. According to a woman quoted in the article, vegetables are very cheap in Iran, especially potatoes. While it costs them on an average 60 to 80 qepik (Azeri cents) to buy a kilo of potatoes, there one kilo of potatoes costs only 40.
And while women are heading to Iran, our men, leave for Russia. However, unlike Iran, migration to Russia is not something new. There are some villages in regions where every other household is living off remittances sent from Russia and because the woman's job is to stay home and take care of the family, which includes daily routine chores like cleaning, cooking, looking after children and elders, cooking some more, some more cleaning and some more (it goes in endless cycles unfortunately), men leave for Russia either for seasonal work or permanently. Some forget about their families at home and re-marry (and because their wives in regions are most of time their wives only by religious marriage, these men are actually free to do what they want).
There was another interesting article I came across, titled "One man and one party". The best sentence of the article reads: "Azerbaijani politics is like "one man's theatre", everything here is taken into account and "staged". And while it is up to the citizens to watch this play, at least in Azerbaijan its one of the last "rights" we have. It is still voluntary to watch such "plays". Lets thank the Lord at least for that" (rough translation from the original version).
So yes, lets thank our Lord for allowing us to at least do this voluntarily. Because soon, silence is also going to be obligatory. Soon, we might not even have a right to speak at all on the streets. It might be an easy option for everyone now, because people are tired, exhausted and hopeless, but soon 'silencification' (you will see, this is going to be the IT word) might just be a new reality.