Monday, May 30

Truth hurts

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Azerbaijani authorities hate it when someone says something negative about whatever is happening in the country. When that happens at home, its easier to deal with - a drug charge here, a hooliganism charge there and the case is solved. The "violator" is put away behind bars and authorities are happy (at least for the time being). 

Things are not that simple when the criticism comes from somewhere outside the country's jurisdiction. That is when the country's leadership quickly resorts to "whatboutism" and "double standard" arguments. Suddenly the country that boasts about its democratic endeveours 24/7 switches to "we are a young democracy" argument, that is "in war" with a neighboring state and that there is still a long way to go and that European and other international institutions should cut this country's leadership some slack. Or close their eyes and ears and keep their democratic mouths shut here and there. 

Of course no one is saying that anyone is perfect. Perks exist everywhere, but what makes things different is how countries and institutions deal with these perks. Certainly in Azerbaijan, dealing with our perks is something unacceptable especially because why deal with problems when you can simply hide them away behind facades while just piling and piling and accumulating records and records of violations.

Case in point would be recent wave of protests and those people brave enough and committed enough to take the streets, whom the leadership of the country describes as hooligans, amateurs, and at times even psychopaths engaging in acts of illogical behavior, damaging private property, claiming to be nationalists wanting democracy and (this is my favorite) paid to be doing all of this by third countries and parties. 

Of course, if things were as the local leadership claims it to be then why would all those international institutions talk about these events? Why would they spend their valuable times to write reports and adopt resolutions about this? Surely Azerbaijani leadership can't claim that they too are hooligans, amateurs and psychopaths? 

Just look at the recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Azerbaijan on May 12th, 2011. Among many different shortcomings, the resolution mentioned closure of the Human Rights House as well as clampdown on freedom of expression and assembly. The resolution also called on the Azerbaijani authorities to release recently arrested young activists as well as journalists. 

Of course, Azerbaijani government was outraged. In a statement issued by the ruling party, its leadership claimed the resolution to be biased. "The country's people [wonder which people they are referring to because as far as I know, YAP doesn't really engage with people when it comes to doing a survey on democracy in Azerbaijan or anything else as a matter of fact apart from threatening people to join YAP sponsored rallies, concerts and events but thats another story] are concerned about a number of untrue clauses included into the resolution adopted at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament [...] The clauses about the violation of freedom of speech, media, freedom of assembly in Azerbaijan do not reflect reality [true, because in reality we don't have any journalists sitting behind bars and all requests filed by the opposition parties to hold rallies in downtown ares were always granted]. The clause about the political prisoners and arrest of persons for their political views is not true either, it was included into the document without having been investigated objectively". 

Really? The only reaction that the officials could come up with is this weak statement?  I hate to break it up to you but dear YAP, you couldn't have done worse. Perhaps its actually time to look at things in all their actual light? Perhaps not everyone is crazy and pretentious as you think they are? 

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps... 

1 comment:

IceT said...

YAP like other former soviet leaderships which are a remnant of the Stalinist model of governance strives for as much power as it can. Being considerably far from EU and buoyed by its oil wealth there is no pressure for meaningful reform.

Maybe we should make a list of all the fallacious arguments that the government resorts to, in addition to 'whataboutism' and the odd association of the state with the nation and society at large. These references to the 'people' are always laughable, but they point to the backward nature of the actual practice of politics in the country despite the attempts to portray an image of a reforming government.

Unfortunately the educated political elites of Azerbaijan are too afraid or selfish to become truly politically active. With a government controlled media its easy to ignore the obvious problems in the country to keep a clean conscience of their own compliance in the absurd ponzi scheme created by the corrupt feudalism of the YAP party.

I think the best example of the authoritarian streak which the current leadership have inherited from their Soviet past is clear in the way in which the country has been divided (geographically, economically, politically) amongst the top government ministers. Each striving to be 'king' in his domain. These are the same men who pretend to be civil in their meetings with European politicians. Of course these Europeans are too eager to massage their egos in exchange for the fulfilment of their commercial interests.

True change in Azerbaijan can only come after the growing disparity in income distribution reaches a social tipping point. Unfortunately this is likely to take a few years. I'll just have to hope we can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in a free nation and not under giant pictures and statues of Heydar Aliyev.