"Its over now, calm down" said a Twitter user in response to my tweets about democracy issues in Azerbaijan during the final night of Eurovision song contest. Neglecting the reality is an easy way today in Azerbaijan and been this way for the last few years. Its easier to dust it off your shoulders and simply go with the flow. Its easy because you are untouched. Its easy because getting involved in the struggle for democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression puts you one step closer to a prison cell. It makes you the enemy of the state and puts you on the list of "wanted people". Sometimes I imagine that if it was a scene from one of the Westerns there will be small posters all over town pinned to the walls of buildings, coffee shops and restaurants with photos of activists, organizers and outspoken figures all with "WANTED" printed on them.
Its tiring to see constant criticisms of a country that could have potentially be the beacon of hope, the country rich in oil and gas resources with prospering life standards, well paid jobs for all, equality, free press and much more. But its not. And its unfortunate. Azerbaijan, today, though once a democratic state of 1918 is a corrupted, authoritarian, undemocratic state. Its current leadership and the ruling family has no respect to its past and especially to those two very significant years of our history. In fact, the name of the person who played an important role in bringing about this democratic state to life is systematically neglected. A spot where a statue should have been erected to M.E. Rasulzade is home to yet another fountain. And thats what is more important for Azerbaijani authorities than its history- fountains, parks, glamor and bling.
In fact, just like many other things, history in Azerbaijan is used and referred to only at moments when it suits certain interests and when it comes to certain issues. But alas we speak of 1918 democratic state. We choose to butter up certain individuals when talking about them than pay our respects to leaders of the past. We choose to spend thousands or millions on imported flowers when celebrating a birthday of the late president than face the truth and do something about it.
What we as people of Azerbaijan are failing at as a mass is making sure we have healthy, educated generations to take care of this country once there is no more oil and gas. What we have now is uneducated large portion of young society living in a lala land, disconnected from the world, sucked in to the vicious circle of devastating outcomes of being uneducated. Moreover we are raising generations who have little knowledge about people like Rasulzade and the significance of May 28th. We must change the way we think! We must work to raise educated generations and prevent further societal degradation.