Wednesday, January 23

Who to blame when there is no one left to blame?

Emil Agazade is the head of media department at the European Azerbaijani Society. For those of you who don't know of this organization, let me enlighten you here for a second. EAS is a well known lobby organization based originally in London, but now with operating offices in Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Baku. They do a myriad of activities but you could read more about their orientation so to say from their homepage.

Now back to Mr. Agazade who appeared here bashing the International community for bashing Azerbaijan in return. In his "touching" piece, he wrote that blaming such a young democracy for its shortcomings is ridiculous especially when we have Armenia and the on-going war on the one hand and mother Russia walking in our footsteps on the other. Don't know about you, but that left me scratching my head. Basically, it all boils down to this: we don't have a democracy, free and fair elections, respect for human rights and free media, because we have an evil neighbor, that is fighting us and then there is this big brother too watching over our shoulder and not letting us do what a democracy should. 

So instead of being better we simply arrest journalists, blackmail them, crush voices of dissent and tell the whole world that we are as good as gets and that Europe and the rest of the critical eyes prying over us, should mind their own business and look at their own so called "democracies" which are not really democracies but wanna- be democracies. 

And one last thing, even if take the argument that there are no true democracies in the world (according to Mr. Agazade) as given, it doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't be the first. Why not?! Oh well, we all know an answer to this, because its easier this way, because its easier to rest the blame on someone else instead of us. Its easier to divert the attention. I am just curious, how much longer, this blame thing, or whatever it is, is going to continue. How much longer, will Armenia, Russia, Europe or whoever, is going to be responsible for all the violations, allegations, intrusions and blasphemy? Who are you going to blame, when there is no one left to blame?


Emil Agazade said...

HI Arzu,

Thanks for your prompt reaction to my piece, but I fear you have misunderstood what it was all about.

Don't know if you noticed, but my 'touching' comment (not an article, by the way, as this was not a piece of journalism, but rather a personal opinion) was posted in response to a blog by a certain Daniel Hamilton.

Nowhere in my comment did I say that Azerbaijan shouldn't be democratic, and at no point have I condoned the arrest of journalists for simply doing their jobs.

Nor did I blame the international community - I just asked what I think is a legitimate question as to why Azerbaijan is being singled out.

I am happy to engage in discourse and accept criticism of Azerbaijan or any other country, provided it is disinterested.

But I refuse to accept criticism from the likes of Daniel Hamilton, because that particular author happens to be a dedicated campaigner who boasts about visiting Azerbaijan's illegally occupied territories and who does not pass up any opportunity to bash Azerbaijan.

So, please, don't be left scratching your head, but rather just google this gentleman and your confusion will surely disappear.

Emil Agazade

arzu geybulla said...

Hi Emil,

Thank you for reading my blog and taking your time to comment on the post.

In response to you, I am going to try and dissect both of your opinions. I hope this way there will be a tat bit more clarity.

I have read Hamilton's piece. While he might as you say be, "a dedicated campaigner who boasts about visiting Azerbaijan's illegally occupied territories and who does not pass on any opportunity to bash Azerbaijan" he did write credible and truthful things about Azerbaijan. None of the references he made are lies or biased and made up. And frankly speaking, while he might have visited the territories (illegally or not), its not about who he is, but about what he wrote and how he has written it. You see his piece as bashing, while others see it as a critical piece of someone's opinion who is listing known things and known events and naming real people who are currently under threat.

You on the other hand, are saying that no one is perfect, so to say, and that there are little or no perfect democracies. But who is talking about perfection here? Surely you would accept the truth about the current reality of journalists in Azerbaijan, and many of its threatened journalists, arrested journalists, or journalists who are pending trial. Surely you would also not deny the mere fact that Armenia has nothing to do with the fact that our government is treating its citizens in such a way and ends up being criticized by the international community. Surely you would also accept that having Russia as our neighbor, shouldn't stop Azerbaijani authorities from being a true democracy. It is not about perfection, but it is about basic rights and freedoms.

I agree that quarter of a century is not enough, but something could have been done in a quarter of a century. Think of the number of parliamentary and presidential elections we have had since our independence. Why is it, that in the quarter of the century, we haven't had one single free and fair election. Or will you argue that all our elections have been free and fair? Or is the reason for failing to hold proper elections is also because we are a newly "born" country? Then why is it that we have mastered the principles of corruption and bribery so well in this quarter of the century, but failed profoundly in establishing a democratic state? Could you please explain, then, why is it that our education, healthcare and social care systems have suffered (despite increase in state funding though miniscule to say the least when compared to other sectors) while our ministers only got richer and richer in this quarter of a century?

How come we have mastered fraud in this quarter of the century instead of mastering honesty?

arzu geybulla said...

cont from prev. comment

Given our historical past that you touch upon in your piece- the brief independence, the rights granted to women- we should have been an example by now. But look at where we are? You think I enjoy reading critical pieces like the one by Hamilton, that it gives me pleasure? I am looking forward to a day when my country, your country, our country is actually a place when none of this is happening. Where rights are respected and where no one can say or write any of such things. But, things are different. And not even another quarter of the century is going to change this as long as we have corrupted minds running the country for their own benefit.

I don't care if elections in the UK were rigged, but I do care that elections in Azerbaijan were rigged are rigged to this day. Just because elections elsewhere are rigged, it doesn't give our authorities full right rigging our elections.

I am pretty sure, that having Azerbaijani territories occupied doesn't serve as basis for any rights abuses.

As to the Council of Europe and PACE- if Azerbaijan had a straight human rights record and impeccable history of elections and free society none of these institutions would focus on Azerbaijan this much. You know this as well as I do.

And do you honestly and wholeheartedly believe in this extra powerful Armenia lobby. Alas I am not defending it, but really? Its their fault? Its their fault that we have rigged elections? or its their fault that we have such poor situation with human rights?

Azerbaijan, is capable of doing so much better. And if things were really different at home, I would too promote Azerbaijan but not now, not today, and not tomorrow. Not until there is a real change.

There will always be people like Hamilton. It is our job to make our country a better place so tomorrow people like Hamilton have no arguments left with to criticize our country for. But as long as we find someone or something to blame, and not take a responsibility, Hamilton and many others like Hamilton will continue criticizing Azerbaijan...