Sunday, February 10

Azerbaijan, country of contrasts

My home is a country of contrasts. Here in Azerbaijan, achieved scholars and writers are stripped of their rights and honors as quickly as one would buy bread at the market. The moment it doesn't go down too well with the so- called democratic leadership, your years of work and commitment are tossed away in a moment.

Opposition leaders, organizers, advocates, get detained, thrown into jail with no further notice (also with an amazingly high speed), while those of "their own kind" get the safe treatment and "kindness" even if they have done something worth a life sentence. 

Your pockets and bank accounts can grow as quickly as your status if you are good with handing out bribes, at times losing your identity, or simply keeping your eyes, mouth and ears shut to the reality existing outside of the bubble. But there is no guarantee, everything can disappear swiftly. One day you are rich and famous, another you are a nobody.

Its leadership, close cronies and allies want to be rich, but spare their nickles and dimes when the time comes to share. Humanly values are of no value, but as long as their benefits at stake, suddenly values become their sole weapon. Honesty by all means, exists on dusted pages of our constitution, hidden somewhere far from sight. 

While many of our villages lack basic infrastructure Azerbaijani businessmen invest in multimillion projects, but not for the sake of the people. Its all about upscale market, the rich and the filthy rich. And as these filthy rich sip from their glasses its the little boys and girls who carry on dreaming of a school, with heating, electricity, toilets, running water and a bribes free education. 

It is ok, that the magazines like Baku, feature ads for Tom Ford, Burberry, Dior and Celine stores that enrich the shopping scene in the capital of Baku. After all, people need a choice and this is the kind of freedom of choice Azerbaijani rich value. 

Once upon a time there was a dream for this country, to have a democratic state, with equal rights and freedoms granted to its people, with prospering economy with revenues intended for its people and the future generations. But that was a long time ago. Is it finally time to forget that dream, or is there a hope? I sure would like to believe so...

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