Monday, September 2

Azerbaijan, the Oriental shame of the Caucasus

Perhaps the title rings a bell? 
Perhaps you have never seen this tourism ad titled "Azerbaijan, the European charm of the Orient"? 

Well now you know all about it. In fact, many readers of this blog are aware by now that Azerbaijan is no charm when it comes to its regime and the style of power- the dynasty of the orient even perhaps.

And the fact that Azerbaijani authorities refuse to accept any of the international criticisms and concerns only proves that there are deep scars that the government desperately tries to cover up like plastic surgeons do. Except in this case, its a very badly done plastic job (think boob job gone bad type of bad). 

There have been many reports, statements, petitions, signed, sealed, voiced and advocated for when it comes to the situation in Azerbaijan- poor (if not terrible) record of human rights, arrested activists, journalists, advocates; and more recently targeted youth, young members of existing political parties and movements and dirty media campaigns against well respected journalists. There have been many evaluations of the regime too- authoritarian, dictatorial, sultanistic, and more recently fascist. 

And as it is with many dictatorships around the world, in Azerbaijan nothing changes. So when the ruling party announced Ilham Aliyev as their candidate to run in the upcoming October Presidential elections, at least what they could have done is show some respect towards others- but behold, thats not part of the language they talk. So comments about other candidates were blatant if not silly to some extent. But then again, brains is another contested matter over there.

But none of this was the point of this post. I wanted to share with a you a timely video prepared by the Human Rights Watch highlight some of the most recent cases. You can also read their full 106page report, "Tightening the screws: Azerbaijan's Crackdown on Civil Society and Dissent.

I guess the odds will never be in the favor of Azerbaijani people. Not in these elections to say the least. Perhaps a charming oriental miracle?

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