|Source: EurasiaNet.org http://www.eurasianet.org/sites/default/files/imagecache/galleria_fullscreen/042815_0.jpg|
As we all know, European Games (aka European Olympic Games, which later were quickly changed into European Games) are fast approaching. In just a little less than a month, international athletes are going to ascend into the capital of this "rich", "democratic", "tolerant" and glitzy capital.
Guests will be shown (only what is allowed to show) and eat (only where it is allowed to eat) and probably even use the toilet (only where it is allowed to) because of a simple fear of showing the true conditions.
And don't get disappointed if you step out on the streets in the search for billboards and quotes with late and current president's wisdom - they have been deleted but don't worry, if you come again (with a strong emphasis on "if") you might see it again everywhere around you.
But with no further a due, here is a list of restrictions introduced thanks to these games:
- all large and small “happiness palaces” - which is another name for large venues where normally Azerbaijanis host wedding parties and other ceremonies – are banned from work (this might not affect families to be but certainly the people who work at these venues whose sole income depends on these institutions);
- no large vehicles (and in some cases buses) – trucks – will be allowed to enter/exit the city of Baku (the same story applies – what about all those men employed in this job?);
- all the small street vendors – which sold phone credit, sunflower seeds, and little things as such – would also be banned from working on the streets;
- drivers earning their income by providing taxi services here and there will be banned from doing so unless they are driving a new car. All old cars wont be allowed to drive in downtown area;
- no illegal parking (around the vicinity of the arena)
- alcohol wont be sold (given the games coincide with the month of Ramadan and so the committee decided to ban sale of spirits all together); pedestrians will have designated roads for walking;
- there wont be any construction work (in the vicinity of the arena); all street beggars will be taken out of the city (there has been no official decision on this but likely to happen);
- oh, and i almost forgot, you cannot die during the games, because if you do, your family and relatives and friends wont be able to hold a burial ceremony as it too is banned.
But these are not the only limits. Those who read this blog, are aware of a much bigger and sever crackdown against rights groups, activists and journalists taking place in the country. And yet, the government officials continue to claim its all lies – that its all part of this large, international black PR campaign. Just like the first deputy chairman of the national assembly Ziyafet Asgarov who said, “it is very disappointing that a number of international organizations along with some local non-governmental organizations have joined in some black pr campaign in the wake of first European Games. I am disappointed to see that this campaign is trying to discredit Azerbaijan. Instead, they [the government of Azerbaijan] should be thanked for taking on this responsibility and be thanked”.
Hmm... I am trying really hard to find at least one little thing to thank our government for but nothing comes to mind really!