May 10, the annual Flower Day celebrations/aka lets celebrate dead president's birthday event go by this year with not much grandiose and extravagant spending.
Then police discovers graffiti on the statue of the dead president. "F*** the system" someone has written and then the annual quote "Happy Slave Holiday". In Azerbaijan flower means "gül" [gyul] and slave means "qul" [gool]. The slave variation became a popular expression soon after the Flower Day began to be celebrated in Azerbaijan.
Millions of Manats were spent on each holiday with flowers imported from all over the world. One MP at some point said it cost the country 14-15millionAZN [before devaluation that was approximately the same amount of millions in EUR]. The flowers would be assembled in few parks. There were also concerts and fireworks. Sometimes I even wondered whether Baku Mayor was actually celebrating president's death.
But back to 2016 and the missing N!DA activists.
So the two activists went missing May 10. On May 11 their whereabouts were still unknown.
May 12, we heard from them. The two were being prosecuted for illegal drug possession [not the first time we see this charge used against activists in Azerbaijan]. And as if charges and 4 months detention isn't enough, the two are actually told to go and apologize in front of the dead president's statue. So they are supposed to stand in front of the statue, with state TV cameras filming all of this theater and ask the statue to forgive them? Seriously?!
What I don't understand is that if their crime is drug possession then why are they even told to go and apologize in front of the statue anyway?
Well, this is of course a rhetorical question. We all know the answer. Because it is all theater of the absurd.