Friday, May 8

The tragedy...

30th of April, I am in Istanbul, heading to work, seems like just a normal day, the weather is finally sunny. But everything changes once I arrive to my office, a colleague tells me if I have heard what happened at one of the Baku's Universities- hurriyet (Turkish newspaper) had already published the news. I turn on my computer and check the news- 22 students died (the actual number was 13 according to the latest news that day) in tragic shootings at Azerbaijan's Oil Academy. First comes the shock, then comes sadness, followed by anger. 

I frantically check the news every 15 minutes- nothing much, still the same, x number of people dead, x number of people wounded. I check my Facebook, news are everywhere- all my friends' upload the latest numbers.

More shock and sadness followed by anger.

Then comes the video uploaded online- students carrying their fellow friends covered in blood, lying on the stairs and waiting for the ambulance to pass by. Seems like chaos, people everywhere- shouting, screaming, crying. And the aftermath- stairs by the entrance to the main building have blood stains all over them.

But still no precise news about the perpetrators, the reason behind the shooting and the true story. The next day I receive an e-mail with a link to a blog (, where the author tells his version of the shootings- completely different from that of the official one. More sadness and anger building up. Why there are no explanations? Was is it really a simple act of hooliganism or well thought through plan to murder innocent students? And why even that? To anger the government? A pay back? 

And while, we are still all saddened by the tragic events of what happened on 30th of April, our government is preparing to celebrate the "flower day" coinciding with late President- Haydar Aliyev- birthday. Is it just? Can you hold celebrations after what happened? I thought funerals and mourning was part of Azerbaijani culture- 40 days. But maybe I am wrong? Or maybe the government thinks that paying 30,000 manats to the families who have lost their children and 15.000 manats to the families whose children are still in hospitals in intensive care will erase the pain? Surely no one from these families will be at Haydar Aliyev's park on May 10th to see thousands or possibly millions worth of flowers bought for this special occasion! 

2,000 students marched after what happened in protest to declare national mourning day and to cancel the celebrations but nothing happened. The other day, students of Baku Slavic University boycotted Misir Mardanov- Minister of Education as well as the director of the university for not taking care of the security in universities and making sure that students were safe. Angering both, the director promised to find those responsible for the act and punish them! Really? Is that what you do when your students demand security? Especially after seeing negative reaction from both the university director and the minister himself?! 

But I guess everyone has their own priorities... 

I will be going on Sunday to witness the festive atmosphere myself and once again assure myself that our government is nothing more than a self- indulgent state. 

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