Monday, March 1

Silence is easy

The title of this post is stolen from a song written by a band called Starsailor. I chose this title because I think it explains perfectly well, the condition of people in Azerbaijan who choose silence over raising their voices because its simply easy.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading interesting news. First, the First Lady of Azerbaijan was awarded Legion of Honor- France's most prestigious national award. Not that I am jealous or anything, but wasn't it too obvious why she received it? I mean, if I was to donate some 40,000EUR for renovation of a cathedral's stained- glass windows, financed some other renovation works at the Palace of Versailles, and donated an additional 1 millionEUR to the Louvre Museum, I think I would get that too but of course, its not me. We are talking about the First Lady, the UNESCO goodwill ambassador and a woman who heads the Haydar Aliyev Fund. Of course, donating just a bit of that money to several orphanages in Azerbaijan, or allocating another sum to increase salaries and pensions would have been not necessary because after all, according to state officials, we live in prosperity.

Then, I read somewhere that the President decided to sweeten the water in the Caspian sea. Why? We solved all our problems that now all we have left to deal with is Caspian water? How about cleaning some of our regions from rubbish. Or cleaning some of our badly polluted rivers and lakes? Ah, I forgot, we don't have that do we? Everywhere is super clean and we breathe in the cleanest air in the world.

Rəbiyyət Aslanova
But wait, it gets even better. The head of the Human Rights Committee of the National Parliament, our beloved Rabiyyat Aslanova, said that it was time to give some responsibilities to the international institutions residing in this country. If they (the government I suppose) doesn't do this, then these very institutions will get spoiled and lazy of sitting here and not doing anything. Oh come on woman! For once, say something that does make sense at all?!

An article on migration in Azerbaijan, said that following the visa regime changes applied to Azerbaijani citizens traveling to Iran, number of women crossing the border multiplied. They deliver some packages they are given in Baku to people in Iran and then do their shopping there. According to a woman quoted in the article, vegetables are very cheap in Iran, especially potatoes. While it costs them on an average 60 to 80 qepik (Azeri cents) to buy a kilo of potatoes, there one kilo of potatoes costs only 40.

And while women are heading to Iran, our men, leave for Russia. However, unlike Iran, migration to Russia is not something new. There are some villages in regions where every other household is living off remittances sent from Russia and because the woman's job is to stay home and take care of the family, which includes daily routine chores like cleaning, cooking, looking after children and elders, cooking some more, some more cleaning and some more (it goes in endless cycles unfortunately), men leave for Russia either for seasonal work or permanently. Some forget about their families at home and re-marry (and because their wives in regions are most of time their wives only by religious marriage, these men are actually free to do what they want).

There was another interesting article I came across, titled "One man and one party". The best sentence of the article reads: "Azerbaijani politics is like "one man's theatre", everything here is taken into account and "staged". And while it is up to the citizens to watch this play, at least in Azerbaijan its one of the last "rights" we have. It is still voluntary to watch such "plays". Lets thank the Lord at least for that" (rough translation from the original version).

So yes, lets thank our Lord for allowing us to at least do this voluntarily. Because soon, silence is also going to be obligatory. Soon, we might not even have a right to speak at all on the streets. It might be an easy option for everyone now, because people are tired, exhausted and hopeless, but soon 'silencification' (you will see, this is going to be the IT word) might just be a new reality.


Solidus said...

Iran has the thirst least valuable money in the world while Azerbaijan’s 1 Manat roughly equals to 1 Euro. As far as I remember 1 Manat of Azerbaijan equals to 1200 Tomans of Iran. (1 U.S. dollar equals to roughly 930 Tomans of Iran. Manat is much valuable than U.S. dollar)

Since I often follow your weblog, I realize that you spot the shortcoming of the Azerbaijani government very well and for me your posts are sometimes very informative however; let me tell you that you are perfect in nagging. At least this is what makes me exhausted and hopeless about any changes in the North. This is because you are neither presenting any viable alternative method nor clarifying the core issue and sometimes you’re so ignorant about important matters that need to be discussed such as the Khojaly massacre that you may never talk it out under the pretext of bridging the gap between Azerbaijani and Armenian societies. I’m sure these are all because of the classical idealist nature of your outlook.

I congratulate you for having your weblog featured on BBC and unfortunately I could watch your video because BBC has been filtered out in Iran. If I assess this event in your style I would say that your weblog is not qualified enough to be feature on an international portal like BBC. I may also whisper that Ms.Aliyeva is a devil who pulled strings for getting appreciations but how about Ms.Qurbanquliyeva herself?!!

• I hope you’re not irritated by my comments.

Anonymous said...

good job! :)

Anonymous said...

hey! listen, why dont you up a facebook account for your blog and creat a group there? there are many foreigners and local people who would like to read what's in your blog. isnt that famous compared to face. have a nice weekend. you dont have to approve this comment for publishing...:) in case of reply you can

Anonymous said...

To Solidus:
1) About Manat being "much valuable" than U.S. dollar, it is not the consequence of a "good economy", we do have fixed regime, and it takes 1.5 billion a year to keep the exchange rate stable!

2) Can you define "viable alternative method"?

Solidus said...

“Viable alternative Method” means that e.g. if Manat is not much valuable than dollar then what should be practically done to make it valuable or if a fixes regime for stabilizing exchange rate is not profitable then it must be clarified how a fluctuating exchange rate on the one hand and on the other hand how a stable exchange rate can affect the environment of doing business or how it could affect imports and export sectors. If a method is not viable then a statement like “this is so bad” will be perpetually repeated every year in the aftermath of specific occasions. As a result your interlocutor may exclaim: give me a clue instead of rewinding the tape.