Thursday, February 26

Tragedies of Azerbaijan

Sadly there are many...

The fact that young man is celebrating his 20th birthday in jail today is our country's tragedy. He was jailed unjustly and now is serving a sentence that was easily handed by a judge who cared little about that man's life, and cared only about fulfilling his orders. He is our tragedy. The fact that we have this kind of corrupted, inhumane judicial system and cannot trust it, is our tragedy too.

The fact that 2 year-old boy hasn't seen his father since his birth is a tragedy. It is our tragedy that his father also bright, young and intelligent is locked up behind bars on someone's orders. Because that "someone" is afraid of people like that little boy's father, is a tragedy.

The fact that we have an elderly couple, known in the country for their valuable work is in jail for their believes and ideals is a tragedy. 

The fact that head of an independent election observation organization is in jail is our tragedy. 

The fact that we have over 90 political prisoners is our tragedy. 

The fact that police would force an older woman to testify against another person by threatening her is our tragedy. How low our police has fallen that it threatens an old woman. This is our tragedy. That we are left without any protection as we cannot trust the police, is a tragedy. 

The fact that we have liars running our country is a tragedy. The fact that we have corrupted government officials playing with our lives is a tragedy. 

The fact that we do not value those who have freed this country for the first time in 1918 is a tragedy. The fact that we have objectified certain individuals who have turned this country into a big joke is a tragedy. 

And then we have our Khojaly which too is a tragedy. The fact that we think of that day only once a year is a tragedy. The fact that we forget about it and only remember about it on its anniversary, showing those terrible images from that terrible night, cursing at everyone responsible for it is a tragedy. The fact that its used as yet another PR campaign by those who simply can is a tragedy. The fact that we cannot even let those poor souls rest in peace is a tragedy, the fact that to this day we continue using them to make gains and political statements is a tragedy.

The fact that we cannot forgive and have little compassion even to our own people is a tragedy. The fact that we cannot stand up for our rights is a tragedy. 

Today is a sad and tragic day in the history of Azerbaijan. But when we look at the bigger picture, its just one big tragedy as a whole. 

May those poor souls brutally murdered, tortured and frozen to death rest in piece.

And may we, find peace in ourselves and start recognizing all of our tragedies and not just selecting the ones that suit our interests best. These are all our tragedies that must not be forgotten or prioritized because all of these are about our own people, and one life can never be more valued over another. 

Celebrating 20th birthday behind bars!

Today Omer Mammadov turns 20 years old. But unlike many 20 year olds he wont be celebrating his birthday with friends and family. He will be celebrating it in jail, behind bards, with his cell mates. This is how President Aliyev and his government is punishing its active, educated and bright youth. By locking them up in jail for extended sentences and keeping them there for as long as he can.

Mammadov, was sentenced in May of 2014 to five years in prison. His crime? Using his right to free speech and association calling on the people of Azerbaijan to come together and stand up against authoritarian leadership of Aliyev and abuse of conscripts in the army.

Mammadov isn’t the only one sentenced that month. Together with six other members, he received a lengthy sentence, the longest being 8 years. Along with the rest of the group Omer, was arrested in 2013. All men represented N!DA youth movement – a civic movement founded in early 2011 by young people calling for democracy and social changes in Azerbaijan.

There was one more activist, whose trial took place together with N!DA activists. Ilkin Rustamzade, was member of another youth movement but joined N!DA following his arrest.

Amnesty International recognized all eight arrested men as prisoners of conscience.

In October 2014 two of them – Shahin Novruzlu and Bakhtiyar Guliyev were pardoned in a presidential pardoning decree. In December 2014, two more – Uzeyir Mammadli and Zaur Gurbanli were released.

The rest, including young Omer remain in jail. 
Thank you Mr. President! You really do value your youth!