Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little notice of the grim news from Azerbaijan

You don’t read much about Azerbaijan in the USA. You don’t read much about many other countries here. Maybe you read about China. Or Venezuela. Occasionally Russia or Mexico. But - the truth is that so much attention of the US media whirls around things that aren’t really that important. Are other Republicans apologizing too much to Rush Limbaugh? Who is getting kicked off “Dancing with the Stars?

And, legitimately, everyone is watching the economic storm clouds. Are things getting better? Will Obama’s plans work? Will the Republicans be successful in their bid to stifle economic recovery and prove Obama to be a failure.

The Christian Science Monitor did write a nice article on the referendum. This is the longest piece I’ve seen in the US news media - not counting a piece by the Voice of America. According to the Central Elections , the turnout for the vote last week was 71 percent, and 92 percent of the voters approved scrapping the term limits on the president.

Effectively, this means that President Ilham Aliyev can stay in power as long as he likes. He is in charge of the New Azerbaijan Party. The media is nearly completely owned or muzzled by the government. The opposition parties are fragmented and weak. At one point, it seemed to me like the president might have over reached, that his opponents were finding new strength and unity in their opposition to the referendum. That hope now seems naive.

Since the vote, I’ve been in touch with friends in Azerbaijan. The climate there seems discouraging for people who seek some democracy in that country. I look closely for signs of hope in their correspondence, but I don’t find it.

Not yet.


Syphos said...

Did a search on my reader for Azerbaijan and a small AFP piece was in the NYT on the referendum:


The only other hit, beyond your blog, for Azerbaijan was on perceptions of the US here:


Ani said...

Eric, what a sore point you’ve hit for me! As someone who has been involved with the Armenian opposition but living in America, I naively assured a friend that the world would be watching the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. Then I looked on with horror when the falsified elections and the post-election protests were nearly completely ignored in the West, until ten deaths occurred. It takes people dying for notice to be taken of anywhere except the few countries that occur on our radar screen, like China, for reasons of American self-interest. Then when a country blows up, like Afghanistan, we are taken utterly by surprise and have no idea how to respond. And first, 80% of Americans (maybe more) have to find it on a map.

At the time of the 2008 presidential elections, the New York Times had published almost nothing on Armenia (or on Azerbaijan, with a bit more on Georgia). Since the August war, they’ve added a stringer in Georgia, and they’ve also added links in the “Times Topics” section to Global Voices Online and a few other places, so blogs like yours and other informative blogs on Armenia and Azerbaijan get pushed forward a bit more than just being randomly found through Google. And it’s the reason that, although I’m no journalist, I’ve tried to collect some articles for the Armenian social-news website Khosq.am, and to include information on Belarus, Azerbaijan, Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran now and then as well.


By the way, I don’t know if you saw this article because the focus is on Belarus, but the statement on Aliyev sticks in the throat:


Eric said...

No - I didn't see that article. Thanks! Yes, very strange world we have - when we have to depend on blogs for news coverage. We're in a transitional period. I can't see this type of information system being sustainable for long.

Ani said...

An important, intriguing and sure to be highly controversial book about elections and democracy has just been published: "Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places" by Paul Collier (Harper/Harper Collins). It's controversial because of his interventionist prescriptions, more than his reporting.
Here's a link to the New York Times book review written by the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Seems like a book you'll want to take a look at:


Anonymous said...

I'm familiar with Collier's work - but not this book. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it

to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..
sesli sohbet
sesli chat
sesli site
görünlütü sohbet
görüntülü chat
kameralı sohbet
kameralı chat
sesli sohbet siteleri
sesli chat siteleri
görüntülü sohbet siteleri
görüntülü chat siteleri
kameralı sohbet siteleri
canlı sohbet
sesli muhabbet
görüntülü muhabbet
kameralı muhabbet
sesli sex

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing a nice article.