Sunday, July 26, 2009

The importance of smashing idealism

OL! has a nice little interview with Ziya Aliyev, senior investigator of the Sabail Region district. Aliyev is the fellow supposedly investigating the case of Adnan Hajizadah & Emin Milli Abdullayev. As you recall, the two activists were arrested earlier this month, and were last week sentenced to two months pre-trial detention.

Their sentence came despite the fact that according to witnesses, they were the ones who were assaulted. That's the way it works in Azerbaijan. If you are a critic of the government, you are likely to be assaulted, and then be arrested for committing the assault. It's as logical as the rest of the governance there.

Since the arrest of the two young men, the action of the Azerbaijan government has been condemned by the representatives of the European Union and the United States. But this apparently has not changed the course chosen by the Azerbaijan government. They assume - probably correctly - that the fuss will settle down, and then sufficient punishment will be inflicted on Adnan and Emin to further intimidate the opposition with Azerbaijan. And the people running the country can proceed with their corrupt practices within their long-suffering country.

When I was working in Azerbaijan, I observed that corruption is useful to the authoritarian rulers in at least two ways. Most obviously, corruption personally enriches them. A huge chain of corruption has been built, and the top representatives of the government are the greatest beneficiaries. But secondly, corruption works to sap the strength of any opposition. If corruption is all pervasive, then even the opponents of the government can be snared in the sticky web. For this reason, true idealism - which is found most often in the young - can be the greatest threat to such a regime.

The persecution of Adnan and Emin may seem to be completely disproportionate to their offenses or the threat they posed - but their persecution is not directed at just two individuals. The rulers of Azerbaijan are intending to teach all young activists a lesson. To all those idealistic youths who took to the streets this spring, the Masters say, "Look at Emin and Adnan. This fate could be yours. Behave!"

4 comments:

scaryazeri said...

That is precisely what I think this was done for. To teach everybody else a valuable lesson. Sad.

Eric said...

It is sad. Such a policy sacrifices the future of the country for the benefit of its current rulers.

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