Friday, September 11, 2009

Rare good news from Azerbaijan

I heard a couple of days ago that my former student Perviz Azimov won his court case in Azerbaijan. Perviz had been expelled from the university because of an article he wrote while he was in the journalism class I was teaching in Lenkoran last year. The article was a stinging indictment of the pervasive corruption at Lenkoran State University.

At the time, I had very mixed feelings about the article. On the one hand, I admired Perviz's courage in confronting an issue that deeply concerned him. On the other hand, I feared for the consequences if his article was published. I recommended that he pursue publication slowly - in order to double fact-check everything. As it turned out, by the time I made this recommendation, he was already getting the piece published.

Ah well.

Not surprisingly, the school authorities reacted sharply to the piece, which detailed the pattern of corruption from top to bottom. (Remember - the pattern of corruption begins at the very top. The boss of a company or a country sets the standard.) Before too long, Perviz was accused of starting a fight with another student, grounds for his expulsion. But - he didn't accept this fate quietly. He and his friends began noisy protests in Baku. He challenged the expulsion in court.

And - as we see - in the end this strategy was successful.

So far, the strategy of engaging in noisy protest has not freed Adnan and Emin. But - there's still hope!


Ani said...

It is good to hear, and I hope the lasting outcome of this case is favorable, and that he gets reinstated at his school. It's difficult not to be skeptical, unfortunately, of anything involving the courts of the Caucasus.

scaryazeri said...

I agree about being skeptical. I am quite good (or is it bad?) at it.

Anonymous said...

Skeptical at the very least. I'm afraid many people in the country have just become cynical - that everyone is a thief and that's the way it will always be. Hard to build a movement for change with that attitude!

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