Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
“Come to Azerbaijan and have some fun!”, should be a new touristic slogan.
As I already said, right after the verdict for Emin and Adnan was announced and the whole international community reacted critically, the Azerbaijan Honor Defenders emerged with countless “analytical” articles and interviews.
The squad of Defenders doesn’t only consist of careerists, nationalistic masturbators and pseudo-patriots, it also includes BIG GUYS. Those who write two-three articles a day but when someone asks you “What does it say”, you think for a minute, trying to remember anything significant and respond “Nothing, actually…”. And even though E&A supporters get furious and comment on these statements, when you dig deeper you can clearly see a dusted Soviet-style strategy our BIG GUYS usually use.
And the more they talk, the more ridiculous it looks, the more people understand it. And react.
So, in section this strategy and the reaction I can witness looks like this:
Strategy 1 – Use Human Resources
A call for public figures to comment on the case.
Expected outcome: “If this guy said so, it’s definitely truth!”
Actual feedback: Did you ever notice WHO you use? Do you actually think people still believe them?
Strategy 2 – Set a Doubt
“They are not bloggers”
Expected outcome: “Oh my God, everything is a lie!”
Actual feedback: “So if they are tailors? What does it change?”
Strategy 3 – The Nationalistic note
Divided to 4 sub-categories:
1. “US want Azerbaijan to collapse”
Expected outcome: “Really, they talk about democracy, but look how immoral they are! Now they want to interfere in internal issues of our country! What a shame!”
Actual feedback: Too late. Now it looks cheap.
2. “It is an internal matter of Azerbaijan!”
Expected outcome: “This is unacceptable!”
Actual feedback: “A wife beater says the same when police comes over to take him. Lame”
3. “The international community doesn’t support us in Karabakh case, but criticizes us now”
Expected outcome: “They are all pro-Armenian!”
Actual feedback: Well, Emin personally met with 100 officials during his trips to US to talk about Khojaly, also organized a protest demonstration on February 26th in front of the Armenian Embassy in Washington. And also you might want to reconsider the policy of fighting this group of people who make impossible for nothing and favoring grant eaters for no outcome. But sure, you know better.
4. “They get paid!”
Expected outcome: “People are starving while those travel around the world and get grants! Moreover, hell knows who finances them!”
Actual feedback: Seriously? Emin once made a bet that he will travel all around the Europe with no money in his pocket. It seemed crazy even for us, but he did it. He stayed there for a month and traveled around several countries. Doesn’t fit into the programmed mind or International Bank’s budget? Yeah, definitely.
Strategy 4 – Stating the obvious
“It is a simple case of hooliganism”
Expected outcome: It is a simple case of hooliganism.
1. We see fights everyday, all around us. Did anyone non-public go to prison for that?
2. Are all thousands of supporters crazy?
3. Seriously, again?
Strategy 5 – Expose the truth
“Their friends are emotional and rude!”
Expected outcome: Yeah, they’re weird. And the girls there smoke, hang out with boys and breathe without permission.
Actual feedback: Four months of work, expectations, positive and negative emotions, fear, bravery, inspiration, disappointment, tension, self-limitation, patience – and your friends still get unjustly sentenced. Being rude is wrong, but what would you look like?
Strategy 6 – Let’s laugh.
A series of jokes or sarcastic statements on E&A’s activity or their case.
Expected outcome: Ridiculous indeed!
Actual feedback: Good strategy to laugh over something you have no idea about. You joke as if it’s obvious, hence no need to use facts/arguments, no need to actually analyze, because people are too busy laughing/trying to get the sophisticated jokes, to understand the actual meaning. Once again, good strategy for a high school student with low IQ and confidence issues.
Strategy 7 – Not a strategy but a total stupidity
“If the case wouldn’t be so politicized, it would be solved early”
Expected outcome: Have no idea.
Actual feedback: Are you kidding me?
Expected further strategies:
1. They/their friends are/support Armenians – million conclusions; pictures of Emin and Adnan hugging someone Armenian; someone Armenian stating he received State secrets from Adnan; deep analysis of paraphrased quote by Emin, where he calls Azerbaijan to let Karabakh go.
2. They/their friends are/support islamists – confirmed by an unknown Mullah, who, if you dig deeper was also involved in another case of this kind.
3. Their friends are hooligans/drug dealers/spies/criminals – same scenario with fake witnesses, evidences, bad show with pathetic actors. Least likely to happen since it would be a peak of stupidity, but who knows, who knows..
But the best thing about these articles is that NEITHER of these people didn’t come to the hearing of the case they ANALYSE so confidently, didn’t meet with the lawyers or families, didn’t ask ANY questions from the supporting group.
And yes, they sincerely think that someone believes them.
“Come to Azerbaijan and have some fun!”, should be a new touristic slogan.
“There is always something stupid to laugh at”, should say an inscription under it.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Our Vision prevails their fear…
Our Passion prevails their power…
Our Love prevails their hate…
Celebrate our Vision for Freedom!
Passion for Justice!
Love for Humanity!
Emin Milli. November 11, 2009
First message after the sentence.
“Bazaleti lake is very peaceful, quiet and beautiful”, I thought when I first arrived to the location I was supposed to stay for 8 days.
It was going to be fun: three South Caucasus countries, German organizers, simulations, fake news, jokes.
On our third day there I received the news about court decision..
The court was appointed to November 11. The time has changed on the last day from 3pm to 10:30am. This wasn’t a good sign.
The absent witnesses didn’t show up. The prosecutor made his speech, asking for 3,5 years for Emin and 3 years for Adnan.
Then Adnan talked: “Your honor, I’m asking you to take into consideration that Emin is a newlywed, his wife is doing PhD in one of the World’s most famous universities – Columbia University. Also, his parents are pensioners and need his support. “, he said, and then added, “We’ll serve our term somehow and return to normal life in 3 years, but these two IDPs you made beat us up, fake witnesses and policemen you forced to bring here & give false testimonies will have to live with this until the end of their lives.”
“It is an honor for me… It is an honor for me that I am punished for my ideas – my friends, please let everyone know this through sms, e-mails and Facebook”. Emin was short, but this speech made the whole audience stand up, applaude and shout “Azadliq” (Az. Freedom) right in the court room.
After a short break the judge read the decision: they both got sentenced..
A week after the court hearing – everything is back to normal: loads of received and sent e-mails, translations, news, links, statements, videos and the same routine we’ve been living in last four months. But this time everything is doubled – emotions, goals, inspirations, motivations. This time there are no limits, we’re moving towards our goal breaking the walls, clearing the obstacles.
But as this case became one of the dirtiest and at the same time well-known in the contemporary history of Azerbaijan a new group of Azerbaijan Honor Defenders emerged out of the circle of careerists, pro-Governmental puppets and Governmental decision makers. What are they doing? Histerically trying to prove themselves right, by involving “public figures” who write articles and post it on the most popular sources, by making statements, commenting on the case, calling us spies, saying the West pays us, asking why we’re so emotional.
They have no idea that the whole AdnanEmin Campaign is a result of a hard work of a small group of people, and those who helped and supported them. The only money this group received (besides chipping in for the protest actions and etc.) were donations for the families of Emin and Adnan, which were fully received by them. The members of this group refused good jobs, or acted despite the positions they hold. They would work openly or anonimously, sending/receiving information, collecting donations, showing all the possible support.
They say “they know” where we get money for all this, and who would sponsor Emin for all the anti-Azerbaijani acts. They simply can’t imagine that people can work for nothing, besides the idea they share, love and unity. It doesn’t fit in their minds.
But the saddest thing is – even if they do know/imagine/feel – they are not allowed to speak up.
So yes, we’re THAT popular now
In the coming months there will be a series of events dedicated to Emin and Adnan. Check Facebook and other sources to get updates. Wherever you are you will be able to participate.
There is also a new project – a blog of Emin and Adnan, based on the letters guys send from the prison. Each letter is a new post. You can follow it on www.adnanemin.com.
And while the Honor Defenders get lowest ratings on the sources they post their articles at, we get feedbacks and 800 views in three days.
Because they simply can’t IMAGINE.
And we simply don’t CARE.
The court hearing was supposed to start two hours ago when I was running through the whole territory of the complex to spend my lunch time surfing Facebook for the news.
I got into the lobby opened my laptop and clicked the address without even taking my coat off.
Next thing I saw were four words: 2 and 2-and-a-half years.
And then there was nothing…
“Bazaleti lake is awfully quiet” I thought sitting on the shore of it on November 11, 2009.
Another point of no return.
Friday, November 6, 2009
“There are three worlds: the one you want to live in, the one that’s good for you, and the one you actually live in.”
Even though I did refer to women’s stories in some of my posts I have never actually written about gender issues. Maybe because I have never been interested in this topic enough to write.
I have never divided people by gender, race or nationality. I’m more cynical. For me people are either meaningful or meaningless. Regardless if they’re men or women.
My one and only place of work – Foundation A, where I spent two years of my life and changed in so many ways, I will not be able to count – was not only perfect because of the work I got to do and the people I got to meet, but also because of one person there – my boss.
Besides actually teaching me how to do my work he was also a close friend, someone I could tell about my problems, concerns, and fears. After one of such conversations he told me something I keep in my mind ever since: “You have two options in your life: (1) To become your mom; (2) To become yourself”. And I knew exactly what he meant by that.
D. is an absolutely amazing person. Because of her capacity, attitude and natural networking skills, she can make friends with literally anyone. She was a popular kid at the university. She would travel around the USSR and meet people everywhere she would go.
She got married at 26, which is considered pretty late for an Azeri girl even today. Her husband was 12 years older. Right after the wedding she had to quit her job, since the husband wanted her to stay home with the kids. She did not mind – it was the right thing to do.
Two kids and several years later her husband lost his job due to an unstable situation in the country and principles he could not break. He went abroad to earn money. She stayed.
She was 42 when she found her first job after a 15-
When her husband came back after two years of absence and unsuccessful attempts to do something he was not meant to, in order to earn for his family, she had a good job and at least some confidence about the future. Several months later he received a good proposal and everything went back to normal. And of course, he asked her to quit the job again. She did.
Today, her life is mostly about her family, online friends and going out to karaoke or dinners with friends on weekends. And the huge potential she still has is lost somewhere in the labyrinths of everyday routine. Nothing more, nothing less.
She’s happy. Or at least seems so.
She is the one I take my inner freedom from and the reason for my commitment issues.
She’s my mom.
I have never divided people by race, nationality and especially gender. Simply because some examples around me clearly show that both men and women can be equally strong or weak, special or ordinary, meaningful or meaningless.
I am lucky enough to have a non-
But lucky as I am, I woke up before it was too late. I brought myself back together, realized who I am and chose my path, full of new territories, right and wrong decisions, different people and self-
I’m neither woman, nor man here.
And no one can take this away anymore.
There are three worlds: the one you want to live in, the one that’s good for you, and the one you actually live in.
Written for www.women-forum.net
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Along with the excitement of growing old enough to drink, drive a car, stay out late and travel alone, we also receive a whole set of responsibilities.
And no one comforts us, patting on the back, telling us what’s right or wrong anymore.
We start making mistakes. We learn how to lie and pretend. We regret.
And even the best of us leave the straight and narrow once in a while.
This process is non-reversible. The older we are, the more responsibilities we get, the more mistakes we make.
We try to solve them, we deal with the guilt, we hide from ourselves or face the consequences courageously.
But the mistakes we made... they never fade away.
Today I read a very interesting article written by a famous Russian journalist Yuliya Latinina. She talks about two recent incidents giving them as very simple examples of the general situation:
First one happened in Sweden when the local SWAT mistakened the house they were supposed to attack during the training and broke into some guy’s home. The person received apologies and full compensation immediately.
Second story happened in Russia. On January 2007 during the anti-terroristic operation Russian police accidentally broke into the neighbor’s house and shot him in the back. The court pled the guy guilty in attacking the police and proved him a criminal.
Besides the interesting facts and rough analysis of the current political situation in Russia, there also was one line that dragged my attention the most: “It’s not about the mistakes we make, it’s about the way we deal with them.”
No, we don’t live in wealthy, almost non-problematic Sweden, which can afford more than a full compensation to one citizen.
We live in a small “oil-rich country” situated in a problematic region with a full set of difficulties.
But we can afford admitting our mistakes and at least trying to solve the embarrassing issues. We can try to deal with the things we cause.
Everyday we receive news from all around the country – Transport Ministry representatives beat up some truck driver and now he’s facing detention period while his 12-year-old son goes on hunger strike**; a pensioner wrote a letter to the President and was placed to the mental hospital; Azerbaijan population will have problems with domestic gas this year; 4 months have passed since Emin’s and Adnan’s arrest.
We talk about it, blame the system, curse the Government. We write articles, blogposts, facebook statuses. We discuss it over and over again with everyone we meet.
But what does the Government say? How do the people who actually cause these problems react?
Pretend as if nothing happened, as if they don’t carry any responsibility for anything that takes place in the country. They close their eyes thinking they become invisible doing this. They play with people’s lives. They act as if life is only a chess board. They live as if they’re eternal.
They act as if they’re waiting for someone to comfort, pat them on the back and tell them what’s right or wrong.
But there’s no one left to do that. Too much damage is done.
There are only mistakes and responsibilities.
That will never fade away.
**The next morning after this post was written the truck driver was charged 3 years of detention and released on probation.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I know, you’ll say it’s impossible to get to know a person via internet, but read till the end and you’ll understand.
She told me about her life – how she was born in a poor family and actually nailed a right to study in a good private school by winning the competition. Her education wouldn’t allow her think badly of her Government – “Our country is rapidly developing and we have to be proud”, they would say. And she would believe until she faced first signs of free speech violation inside her own school.
No, she’s very grateful for everything they did for her. She understands that they were too scared to lose good jobs and probably were trying to believe in these things themselves.
But she doesn’t. She can see what’s going on around her, but can’t speak up.
Because after graduating the school she decided to apply for Government program which provides scholarships for Azerbaijani students who want to study abroad.
And this is another challenge she had to go through.
On the interview in the Ministry of Education she had to answer questions like: “When was YAP (ruling party) founded?”, “By whom?”, “Who’s the head of it now?”.
“What ruling system is there in Japan?”, she was asked.
“Monarchy”, she answered.
“Why wouldn’t they change it?”, was the next question.
Somehow, she passed.
The University she got accepted to required the payment to be transfered till August 31st. However, the deadline was getting closer but Ministy of Education wouldn't react in any way. Eventually she called there to say that the University warned her that if the tuition is not paid till the deadline - she and other guys from this program will be expelled.
The response of the ministry representative was: "Tell this University not to put demands on the Government of Azerbaijan".
The problem was solved two hours before the deadline and after several requests from the parents.
Right now she’s there, in one of the best European universities, discovering different world, starting a new life, passionately promoting her country she loves so much and… trying to find money to survive and pay for her books, accommodation, food. Why? Because it’s been more than a month since our government was supposed to send her (and other Azerbaijani students in her university) scholarship, but there’s still nothing on her bank account.
How does she survive? Fortunately, some Azerbaijani and Turkish families living there help kids coming from Azerbaijan.
“It’s ok now, I’m already used to living without a cell phone and sharing books with my roommate”, she optimistically said to me.
“What about the accommodation?”, I asked.
“Oh, they were already going to throw me out, but then I won this contest and received some scholarship from the university. It was enough to pay for the dormitory and two books. I’m sharing them with my roommate as well”, was her response. “I have good news too, I’m best in my mathematics class so far!”, she added.
We became friends in a blink of the eye and now she writes me almost every week describing her life there and the way her lessons go, she asks me about my projects and plans, she sends me congratulations on holidays. Her letters are usually long, pretty detailed and very positive regardless the problems she describes there.
And me? Even though sometimes I’m too lazy to read a joke of few lines and am absolutely terrible in solving my correspondence – whenever I see her letter among others I open it first and read it from the beginning till the end.
But what is more important – these letters always make me happy and proud.
I know, you still think it’s impossible to get to know a person via internet, but this is the power of belief that brings absolutely amazing people on my way.
The reason our correspondence started on the first place is because she felt the urge to tell me this story of her life and explain why she didn’t participate openly in AdnanEmin Campaign.
She wrote me to say, she hates herself for getting scared.
The first sentence of my next letter was: “I’m proud of you”. And I actually was.
The subject of our correspondence was “Education&Freedom”.
For me this girl is the hope. She’s a success story which I hope will be contagious for everyone she meets along her way.
Because if she’s a future of this country, then I definitely want to live long enough to witness it.
As for the dishonest authorities which are to blame for the problems of this girl and other Azerbaijani kids studying abroad by this program - they'll have a special place in this future.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Today is a 100 day since Emin and Adnan are in prison.
They say the freedom is priceless.
They also say that freedom has a price to pay.
No contradiction – a very simple truth.
What are we ready to do for the freedom?
Are we ready to give up a good job with a high salary? Break up with someone we really love? Leave the family nest?
Are we ready to go our own way and make our own mistakes?
Milli, two days ago you’ve turned 30.
You have always been the one to spread the freedom all around you with an insane energy; to empower the weak; to stay cool with the strong; to inspire the frightened. You have always been THE change.
I remember the day I first met you almost four years ago when I was different and you were already crazy :)
I also remember the day we met in London last year after a long no-see period. I’ve changed. And you… You just looked at me and said: “I’m proud of you”. I smiled, because that was all I needed to hear to feel happy.
You’ve always taught me to see not a person, but his potential.
That enemy is not scary – it’s just afraid.
That even the most difficult challenges are necessary.
I’ve never listened. And had to learn it my own way by making my own mistakes during these 100 days, while you and Adnan were paying your freedom price with decency worth being proud of.
Two days ago you’ve turned 30.
Your friends and supporters gathered together all around the world to celebrate the day of Global Emotional Warming (that's how we named your birthday), to remember stories about you, to drink for both you and Adnan and even sing ‘Happy birthday’ in Azerbaijani. Your birthday became a flashmob of parties in London, Paris, Strasbourg, Istanbul, Ankara, Budapest, New York, Houston, Moscow, Basel and other cities of the World.
Milli, we need you back.
Yes, we’re even ready to listen to your endless speeches and countless ideas all day long, spend most of the day in a wi-fi café where you schedule all your meetings, argue and dispute over any topic you want any time of the day. Just come back.
We miss you every day.
There’s always a price to pay for freedom – a crossroads of comfort and imaginary happiness with artificial green grass along it.
The road of freedom is frightening, frustrating, usually lonely, but exciting and sincere. Once we step on it – there’s no way back.
And yes, we will imagine our life if we took ‘that’ job every time we check our wallets. And then remember people who paid much more for their freedom.
We will dream of mom’s dolma while eating a sandwich somewhere away from home. Then we’ll call her, go to sleep sadder than usual and wake up brand new next morning.
We will meet our ex-lovers on the streets and regret the decisions we made a while ago, but only for a moment. Then, leave confidently smiling.
Because once we taste the freedom – there’s nothing like it in the whole world. No, it doesn't make us fly and forget the reality - it shows us the exact path we shud take to live the life worth being proud of.