BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Gasp, what a horrible thing to say, right? How dare I call a country filthy? Isn’t that at worst “racist” and at best “uncool”?
These might be the thoughts of someone who is a bit too paranoid about words, and a bit too imbued by the (otherwise necessary) caution surrounding the use of words and language in the U.S.
But consider the ecological ravages of the Soviet Union that plague all the former Soviet countries. Azerbaijan is no exception. Isn’t this filth?
Now consider the ongoing ecological damage caused by the oil industry in Azerbaijan, something we don’t hear/read too much about since it is connected to the benighted, super-powerful, Exxons, BPs, and LUKoils of the world. Isn’t this filth?
But lest we forget, there’s the going-on-three-generations control of the country by the Aliyev clan and its cronies. Under various family members’ names, multi-million dollar properties are owned worldwide. They also launch themselves into various businesses, the traditional way of laundering ill-gotten gains— just ask the descendents of Mafiosi, turn of the previous century Jewish mobsters, or 19th century Irish hooligans. There’s a lot of oil money going into the Aliyevs’ pockets, and it’s not happening because they’re out there drilling new oil wells. Isn’t this filth?
But corruption isn’t limited to the ruling, governmental elites, or at least not in their governmental roles. We have the example of Hamid Hamidov. Besides being the minister of “Emergency Operations”, he has been linked to bribery scandals in the world of boxing. There’s the case of a $10 million payment to the World Series of Boxing which seemed to have been made to secure advantages for Azerbaijani boxers! Isn’t this filth?
But it’s not only the big-shots who engage in reprehensible behavior. As everyone learned recently, Olympics event tickets were being scalped by Azeris in London. These were tickets that had been issued to Azerbaijan and were prohibited from sale. Yet somehow, they made it onto the streets were an undercover journalist exposed this abuse. Isn’t this filth?
Maybe we shouldn’t complain. With Azerbaijan consistently ranked even worse than Armenia on corruption indexes, we can be sure that morale in and commitment to that country will continue to be weak. Probably, that is so much the case that if the belligerent “president” of Azerbaijan’s, Ilham Aliyev, ego gets the best of him and he is foolhardy enough to once again start a hot war with the twin Armenian republics, his forces will once again be trounced despite the billions he’s been spending acquiring ever more arms of ever greater sophistication.
While my heart goes out to the poor souls suffering in the filth that currently constitutes Azerbaijan, at some point, they do have to take charge, rise up, and take out the pig-with-lipstick who is enjoying wallowing in the filth with which he and his father (Ilham and Heydar Aliyev) have filled the country.
Let’s help our neighbors create a better life. It can only redound to our benefit in the long run.