Archive for the ‘ AdnanEmin ’ Category

Being An Activist

If the last three years of my life taught me something, it would be the toughness of being firm in what I believe in and standing up for this as long as it’s needed.

During recent events in Egypt many people around would ask me and my friends why we cared about it so much to write posts and tweet and facebook about it. We couldn’t explain, that their victory will affect all of us. And, apparently, it did.

Now that Jabbar Savalan’s case is happening, I know exactly what those close to him feel. When Emin and Adnan got arrested in July 2009 it was also a start to a whole new page of my life – the one when I had to pick a side and stick to it. I did and have never regretted it. I was most certainly sure that my friends were not guilty and did not deserve what they got. It was also the time when I realized that most of the things I cared about before didn’t mean a thing.

Ever since, among my oldest friends I was perceived as a “dissident” and would often be asked: “Are you still not arrested?” by the most sarcastic of them. On Facebook, where most of our activity was concentrated, many unfriended or hid me. Losing some of them, was pretty painful, but the cause was worth it. Especially, given that it introduced me to the whole new dimension – the world of activism.

***

Admitting inconvenient truth is not easy by definition: first you need to learn to be objetive about yourself and your family. Then, you learn to do the same about your country, which, trust me, is the toughest one. You have to see both good sides and the ones people around you prefer to forget about. You have to admit that your country is NOT perfect. Then you start acting.

If life was a high school – activists would probably be these crazy kids who give away flyers and care about an old tree to be cut. They make it seem as if they don’t care what others think. They have secret crushes on cool kids, they want to go to parties, but usually don’t get invited.

But life is not a high school. And they’re not pathetic weirdos.

Activists, are the ones to start telling the truth, when others prefer to ignore it. They go against the flow, when many settle for what’s given. They go to prisons, for those who are not ready to stand for their rights. Activists are the ones to advocate for those who are not ready to speak up. They experience fear for themselves and their families. They lose some friends to prisons; they understand when others stop saying “Hello” because of fear. They patiently wait until these people come back, and in most of the cases, act as if nothing happened. But the main thing to understand about activists is that their goal is to make people think, while people are the ones to eventually go out to the streets and demand the justice.

Activists are activists not because they’re bored, not because it’s cool to be ones and certainly not because it’s easy. Most of them suffer personality disorders and periodically doubt themselves. But every morning they wake up to do what they do.

Simply because someone has to do it.

***

There are two women among many of my friends who I admire and adore in a very special way. Both happily married, both having pretty much everything a person needs to have a stable and careless life. Nevertheless, both among the most passionate activists of our country. Arzu and Mehriban, this post is for you, for all the other activists around the world and for those who don’t, and probably, will never get us.

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Emin and Adnan: 17 months that changed things

This post is not about me.

It’s about two people, worth love and respect who had to go to prison. And came back.

And their friends and close ones, who stayed on the other side and didn’t give up.

***

Emin Milli (Abdullayev) being released from prison

Azerbaijani bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were arrested on July 8th, 2009 with the charge of hooliganism after being beaten by two athletic strangers in one of the downtown cafes. Evidences, such as street camera, which showed them, beaten, going to the police station to file complains, as well as many other evidences that could prove them innocent, were not accepted by the court. Testimonies that could help them, were not heard either. After four months of pre-trial detention, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were plead guilty and sentenced 2,5 and 2 years of detention respectively.

But let’s start from the beginning.

Continue reading

Slightly Violated

What is the difference between Iran and the real wolrd?

***

At 1:00am January 1, 2009 I  was in the office of Radio Liberty Azerbaijan, surrounded by youth, intellectuals, public figures and employees of RFE/RL. An hour before that, the radio they were working for was taken off the FM, and from that moment on, they would have to broadcast on SW, Satellite and Internet, losing most of their followers.

We would drink shampaigne, celebrating the Saddest New Year Ever, preparing ourselves for the difficulties 2009 was promising… and sadly kept its promise.

***

Going through the web-page of one of the main Azerbaijani media sources couple of days ago, I saw an article in bold headline, which said: “A Turkish woman severely beaten by the Norwegian police”. So I clicked on it.

A small article told a story taken from CNN Turk, about a woman in Norway, who mistakenly called the police instead of the emergency, for her mother who was having a diabetes attack. When police arrived, the woman was being impatient and rude and for some unknown reason got beaten up by the officers. While the terrible act was happening, the mother died, left without medical care.

Although the article didn’t provide with any more facts, neither did the only mentioning of this fact I could find online – on CNN Turk, the fact itself was quite disturbing. But there also was this last paragraph, added by the author of the local source, which was, not only disturbing, but also ridiculous and in fact, terrifying. It said: “The most surprising here is that Norway, which tends to judge other countries, including Azerbaijan for the slightest (!! remember this word while reading my post) violations of human rights, better take care about its own democracy”.

Now, about the “slightest vilations”. As Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines says in her blog, this year started even worse than the previous one. Eynulla Fatullayev was ensured not to leave the prison any time soon, Emin and Adnan’s court hearings are being postponed. But the worst happened in a village Beneniyar in Nakchivan region of Azerbaijan, where after marking the Ashura date, more than 150 villagers were arrested and interrogated, including villager Kamal Aliyev, his wife and daughter. His son Yunis, poured gasoline over himself threatening the policeman who was holding his family to set himself on fire. “Do it, if you’re a man”, was the policeman’s response. So he did.

Right after that, 500 Internal Troopers, entered the village, people were taken out of their houses, beaten up, and humiliated. According to the villagers, the exits from the village are blocked, telephone calls are being tracked and get cut, once someone calls to Baku.

Guess what – only couple of news agencies reported it. Most of the work was made by Radio Liberty.

And this is not the end – today the official (!!) statement of Nakhichevan Representative Office in Baku was released. According to it, Yunis Aliyev, as well as his whole family and relatives (thoughtfully counted one by one) are mentally ill, and the “illegal acts” happened in the village were caused by the “illegal armed groups of the Popular Front”. However, both the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan and the one of Nakhchivan DENY anything happening on the area.

So, yes, Norwegian police has killed a woman of different ethnicity and religion and it’s bad. We can start talking about racism among Norwegian police, discuss the oppressions of muslim population in Europe, about the problems they face, but not about the ones they cause. Some of it will be true, some not, new laws will be implemented to make them feel comfortable, more population will be against these laws or visa versa. But the main thing we.. no, not we, THEY forget about is that while we fish facts of racist killings in Europe, people of our own ethnicity and religion are being beaten, humiliated, trapped or missing on our own territory by our own POLICE. And no, we don’t consider it a crime, we don’t talk or write about it. Even when we’re supposed to, as media.

No evil happens here. It simply doesn’t exist.

***

Iranian Television aired a documentary film, which tells the “real” story of Neda‘s death. According to the latest “research”, she was an agent of USA and Britain (apparently jointly organized espionage) and her death was faked. The blood on her face came from a bottle (!) she thoughtfully brought to the demonstration in order to organize this pre-planned show.

Yes, no evil happens in Iran either.

And this is the difference between Iran and the real world.

***

What is the difference between Azerbaijan and the real world?

AZADLIQ!!!

Life is about many different things.

Work, personal life, friends, parents, traffic jams, routine, facebooks, skypes…

And you manage not to think about your imprisoned friends for a while. There’s always something happening around you.

Then while cleaning your desktop (another part of the routine) you find their pictures from you birthday. Both free and happy, taking pictures with people, hugging them, talking about ideas.

Enjoying the routine.

And you feel it again – the pain of injustice. This is not the way it is supposed to be. Not them, not like this..

In Georgia we made a speech in front of 30 people from 4 countries.

At a very last moment I decided to add to a very inspirational speech of Ruslan. Somehow I remember my words very well. Maybe because of the sincerity I said them with:

“Adnan is a guy who studied, travelled all around the world and came back home, because he felt it was the time. Later he joined the army.

He’s someone who has the vision, the beliefs, the idea. Someone worth being proud of.

Emin has changed my life in too many ways to count, changed my set of mind.

He’s not just a human being, he’s a spirit.

He would always say: “It was always only 5-6 of us”.

I wish you all to have friends like Emin and Adnan and experience what it feels like to stand among this kind of 5-6 people.

And feel THAT proud.”

This will be the shortest post on my blog. Because life is about many different things.

And one of them is spreading the spirit of Adnan and Emin while they are away…

A Holy Book of Strategies or How to Use Imagination?

Today Fatalin is cynical.

***

“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 Patriotism

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 by the West!”

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.
Actual feedback:
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.

H for Honor

Our Vision prevails over their fear…

Our Passion prevails over their power…

Our Love prevails over 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.

Fallen

One of the episodes of my favorite TV show starts with a line: “Responsibility really does suck”.

True.

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?

They pretend.

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.

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