Every day I am asked if I like Azerbaijan. We need to be loved and I find it interesting that we also need our country to be loved. Our collective image as a group matters. Another interesting question is: “Do you see us in the east or west?”
A good centre to look into all directions.
In Baku, I feel more in Europe than in Asia. They want to see themselves in the West. They would like to have, as in Georgia, the right to travel to Europe without a visa. Politics decided otherwise. With neighbors like Russia, Turkey, Iran and Central Asia on the other shore of the Caspian Sea, it is difficult to exclude politics in decisions.
Even if the West might not approve of it all, like it or not, at some point you have to have relationships with your neighbors. Whatever the neighbors life has offered you.
Here is the land of fire gas and oil, I do not know if they are loved but they are desired by people from all horizons. In power, a family educated in Russia, which controls everything and does not share everything. An oligarchy very conscious of its reputation wanting to build a modern country.
What makes it very interesting to me, coming from Quebec, is that Azerbaijan is a secular country. We talk more easily about secularism here than in Canada. They do not hide their pride of it.
Secularism and education and so much more. I would like to go more about the good bequests left by the late Soviet Union. I will focus on that as I continue in the region. But corruption, economic inequalities, inequalities between men and women, the lack of democracy during elections and an almost nonexistent civil society .
What we do to humanity for the love of power! For one, we let go of our youth in search of opportunities in other countries.
I’m leaving for Ganja, the country’s second city to search for “my family.” Why not a family in Baku? People in Baku seem to think the country is Baku. The scenario of daily lives of families in the capital city has become the same as in every big city in the world: Rushing through the day. Pushing your way into the subway.
Here people are very polite. I am always offered a seat in public transports. But when it time to enter a metro car, no one is polite! I still have not learned how to push. It brings me back to Estonia, to Moldova. Pushing your way during the Soviet Union years, that would be an interesting subject I had not thought of yet.
But hey, I like Baku, the color, the way all architecture blend well together. I like the beautiful facade on the sea that hides so well its inequalities.