As anniversaries go, let us make careful note of one very significant milestone this is currently upon us. The Armenian Weekly is observing its 75th anniversary this year—a testament to the many editors and writers who have perpetuated this tradition and kept the ethnic press such a healthy and informative medium in the diaspora.
Many have stepped forward to ensure its success, from editors to pressmen, advertisers and subscribers young and old. It has been a stepping stone for the AYF and the stalwart for both the ARF and ARS, along with other organizations within our midst.
With resources always being a struggle, wouldn’t it be nice if those who can afford it make some kind of a monetary contribution to ensure its continued longevity.
As the holidays approach, people appear in a giving mood. Sometimes we’re apt to forget what we get in return. In this case, it’s a weekly journal chock full of news and stories meant to enlighten and entertain.
Few institutions endure 75 years. Those that do like the Armenian Weekly are bred on sacrifice and commitment.
This Christmas, send off a gift subscription to that student in college. Make it available to a friend or relative who doesn’t receive the journal. By doing so, you will not only make their lives a tad more fulfilling, but you’ll be giving the Armenian Weekly an added boost toward greater success.
If you go a bit below the surface in Azerbaijani otherwise hospitable culture you’ll find that the country is quite rotten. First of all, there isn’t any real democracy, but a despotic president who represses all the opposition forces. But, it is good to be president’s friend and pocket the oil money by corruption that the country’s public administration is full of. Allegedly, the air force chief Rail Rzayev was murdered in Baku in February 2009 because he became too greedy pocketing more money from aircraft procurement than other guys involved that then got envious and murdered him.
If you ever have a chance to experience how the public administration works in the country you would probably be surprised that almost nothing has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Management culture is ad-hoc day-to-day top-down management. If a minister wants something he can call any day anytime to the guy in administration and ask some simple information. And if the guy doesn’t know he calls his subordinates. It is good to remember that many of the Soviet norms are still in use in Azerbaijan. Archaic, I would say.
And how about people and the culture? The country tries hard to be close to Europe, but it does not really fit in with arranged marriages. Yes, as the oil wealth is not distributed equally many families get financial resources from brideprices by selling their daughters to grooms. As a foreigner it is a risky business to go for a date with a woman as it would be messing up with financial arrangements of elder male family members. This family centric lifestyle is also very closed and it is not easy to make friends in Azerbaijan as a foreigner.
As a summary, Azerbaijan is closed and archaic society with uneducated but nationalistic people. This can also be realised by talking to young people who would go immediately to war against Armenia if Ilham Aliyev just asked them to do so.
The future doesn’t look bright for the country. Educated people leave the country, relations with Turkey are worsening, relations with Iran are problematic due to large number of Azeris living there. Russia is also a challenge as it supports Armenia. Europe wants to foster European values including human rights, but Azeris don’t want to hear criticism against their country and culture. As the country does not have much else but oil and gas and not many friends will the problem bubbles start to burst when the oil reserves wane within 10 years. Maybe then it is time for Aliyev to start the long-waited war against Armenia to gain popularity among people who would otherwise resent the current regime due to decreasing oil profits.