Catching Up on a Few Things: Freedom, in a Few Ways
I’ve been a little slow on the uptake with a few notable events this past week, so I’ll just note them here with a promise of a few more words about them to come later. In a move that people are hailing as a positive sign for human rights in Azerbaijan across the spectrum, the president pardoned a great number of prisoners, including Eynulla Fatullayev, the journalist ordered released by the European Court of Human Rights last year. Both the American Ambassador, Matthew Bryza, and international organizations are praising the move. Arzu celebrates:
It took a decision by the European Court of Human Rights, campaigns, statements, reports, talks and action campaigns to finally after four years of long and tough struggle to see one of Azerbaijan’s most critical journalist, Eynulla Fatullayev, finally taste freedom after four years spent in jail on ambiguous charges, paying what many would call, the price for ones’ openness and commitment in bringing out truth.He was charged with defamation, libel, accused of terrorism, his newspaper was shut down, and he had to go through hell before being released. Surely, its all part of the greater struggle, and surely that struggle is ain’t easy and there is a price to pay. But the news of his release today, probably caused many to celebrate in Azerbaijan. Indeed, this is a perfect cause for celebration.
The other big event this past week was the holiday marking the independence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, declared on May 28, 1918 in Tbilisi by Məmməd Rəsulzadə. From my view, it seems like this holiday is celebrated with varying degrees of enthusiasm, if at all. Perhaps it’s because the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic only lasted two years before being absorbed by the Russians (again) and becoming part of the Soviet Union in 1920. A bit about Məmməd Rəsulzadə:
Mammad Emin Resulzade received his education at the Russian-Muslim Secondary School and then at the Technical College in Baku. In his years of study he created “Muslim Youth Organisation Musavat”, first secret organisation in Azerbaijan’s contemporary history, and beginning from 1903 Resulzade began writing articles in various opposition newspapers and magazines. At that time, his anti-monarchist platform and his demands for the national autonomy of Azerbaijan, aligned him with Social Democrats and future Communists. In 1904 he founded the first Muslim social-democrat organisation “Hummet” and became editor-in-chief of its newspapers, “Tekamül”(1906–1907) and “Yoldaş”(1907).