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Azerbaijan Has Oil, We have Culture

How Civilized Georgia is

“Azerbaijan has oil, we have culture”
(Salome Zurabishvili, President of Georgia)

Before starting the conversation, let me say that even if this statement is correct, its articulation by a president of a country towards another strategic partner state is neither professional, nor ethical.

With this note of mine, I have no intention to praise Azerbaijan or the people of Azerbaijan (absurdity on its own), instead, I want to show that there is no point in overvaluing the Georgians. I am one of those Azerbaijanis who think that the Georgians are “one step” ahead of us. However, I think this “step ahead” is neither unreachable, nor insurmountable.

According to a scientist of cultural studies whose name I don’t remember, social collectives are divided into three types:

Savage society, or a society of the weak and mighty. The mighty ignore everything and everyone and treat the weak in any way they wish.

Barbarian society where everything is handled in accordance with habits and customs. The only principle is the lifestyle of the ancestors, in other words, we should live on in the same manner.

Civilized society, where everything is regulated by rational, civilized laws, constitutions and similar documents written by people.

Naturally, there is no such a society, no such a nation in the world that fully conforms to one of these types of societies. Each society contains elements of all these three types. What is important, however, is what type prevails. From what I’ve heard, seen and read, the proportion of each type among the people stretching from Arax all the way to Volga is almost the same. It could be said, that after the revolution in Georgia, laws work there better than in our country, however it would be absolutely wrong to hold that the Georgians treat the weak better or are less dependent on customs and religion in areas not covered by law. We simply compare the Georgians to neighboring nations.

So, to call the Georgians civilized is to call the man raising two cows in a distant village where everyone raises only one cow, a rich man. If in our country, for example, there is one scientist, writer, painter per 1 mln people, then they’ve got two. And this difference is double from first glance, however, it is ten-fold, 15-fold, 20-fold compared to the Jews.

There is a high level of homophobia, same for racism and xenophobia. There is quite a deal of sexism, as would be expected, patriarchal values are overwhelming, so are religion and the clergy, virginity is one of the most important values when marrying. But to call 5-6 towers of local importance, 3-4 poems only read by the Georgians “civilized”… Call it whatever you like, but sticking it into our eyes, and at the level of the President…

If the Georgians are civilized, then what can be said of the Germans? What kind of a civilized nation is that that does not have a single winner of a “Nobel prize, “Golden Palm”, “Pulitzer”?

One cannot be a civilized country, the President of which kisses the Pope’s hand.

Imagine, during an interstate dispute between Croatia and Germany, Merkel making an absurd statement like this: “The Croatians have a sea, we have culture.” Or we say, “Pakistan has nuclear weapons and we have culture.” They can in their turn say, “The Bushmens have large penises, we have culture.” In short, one of two states can be more civilized, more developed that the other, even by 0.001 percent. Why would you stick into some each other’s eyes, especially that the situation is bad in both places?

Is it possible to find three differences between men with loose shirts exposing their chest hair playing domino in a café at masculine-dominated Ortachala and Azerbaijani men drinking “NZS” beer at the bus station; between the Georgian drivers of the train station who will get you to Tbilisi in such a way that is impossible to forget and our taxi-drivers of “May 28; between the Georgian folks dispersing the gay march and our folks who were curious that “a lot of fagots are coming to Baku for the Eurovision.”

At the same time, you will immediately notice the difference in all the cafes of Budapest – at any café, there are as many women, as men, and it is equally comfortable for all of them. You will never see a Hungarian taxi driver approaching and asking whether you need a car or where you are going. At least once a year the largest avenues are closed for LGBT marches and the whole city is painted in bright colors. These kinds of things can be considered civilizational differences. Otherwise, what’s the big deal in slightly falling behind or running ahead in some ranking indices? The example of Georgia shows that all these indices are directly linked to political authorities and the political route undertaken.

How complicated is it to get the support of three out of the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council and do a revolution? Is it possible to reach a result, however, in a situation when at least four of the permanent Security Council members do not favor such political changes in your country?

In other words, we are Muslim Georgians, the Armenians – Christian Azerbaijanis, the Georgians – Christian Lezgis. By this, I mean that neither the Azerbaijanis, nor the Georgians, nor the Armenians have not gone far from each other, do not expect from either of them any  serious, remarkable input in the global science and culture. They have not done it at least until now.

Moreover, the main argument for the Azerbaijanis that they belong to a more civilized, even to a higher race is more or less the following: “indicator of media freedom, transparency, lack of corruption [among them]. Pay attention to the fact, that in this sphere the situation was  the same in Georgia, Armenia and our country. Some would even call Georgia a “failed state”. So what if these indicators improve and become higher in our country in 5-6 years, which is not far from being unrealistic. Will we become more civilized than them?

According to “Reporters without Borders” in 2019, Samoa, Namibia, Botswana, Tonga, Chile, Romania, Burkina Faso and many other similar countries were running ahead of the United States and Georgia by “Media Freedom in the World”.

According to “Freedom House”, in 2018, Tuvalu, Dominican Republic, Micronesia, Malta, Palau and other similar countries ranked ahead of France by “Freedom in the World,” while Ghana, Benin, Nauru, Samoa and Albania were running ahead of Georgia.

Another favorite argument of the Georgians and Armenians is: “We have an alphabet.” And what have your written with that alphabet of yours except for translation of the Bible? What kind of a philosophical stream have you created, what kind of novel have you created to make a revolution in the world literature, with what kind of poem have you embellished global literature with? Have you maybe created non-Euclidean geometry? The Ethiopians, Laoses, Burmese also have their own alphabet.

For the Georgians, world bestsellers are probably “Ali and Nino” and “Twelve Secrets of the Caucasus.”

Not to speak about stealing gates instead of helping during an earthquake.

Babek Abbaszade 

Source – AzLogos