Stolen future…

They each have their own patch…

– Zaur, what is this book?

– ”Sociology”. It means science about society.

– Too bad. I thought it was about nipples (“soska” – Russian for “nipple”). I was going to suggest we read it.

I think this short dialogue is sufficient to demonstrate that being in jail is also a kind of mental incarceration. You can’t even read a lot to get away from your surroundings. The other day I was about to get up and go to the bookshelf when a 19-year-old kid put his hand on my shoulder and said, turning to one of his peers: “Dude, the doors that you have to open with money, I can open with only a greeting ”.

They said the last part together. See if you can read a book after this. The level of illiteracy in our country is much higher than you might think. The statistics presented by the State Student Admission Committee are more encouraging than the reality. There’s this thing called “in-between kids”. They are the delinquents involved in the kind of activities that are described in the Code of Disciplinary Offences. Some start as early as age 8.

They each have their own patch, where they steal, rob and intimidate on a daily basis. The general term for these activities among young thugs is “working”. One does not ‘work’ on another’s patch. There is a particular reason for that. The police know these kids, and they regularly catch them and take their money. If there is a report of a robbery in a certain area the police arrest those who “work” on that patch, without any consideration for who was actually responsible. That’s why the “in-between kids” consider it wrong to “work” on someone else’s patch.

Some of these kids are orphans. They were either raised in an orphanage or simply abandoned by their parents or relatives. Others were raised by their families, but dropped out of school to start “working”. In these cases, most of the time one of the parents is either dead or in jail. The point is, their common characteristic is a lack of “family education”.

Another common characteristic is a lack of state-provided education. The disgraceful situation in schools leads dropouts to become these “in-between kids”. And they develop these behaviors in response to the current situation in Azerbaijan. These kids are just adapting to their environment (I intend to write an article about Social Darwinism in Azerbaijan, so I will only touch on this issue here briefly). One “in-between kid” once told me: “Dude, I make 100-200 every day just by stealing. What will happen if I get a regular job? 300-400 AZN a month, tops. That’s not enough, man.”

Yes, I told him that he was wrong. I told him that he needed to make money in an honest way, even if it was less profitable. But I have to admit that there was some truth to what he said. It is self-evident that the most profitable and advantageous way to live in a country run by thugs and thieves is to be a thug and a thief yourself. That logic is obvious to anyone, even without an education. It is not hard to learn to be a thug or a thief when you have been subjected to a 1000-year-old slave mentality telling you to unquestioningly obey and imitate the leader. What is stealing oil compared to this theft of minds?!

The Azerbaijani youth have been robbed of their futures, their prospects for personal development, and any chance of salvation. Sometimes it was taken from them by force, just as thugs would do. You can count the financial damage done by oil and gas theft. Sometimes you can even recover from it. But you can never count or recover the losses of the “in-between kids”.

Zaur Qurbanly.



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