2016 was the “Year of Multiculturalism” in Azerbaijan. 2015 was the “Year of Agriculture”. Before that, we had the “Year of Sport”.
What will the “Year of Islamic Solidarity” bring Azerbaijan?
Political analyst Hikmet Hajizade says he has no objections to 2017 being the Year of Islamic Solidarity, however:
“We have never seen the tangible manifestation of the spirit of these ‘Years’ in reality. Neither multiculturalism, nor agricultural development…now we have Islamic Solidarity. What does Islamic Solidarity mean? Let them explain to us what that means, and how it will be carried out in reality; what will it mean for the public? It might be a good step in spirit, but the realization of such a year is problematic”.
Hikmet Hajizade wonders if the implementation of such a year might be aimed at aiding Azerbaijan in its attempts to receive financial aid from other Muslim countries.
“Of course, the situation in this current crisis is rather bad. . . maybe they think they can get out of this situation with such slogans”.
REAL deputy head Azer Qasimli sees a return to a Soviet mentality in these slogans:
“It’s not as if the State has invented or discovered anything here. In fact, it’s just gone back in the past. The propaganda presented to the people in the 60s and 70s of the last century during cotton-picking season is simply being presented in a different format in the 21st century.
Back in 2003 when Ilham Aliyev put forward his candidacy for the presidency, his knowledge of English was put on display and people thought he was going to make real reforms. The majority of the people believed in him.
Unfortunately, in his 13-year reign, there is nothing different from the Soviet period. His world-view has remained in the 60s-80s. It’s obvious that knowing foreign languages is not evidence of a person’s different and new world views”.
Qasimli expects little good to come from the Year of Islamic Solidarity.
“Maybe there would be some benefit if this were also to be a time of serious reforms, if the country were to move along a path of modernization. However, Azerbaijan has never seen modernization. Even if one speaks of the past decade as one of development, I don’t see evidence of this. Because all of these measures have simply been aimed at dealing with remnants of the Soviet past – and not to move forward into the globalized world. Moreover, these so-called “Years of..” have cost us a lot of money. For example: how many conferences were organized in honor of ‘the Year of Multiculturalism?’ And what about the Eurovision Song Competition? Or the European Games?
All of them entailed enormous expenses. And right now, to emerge from this crisis, we need all the money we can get. Actually, the government understands that this ‘Year of Islamic Solidarity’ is useless and meaningless, because they know it will have an effect neither on the population nor on the economy. But, in order to retain their power, they had to do something like this…”