When foreign and domestic policy fails to feed the people...

Even if I remember my childhood as a time preoccupied with angst and annoyance, there is one thing that stand out in my mind that has remained a relatively positive memory: the life and times of those who lived in the countryside. 

People lived off the land, and got all they needed from it. One yard was enough to feed a small family for a year. And those who had extra produce to sell at the markets were able to provide for other household needs as well. 

A villager was able to get everything from the earth. During the summer they could pack away all that they would need for the winter, ferment it, and save it for the upcoming winter; jam, juice, dried fruits, you name it. Some even built small storage facilities on their property to save their goods for winter, and would fill them with oil, wheat, yoghurt, cheese and eggs. 

Want meat? Lamb, chicken or veal? It’s in the yard. Want fruit? There it hangs from the tree. Fermented treats? In the shed. 

The only problem was that this abundance, this fullness was provided for by hard labor and work. These people were truly worthy of admiration. 

In winter, the women of the house would not stand idly by, and would work in the garden even when there was no need - they’d spin wool, dye strings and threads, weave carpets and socks and clothes and sell them for a profit. 

And there was no concern in the government about what party they belonged to. Regardless of their affiliation, they lived well. 

Let us not take their hard work and labor in the fields and attribute it to the idea that maybe, they didn’t find the time to educate themselves or cultivate their minds. Let us not attribute it to some idea that they were simply showing a form of political - sociological passiveness. 

With time, and as oil money began to flow, people grew apart from hard work and labor - as their free time increased, people started to imitate the characters they saw on Brazilian, Argentinian and Turkish soap operas, and lost their taste for politics. They barely had left a taste for travel, and for vacations. 

Let’s take our family, for example. My mother, as a young 28 year old, was a classic Azerbaijan woman capable of spinning wool, churning butter, milking cows, fermenting cheese, weaving carpets, making jam and knitting blankets. When the Brazilian TV soaps hit the airwaves, she said that her shows always came on when she was busy milking the cattle or selling something at the market: “I don’t have time to watch them!” And later, when the Argentinian and Venezuelan soaps came around, she was busy weaving carpets. And finally when the Turkish shows took over, she was busy with something else, and had already bought herself a touch - screen phone. But soon, she found the time for these shows. 

As you can see, the cultural and recreational life of villagers has little to do with books, newspapers, nonetheless politics. But when people realized that they could get their products from Turkey for just a few extra coins, they wondered - why should we break our backs tilling the soil, and planting? 

But now that oil prices have fallen, the dollar has risen, the manat has all but become extinct and the spread of unemployment has become epidemic - not to mention the fact that you can’t get tomatoes for a few cents anymore from Turkey - and in a time that the domestic and foreign policy of the government has all but completely lost balance, the only solution is for the people to return to the land, to nature, and to till the soil. 

It’s not as if the Azerbaijani villager is all that interested in who and for how long has been in the government, anyway. 

Even if the government were to change - even if it weren’t to change - people will always want to eat. It has been 10 - 15 years that people don’t have work. And it would appear that the domestic and foreign policy of the government will not provide subsistence for the people in any way. 

But, from today, if the Azerbaijani villager were to clean up his rusty pitchfork, put on his work belt and dust off the grime, one might start to see a small but significant change in the country......

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