I want to tell that I have discovered (again) my name on a list of personae non gratae – unwanted persons for entry in the state territory – in Azerbaijan:
My „crime“ consisted in 2013 in being embedded, as Chief Editor of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ), into a delegation of presidential election observers in Nagorno Karabakh, composed by EuFoA (European Friends of Armenia), a Brussels-based office which works for closer contacts between the peoples of the EU and Armenia. I am not a member of EuFoA, but always open for talks, contacts and other journalistic démarches towards everybody. I had also published in EUFAJ several articles by Azerbaijani authors, which were directly working for the government there or glorified the present government – I never had a problem with this, as my whole work is in favour of press freedom and free expression of opinions, also within a paper which is e.g. led by myself.
However, for being kept on this list which is often called a „list of shame“ for the Baku government, I am very grateful. It will give me the possibility, if asked (or not), to mention the persecution of journalists, bloggers, critical civil society representatives, to mention the fact that Azerbaijan is at present probably the European champion in corruption and in manipulative diplomacy („caviar diplomacy“). After all, it is a honour for me to be included on this list – I am in very nice company, with e.g. the former EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, with many distinguished scientists and members of different parliaments – and with Montserrat Caballé, the Spanish singer.
Rests only to state that the Azerbaijani personnel files need an urgent update. What I have been attributed, to be a „German Member of European Parliament“, was finished in my first youth on 31th July, 1989. It is recommended therefore to every person likely to come „on the list“ to travel with topical bio notes, to help the helpless Azerbaijani authorities.
If one knows that e.g. the former Council of Europe rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Mr. Strässer M.P./Germany, has been barred to enter the country because he was a rapporteur (now he is charged with Human Rights for the German Federal Government), I cannot feel bad but feel a great honour to be included on this list. Unfortunately, I cannot travel now to Azerbaijan any more, but this won’t prevent me to publish remarks at every possibility and where it is appropriate on the Human Rights‘ situation in the country, and about the „specificities“ of the reign of Mr. Ilham Aliev (whom I cannot address as „Mr. President“ as he had faked all the election results in the past).If this is too „subjective“ for the Azerbaijani authorities, they always can invite me, but please do not forget then to change the list before.
All the best for a happy 2015,
Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, LIBERTAS – Europaeisches Institut GmbH
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ)
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