Corrupt No More

A good things about living in small communities is that rumors usually turn out to be true. I do not mean the gossiping-about-people-and-their-sex-lives kind of rumors, but the ones about important news. Right after Tunisia held the revolution and in the middle of the Egyptian one, the air in Baku started to change. A wave few around Baku, whispering that taking bribes is now forbidden - there is no corruption anymore. And, well, after living your whole life in a country, where you know you'll have to bribe whatever you do and wherever you go - it sounds kind of shocking at first. And since you also know "where the news come from" you don't believe the media sources either.

And that's when you go to the people and ask them if it's true. It turns out it is. A friend of a neighbor was supposed to pay 100 000 EUR annual bribe for his four supermarkets. When he came to the tax guys, they silently sent him to the cashiers, where he paid his official 10 000 EUR and went back home absolutely happy.

Another guy brings cars for sell from Europe to Azerbaijan. He usually pays around 80 000 EUR for several cars on the customs. This time, however, he was also sent to the cashiers and paid 5 000 EUR. He went back to "his guys" and offered to give them the rest, but the horrified used-to-be-bullies sent him home and told not to come back with these kind of offers. The guy celebrated all night and all day.

Then you read about dozens fired in ministries, reforms to be implemented in the most corrupt structures and special services created to address people's problems and complaints. And for the first time in your life you feel the scent of Change.

But the saddest part is, the first thing to come to your mind is: "I wonder how long it will last". Because, let's be honest, why does it take two revolutions thousand miles away to fix the biggest problem, that harmed and drove away two generations of your people and made the country #134 in the world corruption index?

However, since as any desperate activist I'm not only a cynical critic, but also a believer, I'll lean back in my chair and wait. I'll wait for the 19-year-old to be released from the prison; I'll wait for my friends to be taken off the hook of a conditional release for the crime they did not commit; I'll wait for the irrational projects and economical solutions to be abolished or fixed; I'll wait for the day when I will not need rumors to believe the news.

Amen to that.