Tuesday, 3 April 2012

What Azeris secretly aspire to be.

Someone just re-posted a photo of a pregnant woman with one breast on Facebook. They wrote "this beautiful woman survived a breast cancer and now is having a baby! God is good!" This logic always amuses me greatly. What about thousands of other people who die young from thousands of awful things happening to them-including various forms of cancer- is God good then, too? How does this God's goodness work, I am just curious? 
Ah, never mind.

There are lots of fascinating discoveries for someone like me to be made while living in Qatar, and I will in time, share some of them with you. But one of the first things that i realised as i walked around Doha is that...

Azeri government would love to turn Baku into Doha. Or perhaps, Dubai.

Now that i realised that, everything makes perfect sense- the style of the new architecture, the love for Land Cruisers, or the endless pulling out of the trees- to make Baku look like a desert. Except, of course, that these guys would love to have more trees here, in the real desert. They are spending a vast amount of money planting green stuff all around Doha, watering it, giving it loving care, looking after every flower.

So i understand now. You want Baku to be like Dubai. But, i doubt it is going to work. First of all, however rich you might get, you are not going to catch up with one of the richest countries in the world. There is simply no comparison here, my friends. It is like me trying to compete with the Azeri first lady. But most importantly, having funds to make the city look the way you wish isn't enough. You need this one more thing...something else...you know?...what was that word again? Oh, yes. Taste.

You see, let me give you a simple example. The photo above is of one of the most beautiful buildings in Doha- the Museum of Islamic Art. It was designed by I.M.Pei. They say Pei spent six months studying Islamic culture to create this stunning piece of architecture.

So what? I heard you say. These guys are loaded, it is easy to get one of the best men in the world to design a building! They can afford to do so! Ah, yes. Of course. That part is easy! But, what i am impressed with is not the fact that whoever ordered this building chose I.M.Pei to design it. It is the fact that he saw that this was a beautiful building when shown the sketches. And did not say Meh...What's this? You call this pretty?! Could you, at least, throw in some golden handles?

That's what i think is pretty interesting. Not only do these guys have money to build great new buildings and hire the best architects in the world;  they can also see what is cool. Not always, but quite often. And that is impressive because, culturally, Arabs, of course, love blingey things- just like we, Azeris do. Gold, sparkles...the whole lot. And yet, you find stunning buildings like The Museum of Islamic Art.

So, yes. I now totally understand what direction Azeris would like to be heading, and what they are trying to turn Baku into. Whether they will have enough taste to build something elegant, original or stylish is yet to be seen.


  1. though I don't like to categorize "nation"s as fascists do but still it can be said that we are not much different from arabs in every aspects

  2. In Peru too, as soon as elected officials have some money to spare, they prefer to build awful monuments to the family or the whales instead of building health care facilities or a retaining wall to avoid yearly inundations.

  3. God is good only to one breasted people.

  4. Scary, thank you so much for this article, through which I learned about a wonderful artist Sabiha al Khemir and Museum itself!

    Concerning your comment about God being good, don't you think there is nothing wrong in strong belief, no matter who or what it is, whether you believe in yourself, Allah, Jesus, Socialistic ideas, etc... as long as it is liberal and doesn't harm anyone? I would value the picture on face book harmless, instead could be very helpful to a woman suffering from the same desease to gain hope for survival... Who knows

  5. Some years ago you missed an opportunity to visit another astonishing country in the middle of desert. You can't call it THE RICHEST, but the invention of that amazing technology you are talking about of supporting and watering every flower is definitely on the long list of other outstanding inventions were made there . Country with endless high-tech possibilities and inventions, diverse culture and breathtaking contemporary architecture. It is especially startling knowing what this country is going through day after day.
    Yes, my dear it is all question of priorities.

  6. This article might be interesting for those who admires the technological advancement Dubai is enjoying. Unfortunately the technology the richest country in the world is using is called "slave labor".