Feast in the time of plague
‘Will your conscience ever wake up? Why are you such a people? What has happened to you, haven’t you seen anything in your life? Have you really forgotten how to protest against something, can’t you say ‘no’ to some sort of a holiday? Haven’t you said about us that we sold ourselves out to the west; haven’t you attacked us, scolding us for allegedly not meddling into politics. No one has told you this time to go to a rally, to protest, defend your rights. You just could have celebrated the holiday at home with your family. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, would it?’
That’s how a well-known artist-cartoonist, Gunduz Aghayev, has addressed Bakuvians. Last weekend, one of his latest works spread throughout the network through hundreds of reposts and has stirred heated debate. In the picture – the ghosts of the oilfield workers, recently killed in fire on the ‘Guneshli’ oil platform, are watching the fireworks from the sea.
The municipal authorities arranged fireworks in Baku Boulevard, on December 31, despite the wet snow and biting wind.
A terrible picture hit the target – it caused both, a stormy support of some social network users, as well as robust condemnation of others. Some people regarded it as an attempt to awake people’s conscience, others – as populism and an attempt to use the feelings of those, who mourn, to one’s own advantage.
‘Dozens of people are drown in this sea each summer. So what, shall people stop swimming in it?’
‘This picture is nothing but overkill and showing off’
‘It’s a terrible picture, but it is absolutely right. There is no overkill in this message. On the contrary, too much ecstatic raptures over the New Year and boulevard salutes. Forgive me for the bluntness, but frankly speaking, I do not understand, what was there to be so much happy about. Just one thing: that family and friends are healthy and are beside you. I can’t even imagine, what the relatives of the victims and missing people feel these days. I don’t understand, what ‘solidarity’ people were talking about on December 31, when watching those fireworks.’
The thing is that not only the New Year, but also the International Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis is marked on December 31. That’s the most enviable solidarity that Bakuvians expressed by showing up at the boulevard in an awful weather, for the New Year show, at night on December 31. With the same solidarity this show has been referred to in the social networks as the ‘feast in the time of plague’ and ‘dancing on the bones.’
- Fire on the ‘Guneshli’ oil platform broke out on December 4.
- Initially, the official media claimed that all oilfield workers had been evacuated, then some contradictory data were published.
- President Ilham Aliyev declared December 6 a day of mourning.
- 33 people were rescued, 7 bodies were found.
- The bodies of 23 oilfield workers have not been found so far.
- Criminal proceedings into the case have been instituted and a relevant state commission has been set up.
- Gunduz Aghayev – an author of the popular series of cartoons on the most topical themes. For example: ‘Imagine’, ‘Holy selfie’, and many others.