Culture and History
[inspic=57,left,,180] Clean up of Tashkent on the eve of Navruz holiday from the prostitutes, homosexuals and drug-abusers and their places of dislocation shocked everyone who is interested in daily life of the capital: as information agencies informed that during â€œthe Moralityâ€? raid more than 200 bars, 115 saunas and 70 hotels were inspected. 466 administrative sanctions were taken, 141 criminal cases were commenced. Approximately 500 delinquents were taken under the preventive control of law machinery.
The problem of â€œthe most ancient professionâ€? â€“ prostitution is still the biggest effect of unemployment caused by absence of remunerative job conditions: on the average prostitute earns approximately 300 000 Uzbek sums per month that is more than living wage in Uzbekistan, which is close to 50 000 Uzbek sums.
I, personally, during my university years conducted research on the life of those who are selling their bodies for money. That time I got a bit of shock because of the facts I found: 35 % of the ladies of pleasure had bachelorâ€™s degrees, 28% had basic education certificates. To my horror, Iâ€™d found that people with high educational degree could do nothing but sell themselves because they had and still have no opportunity to earn money by other means.
The phenomenon of prostitution is not solved yet: if you go to the monument of Amir Temur, the hero of a new independent Uzbekistan, youâ€™ll find prostitutes home for a many years. As one of the prostitutes said: â€œItâ€™s our territory and such raids are for few days only, made to show the officials that we have no prostitution problem. The existence of prostitutes is profitable for the local militia. We pay them money for inviolability and they try not to interfere in our work. Weâ€™re informed that the operation would be held and that day we hadnâ€™t had going out for work.â€?
Drug abusers will get their dosage of drugs in spite of this raid, because it is also profitable for those who get money for â€œinvisibilityâ€? from junkers.
Regarding homosexuals they are still getting together at the same place as prostitutes are doing. They donâ€™t even afraid of the sodomy (pederasty) article 120 of the Criminal code of Uzbekistan. Maybe it is also profitable for some groups of power-holders?
The next national holiday is the Independence day. So, should the prostitutes, homosexuals and drug-abusers get preparations for that holidayâ€™s raids? Life will show. But life will also show that even we, independent people of Uzbekistan are almost 17 years, the social problems are still driving people to criminal activities: prostitution, drug-abusing and other sinsâ€¦
[inspic=56,left,,200] Preparations for Navruz, one of the most popular holidays in Uzbekistan, took a lot of time, nerves and people’s manual power. However, itâ€™s not a disturbing fact for high ranking people – Islam Karimov and his apparatus, diplomats and honored guests – who had an honor to celebrate Navruz at the Alisher Navoi square on March 21.
Navruz, just like other popular holidays in Uzbekistan, Navruz requires lots of “sacrifices”. Every year,Â thousands of students are forced to clean the streets and moldy territories during Navruz eve, to wave colored flags during concert, participate in theatrical shows. It takes them so much time that they have to skip their classes at their colleges and universities. This fact also doesn’t bothers political elite.
Back to the colorful event â€“ the concert, the whole action repeats every year: boring national dances, songs of praise to the President, panegyric from the President to the nation and â€œall those who makes our life beautifulâ€?. Impressive statistics, happy faces of the youth, rejoicing expectancies would make all of us be the happiest and not to take no account of time and enjoy our life in Uzbekistan under the rule of the wisest President.
All this stuff repeats every year, but one point is especially emphasized – the quality of living standards in Uzbekistan is increasing. Does Islam Karimov believe in his own words himself?
The main mouthpiece of Presidential propaganda, UzA agency, says that
â€œNavruz was revitalized by the head of state, President Islam Karimov, before Uzbekistan gained the independence. During the years of independence the contents of Navruz was enriched, new sides became apparent: humanism and charity feelings became stronger.â€?
Honestly, I didnâ€™t know that people of my country were less humane, less charitable, and I had no clear idea of my Presidentâ€™s activities while being Moscowâ€™s communist governor-general and his underground activities on the way to the independence. Something really new for me and should be written down by annalists and propose another toast for Islam Karimov.
President, in his speech, said:
â€œDuring Navruz our ancestors rushed to help orphans, lone elderly people, provide aid and charity to them. Nowadays, their descendants demonstrate standards of good and generosity.
During the years of independence these beautiful qualities came out of and are spread among our peopleâ€¦ One of the principles of â€œUzbek modelâ€? [of market economy], recognized all over the world, is providing strong social policy. In 2007 53,8 % of the sate budget was aimed at social sphere, in 2008 this indicator will achieve 54,6 %. Such figures are rare for other countries.â€?
My indignation and misunderstanding is raising! Does Mr.President compares these statistics to the African states or other Third World countries? Or I donâ€™t know something that others are able to see and feel?!
I donâ€™t want to continue rubbing salt into your wound and become another mouthpiece of Presidential propaganda. Thatâ€™s why I call you to analyze and to demonstrate skepticism when listening and reading Presidentâ€™s speeches. Maybe after that our people will take off rose-colored spectacles and think more realistic and will be taught to be the change they want to see Uzbekistanâ€¦
[inspic=104,left,fullscreen,thumb]Like all other Central Asian cultures, Kyrgyz culture is also known for such holiday like Nooruz. It means new year and it is one of the most spitired and important Kyrgyz holiday. It unites people at the central Square of capital Bishkek where people walk, eat, play, talk and enjoy their time. They can also view a special show with lots of dances, songs by famous artists and professional dancing groups. This is the time when a new life begins for most people who expect from New year lots of good things, successes and happiness. Nooruz is a very special day for Kyrgyz people. Well, Happy New Year and may it bring lots of prosperity and good luck!
One of the most beautiful places of Kyrgyzstan.
[inspic=100,left,fullscreen,thumb]Kyrgyz people are known for their strong cultural attachment for holding feasts, celebrations, weddings, anniversaries and so on. Usually hundreds of people are invited to this kind of celebrations and these massive gatherings have become a part of cultural tradition of Kyrgyz people.
An interesting study called “Cost of Traditions” has been conducted by the Institute of Economic Policy “Bishkek Consensus”. The study was conducted on costs of the people of Kyrgyzstan related to holding celebrations, feasts, anniversaries, organization of funerals and funeral feasts, informs AKIpress.
According to this study, the costs of the above mentioned traditions exceed one third of the country’s GDP or its public external debt. This amount exceeded gross domestic investments almost twice.
This way, costs for traditional rituals have become the main factor of economic growth through excessive growth of consumption. On another hand, a low level of the population’s savings and insufficient amount of gross domestic investments have become another consequence of this phenomenon. These resulting effects disrupt the potential of Kyrgyzstan’s sustainable economic growth in future.
The Economic Policy Institute-Bishkek Consensus (EPI), Kyrgyzstan, was created in December of 2003 as a non-profit, non-partisan, independent institute with developed partnerships and cooperative relationships with government, business, international community, civil society, and the news media. EPI’s mission is to promote economic, social, and governance reforms in Kyrgyzstan, involving institutions of civil society to elaborate and execute the reforms, developing local potential and using best international experience. Its strategic position is to be an independent and highly objective source of information and research on public-policy issues, as well as an unbiased forum for collaboration of diverse interest groups in the reform of public policy.
Picture is taken from flickr.com
Some of you know the five-star hotel Hyatt Regency Hotel located on the main central street of Bishkek. During Soviet times, it used to be hotel “Kyrgyzstan”, one of the biggest and best hotels of that time. The first bar of Kyrgyzstan was opened at “Kyrgyzstan”.
Photo is taken from diesel.elcat.kg
Galina Kulikova, the Vice Chief of the parliamentary committee for education, science, culture and information policy intends to initiate the draft law according to which alcohol and tobacco advertising on television, radio and billboards will be banned, informs AKIpress.
She believes that it is crucial to ban alcohol and tobacco advertising. Teachers and parents are also worried about the consequences of such advertising:
Whenever one turns on television, alcohol and tobacco are advertised there.
Kulikova notes that those wishing to buy vodka and cigarettes will do it without any advertisement. She hopes that other memebers of the Parliament will support her idea during the session of Parliament. She shares her thoughts:
Of course, there will be people who are very interested in tobacco and alcohol advertising, but there will be people who will be against this, since the bulk of MPs, especially women – mothers and wives – will support this initiative.
Well, assuming that some deputies have business connected with selling alcohol and tobacco, it is hard to imagine that the idea will actually be supported. Back in 2005, the administration bill “About advertising” to restrict the advertising of alcoholic and tobacco production on TV and radio from 9:00 AM to 21:00 PM was introduced. The Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Felix Kulov signed the appropriate governmental decree on October 1. I cannot say that it came into full force.
KZBlog writes about Gulzhan Ibrayeva, who used to be in a weirdly-named and poorly known band “Kinky Durakee” singing covers in Kazakhstan.
“Now that Gulzhan has moved to Scotland with her husband (and co-musician) Paul Finnie, the band has changed its name to Universal You and is hitting the top hot spots in Edinburgh”, the famous blogger writes, citing the Edinburgh News reporting about the Kazakh expatriate.
The Paul-and-Gulzhan band started two years ago when Finnie came to Kazakhstan as a contract administrator for British Gas and Ibrayeva was working as a translator. They got married and started “Kinky Durakee”. Now they hope to become Edinburgh’s next local sensation, they also have a website of Universal You and Kinky Durakee. Here is one of their videos on MySpaceTV (click).