Take a look at this video. What do you think, what year it was shooted? In 1975? In 1991? No, in 2011! This TV show on Uzbek TV channel «Forum», and it is our harsh reality.
In the Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is part of the Republic of Uzbekistan since the collapse of the USSR, authorities are once again forcing child labor on the cotton fields. In this region of one of the worst ecological disaster in the world and bad economical crisis, child labor aggravates the state of the Karakalpaks.
Headed by Elena Urlaeva, the activists of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan reported that from September to December in the areas of Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan there is continued use of child labor on the cotton fields. For example, in late October, activists saw elementary school students working on the fields of villages in Kashkadarya, and underage students working on the fields of many regions of Uzbekistan and Karakalpakstan. Many children are severely ill and exhausted by the long hours of hard labor; they are not provided with health care, adequate food, and accommodation. Children work in conditions of fear and oppression, which is reflected in their psyche. This Fall, fortunately, the use of children to gather the harvest cotton has lessened from previous years.
NewEurasia’s special blogg Alex Ulko reports on the hard life of Uzbek labour migrants in Russia. “What I could not remember was whether Dante required those stuck in limbo to abandon hope or not,” he writes.
Right now only 4 days remains until the end of campaign, and business is not doing good!
They really need your help, please, support the new step of Uzbek culture, visit their campaign at IndieGogo find more information, and make your contribution!
Videos from Tears of the Sun you can find in campaign Gallery
On October 5, 2012, the U.S. Embassy Tashkent observed the 11th Daniel Pearl World Music Days featuring Nasiba Abdullaeva, famous Uzbek singer, and Ofarin dance theatre.
This was the third time the U.S. mission to Uzbekistan hosted the annual event with a goal to spread the universal power of music in building tolerance and peace.
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist, Chief of the South Asia Bureau of the Wall Street Journal, and kidnapped and severely killed in February 2002 while reporting in Pakistan on alleged links between “shoe bomber” Richard Reid and al Qaeda.
Daniel was a talented musician who joined musical groups in every community he visited. He firmly believed in the power of music, as a force to unite people and spread messages of hope, against the culture of violence. Read the full story »
Editor’s Note: In the last few weeks, the Uzbek Facebook community has been roaring in laughter as a mysterious caricaturist unleashed his satirical vision of Uzbekistani society upon the social network. NewEurasia’s Eisenstein tells the amazing story and shares some of the hilarious art.
The Uzbek segment of Facebook is not the funniest place on earth. The state seeks to control all online social networks, so may users are afraid to use these platforms to speak their minds. But from time to time, there’s an explosion of satire.
The last two weeks, there’s been a craze among active Uzbek Facebook users about the “Uzbekistan Illustrated” page. It was launched on 17 October by an unknown artist, and in such a short time, it has gained enormous popularity. His page now has 2744 “likes”, and it seems that only the lazy aren’t participating in discussions on the page.
What is the basic idea of “Uzbekistan Illustrated”? Well, it’s actually really simple: make a new caricature everyday! Here are some of the choicest bits so far.
My solo exhibit, “Abstract Thinking”, appeared in the Art Gallery of Uzbekistan during UZ Art Week.
This collection of 17 abstract paintings was inspired by a story of events or images that have influenced my view and perception of life. I hope that my abstract way of expressing my inspirations will allow you to relate to my art and enhance your own ideas and experiences in life.
The style of the paintings is evocative of the Impressionists of the 19th century. The Senior Curator of the Art Gallery of Uzbekistan, Gayane Umerova, curated the collection. The British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr George Edgar, the Chairwoman of the Fund Forum and the President of Uzbekistan’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, were among the distinguished visitors to the exhibition.
I was born in Kazakhstan, but I’m pleased to be making a regional impact. I was recently selected by the Minister of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic to exhibit my paintings at the Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Kazakhstan in the Kasteev State Museum of Arts.
Normally, I’m based in London. I love travelling the world, but London inspires me like no other city. Still, I love my home country, too. These are two very different cultures, Europe and Central Asia, and they contribute so much to my development as an artist and as a person.
Editor’s Note: Счастливого Хэллоуина! Well, maybe not if you’re in Tashkent. Ever since last year, the authorities have banned the holiday. But that hasn’t stopped the party, reports NewEurasia’s Eisenstein. In fact, it seems like some downright cultural resistance is going on as schools and night clubs prepare to persist with Halloween festivities in secret.
This is now the second year in which Uzbekistan’s authorities have unofficially banned Halloween. There are no more witches, pumpkins, candles and the like. Why? Because they will all go to Hell for not being relevant to and conforming with Uzbek culture.
In Uzbekistan, everyone is holding their breath. We’re watching the television program “The Voice” on Russian TV Channel One. The appearance of Sevara Nazarkhan, singing Lara Fabian’s “Je T’ame”, caused a furore on the jury panel, who were shocked. Pelagea, a hugely famous Russian folk singer, cried when Sevara refused to join her team. Finally, a little respect for the Uzbeks. ;-)
Editor’s note: While Uzbekistan’s everyday citizens toil in the cotton fields, Gulnara Karimova has been hosting a festival of government-sponsored films to celebrate her country’s “talent”. NewEurasia’s Khayyam goes looking for Uzbekistan’s real talent, and finds them in a rival film festival in Bishkek.
We had a really, ahem, glorious film festival in Uzbekistan the last week: called “Golden Guepard”, it was organized by Gulnara Karimova as part of her Art Week, which is held annually in the country.
The pathos of the festival — to say nothing of Art Week itself– was completely out of place: it’s cotton harvesting time. So, while foreign visitors and Uzbekistan’s Zil-driving elite were enjoying films and fashion, regular citizens were slaving away on the cotton fields. Of course, there wasn’t a single film about this issue in the festival; only government-sponsored films were shown, and these tend to be standard, clean and harmless, made by directors who are often far removed from the people.
Contrast this situation with the nearly simultaneous “Reformat” festival in Bishkek. Uzbekistan had two really good representatives there, talented hard-edged directors who prefer to shoot only sharp independent films about real issues — neither of whom, by the way, were invited to participate in Googoosha’s spectacle. One of them even won the Grand Prix for Best Film!
That Grand Prix went to the documentary “The Angel … and two of her husband’s” Oleg Karpov and Umida Akhmedova, a notorious Uzbek director. In 2010, she was convicted in “Libel and insult of the Uzbek people” for her film, “The Burden of Virginity” (which you, dear reader, can watch on Vimeo here and here). In Karpov’swords,
“In this new movie, there is no politics. The film — about love and paradoxes of home life — focuses upon a woman who lives with her two husbands in the same apartment. The entire film is built on contrasts. All things in this film are very absurd. For example, one of the men of this woman is a Muslim who sings in the choir of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
He added, concerning “Reformat”,
The festival ‘Reformat’, as well as our own festival CAFIF, consist of films that are outside of the [regular] cinematic process: video art, documentaries, games, student films. The ideology is similar in both festivals, but in Kyrgyzstan there were cash prizes [i.e., real appreciation for our work]. It’s funny. [W]e won USD 700 with the Grand Prix; this is our the most successful film.
We [i.e., Central Asians] need more such festivals [...]. Previously, nothing similiar was happening in Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. It’s a fresh move, and I hope that they will turn into something systematic, permanent.
Uzbekistan is a very rich country, and not just in terms of its natural resources. Its people can be supremely talented, but they too often get tossed aside for the glory of Googoosha.
My impression — and not just mine, considering the awards given — is that Uzbek filmmakers represented in ‘Reformat’ looked very presentable. There seven Uzbek films shown [in total]. The film ‘Generation of Port Wine’ by Alexander Barkovsky, who received the third prize of the festival, was perceived as very personal, despite the fact that this movie is about Tashkent youth. [His] characters were familiar with the audience, they were recognizable. The film has a very serious energy.
Barkovsky is one of the most extraordinary video artists in Uzbekistan. His film, “The Generation of Port Wine”, is a documentary sketch of the life about street punks in Tashkent in 1998, full of existential nightmare. In his own words:
“The film was shot in 1998, when there was a a popular party-point called ‘Hitchhiking’ among punks in Tashkent, in the area of the last bus stop ‘Square’, which is now demolished [Ed.: For more information, check out NewEurasia's post on Tashkent's sudden physical transformation]. My friend from Moscow brought a video camera, and all summer I was with this camera, shooting different things. One day, I was in a cafe on the ‘Hitchhiking’ place where punks gathered. The footage laid in my house for ten years, [until] 2008, when I digitized it and spent two years editing it.
“It’s a human story of the generation of the Nineties, of which I was a member. At that time, the mass culture had not yet mixed all the people up in one heap. People were clearly divided into groups for ideological and aesthetic reasons.”
As for his motivations to film, Barkovsky remarked,
“I care about movies and life in general as a director, not for the sake of festivals. There are thousands of festivals in the world. I don’t care about ‘Golden Guepard’. [However,] I would like to participate, but for [obvious] reasons, none of my movies will work there. [T]hey did not even call me. [By contrast,] representatives from other festivals call sometimes.