Saturday, May 19, 2007

Join In!

A lovely discussion is going on between me and a reader of one of my postings. It derived from my remarks about the falling image of our nation.

Since the posting is going further down and not being noticed by many, I decided to bring it up here to continue and attract more participants to speak out on the issue.

The entire discussion could be found under this link.

My latest response was as follows:

"Hi Anon 2,

Actually I am not enjoying 24/7 Internet access either. At least not at the moment. I just like polemical discussions of this kind and so far I can see a good speaker and listener in you. Hence I prefer to get back as soon as possible. But your latest posting reached me a bit later, since my weblog had been forgotten by me for that inhospitable attitude towards its owner the other day.

I stick to my opinion that the atmosphere and especially the traditional one must be altered profoundly for our children. We have to change our approach to our children. Every child is not considered a mere child by him/herself. They tend to acquire a distinguishable personality from the very dawn of their lives. In our society that innocent strife is still being oppressed and suffocated.

We (the society) like them to gaze vaguely like a sheep, with no hassle created by their activities, no questions to be asked. “Just-shut-up-and-sit-down” approach is not going to “bring more fruits for their children.” It will bring up dull stupid robotic type of people who would not care a damn about anything beyond their houses. That results in “Nasha Rossiya” style descriptions of Tajiks abroad. To be precise, you and I have different understandings of the topic. You want our children to be more inward-looking as they are today, but I want us to be more outward-looking, more involved in societal affairs, more concerned of the stance and image of our nation in the world, more aware of the very image in reality, more helpful to create a better image via facilitating our own lives in the country.

All of this depends on our awareness self-esteem. I don’t want my children to sit just by my side until I take in my last breath. They belong not only to me; first and foremost, they belong to my nation. Hence, they must take care of their Motherland as well as they take care of their mother and father. Our traditionalist lifestyle does not encourage it. It’s too narrow and simplistic. It does not tolerate questioning; otherwise one could be named “shakkok” or outcast. It’s too defensive for it is too feeble and uncertain. It’s afraid of other life-styles, just because it’s aware of its unattractive weak nature.

And you have complemented my allegation by putting forward more examples. The way Manija was treated, they way children are manipulated, and that people are more financially motivated with no proper knowledge how to achieve that fortune… indicates the necessity of a deep and far-stretching change in our culture. I am not suggesting that our traditions as a whole are an obstacle to our progress. However, I do insist that some parts of them are lethal and suicidal and must be put aside and forgotten for good.

And we have to stop bragging. We to boast about have created nothing lately. Modesty makes sense in this respect. “Hidden talents”, if they truly exist, must unhide and come out, since coming out needs some extent of talent as well. Even after that we have to restrain from reacting arrogantly and bluffing. Let others see and tell what they think of us: “Mushk on ast, ki xud bibuyad, Ne on ki attorash biguyad.”

Thus, we have almost nothing left of our past glory. But a healthy reaction to this bad news must be encouraging and creative. First, we have to acquaint ourselves with realities, before undertaking any adventure. Then good news might follow.

All the best,


Muhammad Rafeeq said...

Thank you for your brilliant words, my friend. I am 100% for! I am educating my kids the way you are advocating,and I hope they will be good Tajiks ready to die for their nation and Motherland. However, it is a very long road. Second, "bo 1-2 gul bahor nameshavad". Third, we have no time to go step by step. Our nation now is at the very crucial point of exsisting. We are on the climax, and no one knows will we prevail to the good side or the bad one. This is the time to kill slave viruses in our blood. Unfortunately, the daily life of hundreds of thousands in Russia is turning them into full slave viruses. Of course they earning money for their kids, but they are dead and hollow. Their kids do not receiveing normal education in a full-family, their wives...And tell me please, who is responsible for that? If you know their names, so they are our enemy, they are enemies of the nation. Believe me, they do not allow your kids to be free and good citizens of Tajikistan, no matter how you will educate them. So the circle is closed. We need to find some way to break down these chains!

Panjsher Valley said...

I'm a Tajik from Afghanistan and I wish all the best for my Tajik brothers and sisters over the other side of Amu Darya.

I visit this blog regularly to be in touch with developments in Fararoood. I'd like to thank Dariush Rajabiyan for his cultural activities. He is a credit to our noble Tajik nation.

I also follow his works at Radio Zamaana and BBC Persian Online site.

All the best.....

Darius said...

That's why I'm still optimistic and I know that something will happen and change our lives dramatically. For there are people like Muhammad Rafeeq, Panjsher Valley and Anon 2 who dedicate their time to understanding the problems of the nation. Action follows understanding. I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Hi D,

I thought that the “Flying Thoughts.. ” will take us high to discuss the Tajik passengers’ and Russian stewardess’s behaviors only, but it took us to the wider space, where not only me and you can talk but everybody else can contriute to our discussion and I hope that by filling the “Airoflot” with more passengers we will have Soft Landing pretty soon.

"You and I have quite different understanding of the topic" you said. Certainly. Actually this is a debate where everyone will stick to theirs own opinions and will have their own say and it may never have an end.

You want our children to be more involved in societal affairs, more involved of the image of our nation in the world.

i understand what do you mean but don’t forget that the consequences of the civil war still go through the blood of our nation. Unfortunately, I did not found any study or any book so far, where a scholar addresses the consequences of civil war on Tajik children. If you know any please let me know, I would love to read it. As we all know Tajikistan’s civil war ended 1997 officially, where more than 100,000 people were killed and more than 100,000 of the land’s best-educated citizens fled to neighboring countries and perhaps more than 200,000 Children orphaned to that civil war. And after the end of the civil war I did not see up to date any school or institutions who cared or cares about traumatized children or dedicated or dedicates a study to these people.

We may think that it is so late to address this issue, but the affects of war-affected child’s trauma can persist of many years after the war. Trauma causes nightmares and produces neurological changes. Did you read a book written by Professor Michael Wessells “Child Soldiers”- from violence to protection? It is all there or Gulrukhsor’s Zan va Jang (Woman and War)-I guess you read it too. To be honest the way she described how women and children were treated during the civil war one can not believe it but unfortunately the book is based on true stories! How would those people affected by war will bring up their child in a better way after such unspeakable actions and make them more involved of the image of our nation in the world?

Today most of them are no more children; they are parents who are bringing up their own children and fortunately, many parents left the bad thoughts of the civil war in the past and trying to bring up their children to love their motherland but practically not every parent is ready to do so with the today’s circumstances. It is hard but it is possible and it is possible through Education. I don’t know what about you but as far as I am concerned, many of our failures despite of having brilliant individuals occurring because of our poor education system. I think we should start thinking about quality and reasonable EDUCATION by rectifying our curriculums from elementary schools up to higher institutions where it is necessary, by erasing corruption from the minds of “educators”.

Many of our failures are the result of our “99% of literate population” for what we Tajiks were so proud in the past during the soviet time. Why with such a great percentage of literacy we are considered the poorest nation in the world! Where our brains, when everybody can read ABC! Certainly, the soviet time education had its advantages and disadvantages. And I don’t think that we need to know how we should sort out Kalashnikov, which we as girls and boys were taught in school during our NVP( Nachalnay Voennaya Podgotovka) lessons. To kill our Afghan brothers in the other side of the border? We were dependant and simultaneously misused by our Russian brothers in early 80s and we should avoid such great sins in the future. We should include Peace Education and other humanitarian subjects in our curriculums, which does not exist. Can you imagine the subject like Human Rights is only drafted for the 10th grade this year in our schools!

On the other hand because during the soviet times we were given a choice to be teachers, drivers, doctors, mechanics or pilots in schools as if there are no more professions in the world that we could choose and advance. And today with the occupation of English teacher for the secondary school I am trying to explain my students to be more cautious when it comes to the future profession. I aware them that knowing a language is not a profession it is an additional ability that each of us must have in this changing world. We should choose the professions that our community and antion will benefit from in the future.

Let’ s look at the basic necessities of our life/society as Water. In today’s Tajikistan with its rich resources of water- safe drinking Water is still a problem, agricultural outcomes can hardly Feed the population due to the lack of water accessibility and Energy provision throughout the country still remains a priority for us due to the incorrect use of water. Knowing this all we have just a dozens of people who study the Disaster or Water Management subjects. We don’t have specialists in these areas? We have but they are outside the country and today educating youth in these areas becomes hard. There only some donors, who contribute in the area of Education in Tajikistan: USAID, Open Society Institute, Aga Khan Foundation and British Embassy in these are for those who speaks English but what about the majority who doesn’t speak the language. Hopefully in a very near future the University of Central Asia in Tajikistan will offer and conduct such essential subjects, where our children can learn how wisely to benefit from our natural resources and involve themselves in the societal affairs.

When our children do not go to school today in order to make ends meet, they will lose the chance to re-enter school tomorrow. They become unskilled labor for the rest of their lives. This is what happened to us since 1992 up to date and now we are heading poor life. When such condition is spread to more people our state is recognized as a poor state. And today the people that you call; dull stupid robotic type of people who would not care a damn about anything beyond their houses’ are those children who were dropped out of schools during the hard times for Tajikistan but we must confess those “dull people”’s large volume of private remittances keeps the economic status of Tajikistan a bit better, otherwise the spread of poverty will be a big threat for all of us in the near future.

After going through your and Rafeeg’s words, I should tell that I am not yet ready to state I am 100% for your advocacy. How can I educate my children the way you advocate yours to be good Tajiks and to die for their motherland, when we hardly can afford to buy daily newspapers in our motherland? Perhaps, you guys have individual teachers for your children, who teach them how to die for Tajikistan but my and millions of other Tajik children will attend public schools, where such subjects are not taught and such sensitization hardly exists.
This discussion appears as a contradiction to my own discussion about thousands of hidden talents amongst the children but we should not forget the reality that out of seven million population half of which under the age of 18 are children and not all of the possess that gift. Child poverty is another alarming trend for us, which lives millions of children and youth at risk who are the future of Tajikistan.
D- sorry for taking your precious time and thanks for your attention to my words.

For me to be in your Thoughtland is a relaxation and thanks for creating such a good weblog. Wish you all the best too and take care

Anon 2

Darius said...

Dear Anon 2,

Welcome back again. Let me go to the point straight away.

Whenever we talk of our shameful civil war, we must remember that it was not something rare in the world. On the contrary, discontents, wars and dramatic upheavals have been recognized as a linkage between two different phases of a nation’s development. You will not be thoroughly refined through the process of evolution without those upheavals. Perhaps, Europe would have never achieved political and social maturity without the French Revolution (1789-1799). Russia would have never risen to be a world superpower without getting involved in the World War II. Or as Emmanuel Todd, a French political thinker puts it in his “After the Empire”, “the 350-year-old English Revolution is a good example of the paradox of modernization. No one would deny the crucial role that England played in the political and economic development of Europe. It was also a country with high levels of literacy early on. But one of the first effects of the English move into modernity was an ideological crisis, expressed politically and religiously, that led to a civil war most Europeans would have a hard time understanding today.”

The Jewish French thinker who had predicted the fall of the Soviet Union in his “La Chute finale” (1976), believes that the way to modernity usually lies through fearsome upheavals and an explosion of ideological violence. If you remember, in the very famous English Revolution in 1649 King Charles I was decapitated. We are not here to argue about its level of morality or amorality. It is just the natural normal independent course of the history. Hence, there is no need to curb our socio-political activities just because 10 years ago we had a bloody fight. That fear will remain in our blood vessels, only if we do not succeed to realize the necessity to move on. The period of stagnation must be evolved to a period of brave prosperity-motivated movements. The very fact that you are speaking of ‘our trauma’ may lead you to the point that you’d resist the traumatic effects of the past and start looking to the future. I think there should be no embarrassment for the past as well as no extreme pride for it.

Moaning about our disadvantages ‘despite having brilliant individuals’ does not make the situation less frustrating. Whenever we look for an excuse, we are trying to mask our weakness. As I argued before, we don’t have to be ashamed to reveal all our weakness in its entirety. Before operating a heart a surgeon has to unhinge the breast to have a proper look at the heart which is causing a problem for the rest of the body.

I do not believe that “many of our failures are the result of our “99% of literate population”. Perhaps, overall literacy was one of few advantages we had had from the Soviet Empire. That means, the task of a social change could go on smoother; almost everyone would be able to grasp and absorb the purpose of the change. What is not working well in Tajikistan is inherited from the Soviet Empire too: mismanagement, lack of perspective, political vision and national self-determination.

Furthermore, dramatic increase of literacy at the beginning has got some negative side effects and that’s ‘the psychological disorientation of population.’ I suppose, that’s what we are experiencing right now.

By the way, English teachers would never teach my children how to die for their Motherland. That’s the task of their parents indeed.

I wish you all the best, dear Anon 2.