Friday, May 25, 2007

No Embarrassment For The Past

This is another phase of our lovely discussion with Anon 2. It began here and will go on forever.

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.


Anonymous said...

Hi D,

Now you got my point that the education we obtained during the soviet time was not bad but it lacked national self-determination. It failed to teach us the key subjects at schools, which were so crucial those days such as Human Rights. We should learn through our lapses and improve and come to terms that which subjects we should include in our schools by looking at the changes in our communities and country and think what vital changes a particular subject can make for our country to prosper further.

They are many but I will bring one. For example:the lack of awareness in today’s Tajikistan on HIV/AIDs is a big threat for tomorrow’s Tajikistan population and we must not close our eyes or keep silence to study and discuss such crucial topics widely.As we did for the use of alcohol, the result of what forbids today to celebrate Posledniy Zvonok-Graduation ceremony at schools.
Unfortunately AIDs cases of which we had little idea last decade is spreading very fast in Central Asian states and it need to be addressed at the highest level. In Liberia for example in a Western African country subject like ‘Gender-based Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, HIV/AIDs prevention” is approved by the Ministry of Education and will be taught in schools, where 9% of its 3 million population is believed already infected with AIDs. It is never late to learn.

I say “never” because it is indeed never late to learn. I should tell you one story that I witnessed in a remote volley of Afghanistan in Farkhar district, where an old women of age 60 was sitting in a classroom together with other small girls to learn Alif,Be,Te in 2006- We asked her what made you to study in this age. She said: “Maybe one day I will receive a letter from my children who are out of Farkar, which I can read myself”. I was indeed impressed.

D you said that: “English teachers may never be able to teach your children to die for their Motherland such as it is your own task to teach them how to love Tajikistan”.

Why you pointed English teachers but not History teachers? I know why because I revealed my occupation to you. Ok that’s fine. But I don’t agree with your statement as you never know how English teachers can be. It will also depend where your children will be taught English. If they will be taught English outside Tajikistan like in UK or elsewhere certainly their English teachers will not be able to teach your children to die for Tajikistan but if they will be taught in Tajikistan the possibilities of English teachers teaching your children how to die for their motherland is higher, because those English teachers are parents and it is their task to teach children to love their motherland.

I will bring you an example English teachers like professor Jamshed Parvonaev or Sharofat Mamadambarova who taught students and still teaching many more children not only the language but also the importance of its use. Professor Parvonaev was a volunteer teacher at the university during the hard times and taught more than thousands of students not only English language but he was the first teacher who introduced English text-books with Tajik translations tothe secondary schools, which we used to have in Russian language.And there are many more English teachers who are so enthusiastic and optimistic to teach children of the values of their land.

But if you mean me only this is another story.

Talk to you soon and take care
Anon 2 as usually

Darius said...

Dear Anon 2,

I got zback just to defuse one misunderstanding. Then I will return as time will allow to elaborate my ideas in more details.

When I said, English teachers wouldn't teach my children how to die for Tajikistan, by English I meant their nationality. Since they have no idea of Tajikistan at all, leave alone its identity. I'm sorry to give you an impression that I was bickering against you. I have no moral right to do so, since I know you only virtually and I actually like you for sharing your ideas with me.

Talk to you soon,

Anonymous said...

Hi D,

Thanks. Dont take it too close to your heart. I quite understand you that you are sort of a person who does not hurt a fly leave apart your beloved friends even though they are your virtual friends.

Actually, i remember your childish face from TV-show "Assalomu Alleikum, Shumo barnomai bachagonai OINA-ro tamosho mekuned" of late 80s or early 90s, if i am not mistaken.

Maybe i am talking to somebody else, who knows?

"Tiflivu domoni modar khush
bihishte budaast,
Chun ba poi khud ravon gashtem
sargardon shudem..."

Talk to you soon...

Darius said...

Dear Anon2,

Sorry for the delay longer than before. Some hassle with my broadband connection and British Telecom’s misconduct kept me deeply engaged with local bureaucracy and now I’m sitting here satisfied and triumphant, enjoying my broadband after almost 3 months of struggle.

As for our debate, seemingly we are getting each other’s points more easily. Whatever you said about difficulties and hardship back at home were the point of my concern in my initial postings. Even if you want to get more distraught you can pick up any other sphere of life in Tajikistan and you sink into a real depression. Corruption is webbing the entire country faster than ever, mother tongue is vanishing and the link between the language and thought is disappearing leaving a tribe in pain of explaining the simplest thing with hundreds of “kim-chi xel”s and “vay-vay”s, nothing new is coming out of our thoughts as the result of our linguistic difficulty, xenophobia is flourishing as a means of self-defence of a weaker from a stronger, books are rarely published and even more rarely read, the art of verbal debate has joined history years ago, a top official swearing at a bunch of journalists does not raise our eye-brows anymore, the most elementary ethics downgraded to its minimum as well as the nation’s world view… The list could be continued forever, but… There is a big BUT. There is a way out, because a little sparkle of hope is still twinkling, and on no account our depression could lead us to embrace that sparkle. There are still people not afraid to face the truth in its bare and ugly shape and speak about it. One of them is you. The very fact of thinking about our problems is that much promising sparkle. As the first step we have to talk about our discontent as long as to see it wide spread in the entire country. No room for bla bla, sheer lies and comic pride.

One of the oldest reasons of our misfortune could be our historic defeat. We could not rise and hold our heads high after Samanids were broken by Ghaznevids into tatters. Central Asian part of the Persian world succumbed into a pit of stagnation after that with a huge historic blister on its leg. The old nation still kept moving, but the blister of defeat would not allow it move as fast as before and show the previous agility and creativity. A bleeding nation was easier a prey for fresh predators who crawled into our backyard and stabbed us again and again until we stopped moving at all. That’s the moment we are living now with you.

Defeat of a nation is a significant topic of the social psychology. There were years after World War II that German parents had to beg their offspring not to shout national mottos in football matches and not to display their national pride at all. Of course, Germany is still a top nation of the world, however, it was reduced from the world’s superpower to a satellite nation to accommodate over 60 000 soldiers of a rising superpower, namely the USA. That American contingent in Germany is still the biggest American troop abroad. Germany is still doing well and the collapse of the Soviet Union served it well to recover faster than they imagined. However, it lost its second-ranking power to Japan in the field of industry. Such is the price of just one defeat. Can we now imagine the price of our endless defeats?

In order no to lose what has left in our possession we need to enhance our world view and get closer to realities.

PS. Your recollection of OINA was breath-taking and moving. I thought it was well-forgotten by anyone who used to watch it.