Amoeblog

Celebrating Kyrgyz Culture Amidst Violence

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 16, 2010 11:55am | Post a Comment
Kyrgzstan - kyrgyz boy and yurts

Although I’ve never been to Kyrgyzstan I’ve long wanted to go there. I initially became interested in the Central Asian region due primarily to its sheer obscurity relative to the rest of the continent. When you take an Asian Civ class, you're unlikely to find Tajikistan on the course syllabus.

Ten years ago, when Napster made it possible to expose oneself to music otherwise outside one’s reach, in addition to searching for digitized wax cylinders, I used to often type the names of Central Asian countries and see what treasures I could find. The music of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan proved very appealing to me but nothing from the region resonates with me more than Kyrgyz music. To my unschooled ears, there’s a musical echo of every people that passed along the silk trail and many of the nation's neighbors. I hear similarities with Turkmen, Kazakh, Mongolian, Russian and European Renaissance music… and even the shamanistic music of some Native Americans, whose ancestors inhabited Central and North Asia thousands of years ago.

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Russia to pull out of Chechnya

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 16, 2009 04:57pm | Post a Comment


Cessation of operations

Russia has announced the end of its ten year “counter-terrorism” campaign in The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (aka Noxçiyn Respublika Noxçiyçö and Нохчийн Республика Нохчийчоь). Although Chechnya has been fairly peaceful for some time now, many allege that it is due to the ironfisted rule of Russian-approved-and-installed Chechen leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, who along with his private militia, Kadyrovtsy, faces widespread suspicion of kidnapping, torturing and murdering advocates of self rule.


Eliza Betirova

Russia’s president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, having vowed to make rule of law the cornerstone of his government, may in fact be attempting to distance itself from the monster many say Moscow created by installing and giving free-rein to a scandal-plagued former rebel who some have compared to a cult leader who has described Chechnya as a “zoo filled with animals” and bragged, “I will be killing as long as I live."

 
Ali Dimayev

Russia’s involvement with Chechnya
Chechnya declared its independence in 1991, alongside many of its fellow Soviet republics. In what’s become an almost comically transparent double standard, Russia recognized the independence of former Soviet republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (since they’re within Georgia), and Georgia, which denied recognition to its breakaway republics, was one of two nations to recognize Chechnya’s independence (although the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is a member of the Unrecognized Nations and Peoples Organization), the other being Afghanistan.

Timur Mucuraev

Yeltsin, then president, was upfront about Russia’s unwillingness to let Chechnya secede, due, in large part, to its considerable oil reserves. Russia first invaded the newly-independent republic in 1994, sending in 40,000 troops. The war ended in the humiliating defeat of the Russians two years later.

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Happy نوروز (Nowruz)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 20, 2009 08:26am | Post a Comment
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Today, for most observers (but tomorrow for others), is Persian New Year, variously and roughly anglicized as Navrus (Tajikistan), Nawroz (Afghanistan), Nevruz Day (Albania), Nooruz (Iran), Nov Ruz Bairam (Kyrgyzstan), Nauryz Meyrami (Kazakhstan) and Novruz Bayram (Azerbaijan). As with the Lunar New Year, which is often referred to in the media as the "Chinese New Year" (unintentionally marginalizing Koreans, Taiwanese and Vietnamese, who also celebrate the Lunar New Year), Nowroz is often referred to as the Iranian or Persian New Year. In President Obama's Nowruz address, he didn't make that mistake, although he did turn it into a fairly contrived address to the Islamic Republic.


Maz Jorbani on Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

IRAN VS PERSIA

Iran, though related to Persia, is not the same thing. The word Iran comes from Aryānām, literally, "Land of the Aryans." Other Aryan people (who also celebrate Nowruz) include Baloch, Kurds, Lurs, Ossettians, Pashtuns and Zazas. Thus, Nowruz is widely celebrated (in addition to the places already named) in Balochistan, Bosnia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Iraq, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term "Iranian," in contrast to "Persian," includes all people descended from Iran who are just as fully Iranian (at least on paper, though not necessarily in practice) such as Arabs, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Kazakhs, who are probably less likely to celebrate Nowruz. Though most of Nowruz's celebrants practice Islam, its origins go back much further and the day is especially important to Zoroastrians, as well as Alawites, Alevis, Bahá'í, Ismailis, and other Central Asian people of various faiths. 

Kazakh movies and music

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 4, 2007 12:50pm | Post a Comment
Recently, Montebello-born and not-even-remotely-Kazakh-looking actor Jay Hernandez recently appeared in the Kazakh film Nomad alongside Mark Dacasos and Mexican actor Kuno Becker. In a misguided effort to appeal to foreigners and erase any harm done by Borat (or cash in on, perhaps), the Kazakhs spent 40 million dollars to make the most expensive movie in Kazakh history and cast Americans in the lead roles (and dubbed their parts in Kazakh). So far the film has only made $79,123. Maybe you could find it in your heart to buy a copy. It looks alright, no? Aren't you a little curious? Let me tempt you with the mysterious riches of the steppes!
 

Zhemeney performing "Kara Bura"


"Akjaik" performed by the Kazakh Wilson Phillips


Nomad, the 18th century tale of an Asian boy who grew up to be Mexican (Kuno Becker)


The trailer for Schizo which will appeal to fans of Ken Loach and/or track suits.