Archive for February, 2015

Kyrgyzstan terms from “Two Kyrgyz Women”

On Friday I had my composition students download the free version of the book titled “Two Kyrgyz Women” by Marinka Franulovic. About five years ago, I had had my ten Kazakh students read this book in hard copy that I had been gifted with from Marinka.  Now I am glad I can have my American students read the free e-book version. Here it is:  http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/Two-Kyrgyz-Women

I think it is always a good idea for the teacher to read or do whatever assignment he or she is giving to their students.  I’ve read this book several times before but now I see it with fresh eyes after what I have learned much more about modern day slavery. Actually this book helped to jump start me on this path as an educator to inform others about this great evil. In any case, I will quiz my students on Wednesday whether or not they have read the first story about the first Kyrgyz woman who was in slavery in a tobacco plantation in Kazakhstan.

On p. 24, the first slave named Ainura revealed a little bit about her husband who had become an alcoholic and didn’t help support the family with their two children.  He would often tell Ainura, “Nobody is getting rich by working.”  This was according to the Kyrgyz Post-Soviet moral relativism that pervaded the country soon after the fall of the USSR.  When my American students read this part, it will go against everything they have been taught by their parents and grandparents who worked hard to own their farm or run their business.  My students have a high cultural value of believing in hard work or having a good work ethic. Most of my students value hard work and they had better because I am going to work them hard in the next ten weeks of this semester.

Interesting to read on p. 29 “Some of the world’s most spectacular architectural treasures were built by slaves, and no one is embarrassed to appreciate them.”  Immediately I think of the Great Wall in China and KNOW that there were thousands of slaves who died creating that monster structure which can be seen from outer space, maybe even from the moon.  Marinka, the author, further wrote: “Some of these new land owners in Kazakhstan may earn money by using foreign workers for free, and they do not seem embarrassed by this either.”

On p. 32 the slaves were reminded by their “owner” to NOT speak in Kyrgyz if they met anyone who was a stranger to the farm.  These Kyrgyz slaves who had been brought up to their northern neighboring country didn’t have the right documents. The manager put more fear into these “slaves” that they may be beaten or imprisoned if the Kazakh police found them without proper IDs on the farm.  Apparently on the next page, one girl who was from the Krygyz city Osh and not used to rural life spoke a different kind of Kyrgyz.  As it turns out, Altanay was much more educated than the other slaves and she just did not know how to work quickly like they did.  The masters dubbed her with the name “White Hand.”  She did NOT last long under their abusive jokes and shaming techniques. Actually she was only on the farm for two weeks before she disappeared.

I have seen the movie “Nefarious: Merchants of Souls” and will probably go again next month to another screening of this 1 1/2 hour documentary of slavery in our modern 21st century.  Nothing is new under the sun and the unfortunate like Altanay who was called “White Hand” probably ended up as a sex slave. Many young girls are picked off who do not come from a loving home where the father protects but rather assaults his own daughter. According to this documentary, some mothers in other lands sell their daughters off to be sex slaves.  The question was asked, how can a loving mother do this?  Some of their responses were that they love their daughters enough to sell them to local dealers and not to dealers in some place far off.

These two Kyrgyz women were mothers who happened to be married to selfish and uncaring husbands.  I found out from Marinka that the two women ended up going back to their family and their husbands because what they had been through as a slave did NOT compare to what they thought was a bad home life. They were desperate enough to believe a lie about getting a job in Kazakhstan to support their family.  Little did they know they could have died under the conditions they were subjected to.  In their shelters they were separately told to NOT tell anyone in their family what they had gone through with slavery, they would have been ostracized by the very people they needed to love them.

Anyway, I hope to have some spirited conversations with my students on Wednesday when they come back to our class after a LONG weekend. Today is President’s Day so we have the day off.  Good thing, I could use the break as I know my students can too.  However, reading this 150 page book will open their eyes to the depravity of man.  It is NOT just in Kazakhstan, it is all over the world and slavery is going on right at our doorstep.

 

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“Spring Thaw” Event This Friday in February!!!

Whoever came up with this event at our university to have a “Spring Thaw” in February must be from California.  Anyone who grew up in these parts of Minnesota would not even consider to tempt the weather minstrels with the thought of spring thaws in February. We can have some of our worst blizzards or storms in February and March. It would be more realistic to have a Spring Thaw in April or even May based on experiencing past winters. We have nothing to complain about with our winter so far, nothing like the brutal beast of a winter we had last year.  However, to get into the mood for a Spring Thaw means that you are probably going south to Florida or even farther south during Spring Break which DOES happen in March.  One full week of no teaching, hurrah!!!

Today for this event I will be playing in a six piece orchestra that we have slammed together with practices every day for a week.  The music pieces we are using are from Broadway hits and movie hits.  Songs like Edelweiss, Beauty and the Beast, Circle of Life, Cabaret and Memory.  Then movie hits like Chariots of Fire, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Somewhere Out There.  Should be interesting to get the responses from people who show up for this fun activity of food, drinks, cashbar and photos and games.  I hope I can hold up playing my violin that I haven’t picked up for over 20-30 years!

This “celebration” starts at 4:30 today. Everyone will be there ON time (closing time for many office jobs) but they will be out the door and on their way home by 5:30 p.m. After all, it IS a Friday and people have their weekends planned out already.  I plan to go to a movie screening tomorrow titled “Nefarious: Merchants of Souls” which is about human trafficking. A friend of mine already went to it down in Texas and she had a hard time watching the whole thing. Victims’ testimonies but also footage from the traffickers themselves.  We live in a depraved world and unfortunately human trafficking is escalating instead of the numbers going down.  What does that say about our sin sick world?

I’m also watching the events unfold in Ukraine with extreme sadness. The Russian separatist terrorists (given equipment from Russia) are riddling the cities with civilians living there with bullets so that they can take over the east end of Ukraine. Their goal is to move on to Kyiv and then the other eastern European nations. The leader in Russia is not dealing with the reality or he is forcing the hands of many leaders from other nations. Things will be bleak for those living in Russia because their economy is currently plummeting. However, their “fearless” leader, who many Russians still believe in, is waiting for Ukraine to buckle first. After what Ukraine has been through over the century with the Soviet rule, the memories run too deep, they will NOT let Russia rule over them again.  They would rather fight and die first.

I wonder if this leader in the north has the same designs for the assets in Kazakhstan?  Would the Kazakh people be ready to fight and die for their own sovereignty?  I wonder…are we going back to the Cold War mentality.  So much for the spring that, right?

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Super Bowl Kick off about to Happen

So, the Super Bowl has a LOT of spectators now, either in the stands or at home watching TV or some other big screen.  Not me, my husband and I were going to visit the football players where they were required to go to the one big room with about eight screens but we didn’t know they had study hall first from 2;00 to 4:00 p.m.  So, in about five minutes the kick off will happen without us.  I guess some people watch the Super Bowl just for the expensive ads that are entertaining.  Others will watch the halftime with Katy Perry or whoever she is. I’m really out of my own culture, I might as well be living in Kazakhstan. I don’t care WHO wins, the Green Bay Packers or the MN Vikings are not there so why bother, right? Yes, I DO know who is playing today and I really, really don’t care!!!

Well, here is an ad for something entirely different but has everything to do with the Super Bowl.  It relates to my blog from yesterday. The human traffickers are busy with their wares and the girls (and boys) that are brought to this multi-million dollar event are the victims.

Watch this video and think twice about who REALLY is making the money.  It’s another Youtube video by “Shared Hope” about YOUNG girls in a “Doll Box” at the Super Bowl. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzEIFjlLMcQ

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