Posts tagged Amir Temur

“I’m just sayin’…” vs. “Have a good one!”

Yesterday I wrote about two post-Soviet expressions I find endearing in my former students’ essays.  Today, I will write about two expressions that Americans use which are in the above title.  The latter, “Have a good one” is one I have never gotten used to. I believe it started circulating in the 1980s, maybe earlier.  Hearing “Have a good one” got on my nerves where I would want to ask the well-wisher, “one-what?  Have a good evening?  Have a good dinner?  WHAT!?”  To me it ranked up there with what seemed to irritate everyone when someone like a bank teller or a sales clerk might end the transaction with “Have a nice day!”  I know it was intended to be chirpy nice but without any real feeling behind it.  I think we have all moved away from THAT expression because it is empty of meaning.

This other expression that Americans have grown fond of using, myself included, has a different ring to it.  “I’m just sayin’…” may have come from a t.v. show for all I know (having lived in other countries for as many years as I have, I readily admit that I don’t know the origin).  In any case, this has the air of knowing something others may not be aware while adding a kind of “aw shucks” attitude of getting it out there without appearing like a know-it-all.  It works something like this…

I recently read in an American’s blog about Kazakhstan that there was a fire at a brand, spanking new mosque in Astana on Jan. 13th of this year.  I can picture the location close to the Pyramid in the new part of Astana.  Apparently, Khazret Sultan was the largest mosque (able to fit 5,000 worshippers) in Central Asia and was not entirely completed yet.  No fire alarms were activated and thus the fire trucks were a bit delayed to the blaze to help extinguish it.  Unfortunately, one person died and I’m not sure how many were injured.  From reports about how the fire originated, it was said to be welding equipment that burst into flames.  Was it arson or was it REALLY an accident? (I’m just sayin’…)

Okay, let’s go back to Almaty when they were building a new airport there.  From the prior airport where my husband and I flew in and out back in 1993 to 1995, they definitely needed an upgrade.  Apparently, the contractors and builders of the new airport had it nearly completed and they wanted more money.  Their demands were not met and presto, the airport all burned down.  Supposedly, the combustion started from a kitchen fire, I’m thinking this was probably around 2005.  Or maybe it was soon after “Air Force One,” the movie with Harrison Ford in 1997. At the beginning it was filmed where the hijackers had the big jet land in Kazakhstan. (That segment was probably filmed in Moscow, Russia)

An Iranian friend of mine in Almaty was telling me this story of the fire (which I had never heard about)and  how she had to wait in people’s dachas near the airport for the flights coming in.  Pretty dismal.  Now Almaty has a newer airport to replace the old one and the other that burned down.  Was it arson or was it an accident?  “I’m just sayin’…”

One final and I think interesting note.  The president of Kazakhstan was reportedly at the Russian Orthodox church during Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 6th.  I heard this from a friend on Facebook who personally met him there.  You see the power of social media these days?  I would not have known about the fire at the new mosque in Astana and I would not have thought the president would actually celebrate Christmas with other foreigners.  However, I do know that Kazakhstan wants to promote the idea that they are a nation of PEACE and can co-habit with many ethnic groups and different religions.  Just take a tour to the top of the Pyramid and you will get the sense that THAT is what a HUGE table in the center is all about. Negotiations with people from all over the world with more than contrary viewpoints.

What I can’t get over is when I asked my Kazakh students about their ancestors, some were full of pride that they had ancestry going back to Amir Temur.  This king was also known as “Timur, the Lame.”  He was considered charismatic and never gave up.  Also known as Tamerlane and he ruled by the strength of his army and with great unity.  Or how about Zahiriddin Muhammed Babur.  Supposedly his conquests were in India but my Kazakh students like to go back to the late 1400s where Babur supposedly won victories against India that had armies four times his own.  You ask Kazakhs about their distant but glorious past and it will be mingled with bloodthirsty battles.

So fast forward to present day 2012, what is REALLY going on in Kazakhstan these days? What about those workers on the mosque and other new buildings all over Astana? Are they really in unity about the current president’s objective to make Kazakhstan look good and peaceful to Catholic, Jewish, Russian Orthodox and Muslim all alike?  All faiths are peacefully represented with their own buildings in Astana, cathedral, synagogue, church and mosques.

I’m just sayin’…”Have a good one…with THAT!”

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Two Anecdotes for Thought about Education

The following are things I’m learning about a country, Uzbekistan, I will probably never see.  I have American friends who used to live in Tashkent and other Americans who have visited to Bukhara and Sumarkand, but me…not to be.  Recently I came across some interesting names so I need to educate myself about who Amir Temur and Babur were.  What do the Kazakh people know about these characters?  I wonder, because we as Americans know nothing about these Central Asian warriors and leaders.

First, who is Amir Temur?  Doing a Wikipedia search (not to be confused with wikileaks) I came across this info:

Timur (from the Perso-Arabic form تیمور Tīmūr, ultimately from Chagatai (Middle TurkicTemüriron“; 8 April 1336 – 18 February 1405), normally known as Tamerlane (from Tīmūr-e Lang) in English, was a fourteenth-century conqueror of WesternSouth and Central Asia, founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty (1370–1405) in Central Asia, and great great grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived until 1857 as the Mughal Empire in India.

Born into the Turco-Mongol[6][7]Barlas tribe who ruled in Central Asia,[8][9] Timur was in his lifetime a controversial figure, and remains so today. He sought to restore the Mongol Empire,[10][11] yet his heaviest blow was against the Islamized Tatar Golden Horde. He was more at home in an urban environment than on the steppe. He styled himself a ghazi yet some Muslim states, e.g. the Ottoman Empire, were severely affected by his wars. A great patron of the arts, his campaigns also caused vast destruction. Timur told the qadis of Aleppo, during the sack of that newly conquered city, “I am not a man of blood; and God is my witness that in all my wars I have never been the aggressor, and that my enemies have always been the authors of their own calamity.”

Next, here’s more from Wikipedia about the character Babur, not a very nice person in my estimation, supposedly he was a poet but I think a bloodthirsty one:

Babur was born on February 23 [O.S. February 14] 1483[12] in the town of Andijan, in the Fergana Valley which is in modern Uzbekistan. He was the eldest son of ʿOmar Sheykh Mirzā,[13] ruler of the Fergana Valley, and his wife Qutluq Negār Khānum, daughter of Yonus Khān, the ruler ofMoghulistan.

Although Babur hailed from the Barlas tribe which was of Mongol origin, his tribe had embraced Turkic[14] and Persian culture,[2][15][16]converted to Islam and resided in Turkestan and Khorasan. His mother tongue was the Chaghatai language (known to Babur as Turkī, “Turkic”) and he was equally at home in Persian, the lingua franca of the Timurid elite.[17]

Hence Babur, though nominally a Mongol (or Moghul in Persian), drew much of his support from the Turkic and Iranian peoples of Central Asia, and his army was diverse in its ethnic makeup, including Persians (Tajiks or Sarts, as they were called by Babur),[10]Pashtuns, and Arabs as well as Barlas and Chaghatayid Turco-Mongols from Central Asia.[18] Babur’s army also included Qizilbāsh fighters, a militant religious order ofShi’aSufis from Safavid Persia who later became one of the most influential groups in the Mughal court.

Babur is said to have been extremely strong and physically fit. He could allegedly carry two men, one on each of his shoulders, and then climb slopes on the run, just for exercise. Legend holds that Babur swam across every major river he encountered, including twice across theGanges River in North India.[19]

His passions could be equally strong. In his first marriage he was “bashful” towards ʿĀʾisha Ṣultān Begum, later losing his affection for her.[20]

He also had a great passion to kill people, cut heads of people and create pillars out of cut head. He claimed to have created several such pillars in his autobiography.[21]

Finally, there is Ulugbek, but that’s enough of looking into Uzbekistan’s history through the eyes of Wikipedia.  There has to be something that upholds virtue and other character traits that can help benefit children in schools that are building up a civil society.  Food for thought, these two anecdotes about Central Asian leaders from the distant past…

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