Posts tagged bride kidnapping

Who is following this 15 year old girl from Afghanistan?

Would you consider this 15 year old girl fortunate because her uncle alerted authorities about her condition?  If you read this story, you will be

shocked and appalled at what evil people do to get vulnerable girls to become prostitutes.  This incident happened in Afghanistan and it continues to go on, but child brides are also supposedly kidnapped in Kazakhstan. The numbers of victims have escalated.

Who is following up on these girls? Can the authorities be trusted to do their part in upholding the law? Most of these girls go unwillingly to be “brides” or wives to their captors and the in-laws, that is known as “bride-kidnapping.”  In some cases it is due to economics and where elopement saves face for the families to avoid the payment of dowries. Whatever happened to the young child brides from 100 years ago in Kazakhstan who would work on their dowry carpets to bring to their new home? (I hope to find out more from a Kazakh woman who lives in Tucson, Arizona) I also learned that Kazakh families in the past, who had children marry each other, became very close.  How does that work out now when a Kazakh (or Afghan) woman is trapped into being married to a man and then is essentially a slave to her mother-in-law and the rest of the family?

I’m wondering how much of the traditions from yesteryear were stamped out entirely during the period of communism when in the 1960s it was outlawed for young women to create their dowry carpets.  So many questions about Kazakh traditions and culture…so many MORE questions about how young girls are being currently snatched up to not be kidnapped brides but to be prostitutes either in their own country of Kazakhstan or exported out by their traffickers to other countries.  Too…many…sad questions.

This young Afghan girl is hopefully getting a new start on life after she heals up in India.  She has certainly gotten the world’s attention by her resisting what she knew to be wrong. Thankfully her uncle cared enough to try and save her. How many other young, innocent girls at this present hour are trapped?  What can we do to help half way around the world?

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Kazakh Women Exposed via Internet to Human Trafficking (Part V)

The following is from a former student who was from southern Kazakhstan. She was very well aware of bride kidnapping that is supposedly a Central Asian custom of elopement.  [I think it happens when the economy of the region is bad. Bride kidnapping has been happening for some time for those in the rural areas of the -stans.] One thing that will haunt me for a long time is what she said as a true Kazakh woman.  Something to the effect that if Kazakhstan wants to heal the wounds of the soul as a young nation, they need to take care of the least of these people who are trafficked. Or another way I interpreted it is that there can be no future prosperity of a nation if the rich of Kazakhstan don’t take care of their own.

Today, life is becoming more unpredictable and people do not know how their destiny will be turned to them. So, when those who suffer from human trafficking, there are others who just stay aside not knowing about the torture the victims are going through. Even though the number of physical and sexual abused women is horribly increasing, people should consider capital punishment in order to destroy the trafficking community dealing with this crime.

There are a lot of kinds of traps to lure young, desperate women to work or to study wherever they want with the promise to provide them a better life than people have in their real life. Sometimes those people do not think of consequences  of such a horrible trap. For example,  nowadays  people are attracted to find a better job through the internet. And by statistics the number of people trapped in the world through the internet are women who are considered to be allured  by different communities dealing with human trafficking. Moreover, women are the main source to be used for profit and they are exposed to human trafficking to become prostitutes more so than being  forced to work in dangerous conditions for little money. In addition, young women searching for a better life surf the internet and agree to work abroad, notwithstanding the danger. In fact, they are risking to be future prostitutes.

However,  I wish if someone knew about those people’s sufferings, unfortunately, it seems nobody tries to stop it. And human traffickers do all their best to contribute themselves because of people’s careless attitude to human rights. For example, in Kazakhstan rich families hire workforce from other countries, namely, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the countries whose economies went down and lack of jobs make people move to different countries. Moreover, it is easy to get a visa to any country to work, except the UK and the USA. So, traffickers take advantage of this moment and trap people by offering good jobs. And it will be late for  trapped people  to go back to their countries, staying victims with deprived rights of no passport and little money.

But in some cases women agree to work, knowing the kind of job and no matter either prostitutes or a job with dangerous conditions. And money is considered to be more important for them than their health. Those people are ready to die while working, unfortunately sometimes  their expects are not proved  and those people become brutally trapped by traffickers.

Finally, taking into consideration those facts given above, people should set up organizations against human trafficking. Also, those organizations should be in charge of  trapped people and consider capital punishment for traffickers in order to stop these horrible crime.

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Photos of Kazakh Red Carpets and Women’s Issues

My American friend Julia in Almaty has a real passion to learn as much as she can about the traditional patterns of the Kazakh carpets.  For me, this might be a “women’s issue” but  I believe it is also tied in with failed communist policy from days gone by.  According to Julia, at some point the carpets were banned during the Soviet Union, maybe in the 1970s.  However, in Central Asia each soon-to-be bride was expected to make a carpet to have in her dowry before she got married.  Each carpet had her own symbols and story to tell along with the year it was done and the woman’s name woven in.  No different than our American quilts that show patterns and have stories attached to it.  These red carpets were created as pieces of art in happier, more bucolic times in Central Asia.

On a related note with women’s issues, I just got an e-mail from an American friend of mine, Elaine, who lived in Nepal for a semester.  She has an anthropology background and her riveting accounts reveal what she experienced in Nepal, no easy life.  What’s so amazing about Elaine is that she is in her late 70s but still going strong. Here’s what she wrote in her e-mail to me…

“…although at some point I do want to record what I learned about the ongoing tragedy of widows in both Nepal and India.  Although they’re no longer required to join their husband’s funeral pyre, they often opt to do so, only because the alternative of no status, no financial resources appears worse to them.  Enough!”

When I lived and taught in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 1993-1994, I first learned about bride kidnapping from my Kyrgyz students.  Many of their aunts or even the Kyrgyz students’ mothers had been kidnapped as brides.  However, kidnapping was against the law back in the early 1990s but during the Soviet period I think it was commonplace to avoid taxation or maybe to avoid having to make the carpets that took at least a year to accomplish. I think there might be a strong connection with not making the traditional Kyrgyz or Kazakh carpets because the USSR deemed it as too culturally bound and the other issue of bridekidnapping.  The newly minted Soviet women probably didn’t have the time to make carpets because they were too busy in the collective farms or in the industrial factories. It could be a real research question for someone in anthropology to find out the correlation between the Soviet edict of NO more carpets and when the bride kidnapping started or WHY it became commonplace.  Too many questions, not enough answers!!!

I suspect that those westerners who are INTO women’s issues and may even major in Women’s Studies would find out that there are numerous failed policies in many different countries that work against women.  However, these same purported “scholars” who are mixed up with Marxist dogma in western university would never want to reveal that former communist states or current communist countries propagate very contemptible laws that work against women.  Really, American women have NOTHING to complain about when it comes to their rights.  Oh, should I also mention women’s issues in China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan’s neighbor? Why are so many girl babies killed in China with their “one child policy?”

What we need is honest inquiry into what is happening to women in other countries.  I haven’t even brought up the issue of the sex trafficking that happens all too frequently in Krygyzstan or other former Soviet Union countries.  Read a riveting account titled “Two Kyrgyz Women” if you want to know more about the plight of what is happening in Krygyzstan. If the Kyrgyz men of that small nation are angry, it is because their women folk are being brutalized and used.  They are desperate to preserve their honor and the honor of their nation.

But this blog was about Central Asian carpets right?  Please look at the photos that I took in the Independence Hall in Astana and think about the Central Asian women who created them. Many of these women are soooo far away from being independent, it breaks my heart.  Please think about Kyrgyzstan as the numbers of deaths continue to increase in southern Kyrgyzstan.

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GREAT SPEAKERS in my classrooms

scott talking musicThanks to a LOT of help from my friends, I have had some very good speakers come to talk to my three different listening classes.  So far, I have had six speakers videotaped. The students are loving it!!!  These first year and graduate students have heard different accents and witnessed various styles of presenting.  Yesterday I had Scott come to talk about a favorite topic for many young people, “How to Make a Music CD.”  I don’t know how many budding musicians we have that have the same dream as Scott had ,but he was very thorough and entertaining.  I hope I see good, typed up notes from my listening students tomorrow.  video cameraThanks Scott!!!

Yesterday morning I had a former MBA student come to talk about “Women against Violence” at the AIWC (Almaty Intl. Women’s Club) meeting. Katya did a GREAT job, she was very poised in front of about 35 international women talking about something close to her heart. (bride kidnapping, human trafficking, etc.) I finally found out from Katya why this topic is such a passion for her. Her explanation will go into a later blog entry.

 Elena and classThe night before I had another woman who I recently met at AIWC come and talk about something close to her heart.  Elena was originally from Uzbekistan but has her citizenship from the U.S. and received her MBA degree there, then went to Cambridge to receive her MPA degree also.  I wanted her to talk a bit about student centered vs. teacher centered issues since she has experienced both.  Later, she had very interactive discussion with my masters students about consumer rights.

Tonight I will have Kathy Banham’s husband come and talk about his place of employment at Deloitte and what brought them both here from Australia.  I feel very blessed with all those who are coming to my aid during this tough time of tangling with students over their rough draft papers.  Some are pretty unsightly, but by next week I hope to see better final versions from ALL of them.

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Kazakh Carpets Have Symbolic Design and Mystery

PA280051Julia Connelly stepped in my “Listening and Note Taking” class to give a lecture about her ongoing fascination with Kazakh carpets.  She has a BFA degree in art specializing in Interior Design and when she arrived to Kazakhstan about six years ago she has been researching the mysteries behind this very complex art form.PA280050PA280052PA280053

Notice how one of the three carpets Julia brought has the woman’s name (Rakya) woven in and also the year “1963” when it was worked on.  Something like this would be a part of a woman’s dowry in order to be eligible for marriage.  A carpet typically took one year to accomplish. 

Julia also shared about the Pazyryk carpet that is also known as the Altai rug which measures 6 feet by 6 feet 6 inches.  It was found in south Siberia in 1947 by a Russian archeologist, S.J. Rudenko.  This well preserved carpet (found in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg) was in a grave mound belonging to a fifth century B.C. prince.  Soon after the grave was built and sealed, it was robbed of all its treasures but the theives took no interest in a heavy carpet.  The grave filled with water and then the burial chamber froze and like a deep freeze, it preserved the colors of this carpet.

Julia went on to explain about the dyeing process as well as the weaving on different kinds of looms.  She compared the carpets from Kazakhstan compared to Turkmenistan.  The striking features that I noticed as different is that Kazakh carpets were more creative and not repetitive and seemed to be more expansive in their design and not limited to the same blueprint.

The mystery remains as to why the production of Kazakh carpets that had gone on for 1,000s of year stopped abruptly in the mid-1970s.  These are questions I need answered: Was there a Soviet law prohibiting the sale of these carpets?  Did it endanger the weaver to have symbols that told stories too dangerous to tell?  From what I understood, the families kept their carpets within their own family and for special occasions such as weddings.  But then there is the whole other mystery behind bride-snatching or kid-napping?  Was it so that the woman wouldn’t have to do the painstaking work of a carpet? 

I need my Kazakh readers to respond to some of these baffling questions. Julia commented to me before this lecture that in her researching at the archives and libraries in Almaty, that her work took different zig zags depending on what she found out.  She may have started with one idea and meeting certain people or reading something, made her go in a different direction than originally planned.  I have to tell my students that that is precisely what research does, you can have a plan but depending on the data you unearth, it may have entirely different results surface.  As with the carpets and their significance in the old days, what are the mysteries they keep from us today?

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