Posts tagged Harrison Ford

“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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K-19–Soviet Widowmaker Sub and Russian “Collage” Painting

Last night Ken and I watched a movie titled “K-19-Widowmaker” starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson, released in 2002. K-19 was based on a true story which portrayed the grim realities of the Cold War in a Soviet nuclear submarine in the 1960s.  Impossible decisions were made by these two captains who were in conflict with each other.  Their decisions one way or the other, in the effort to save the crew, could have triggered the end of civilization as we know it. Ford was THEE Comrade Captain and ultimate bad guy while Neeson had been demoted from working with his own crew of 120 men, thus making him second in command under Ford.  In order to make this film, it cost over 100,000 million dollars. National Geographic had sunk their own money into this “documentary” to show support for something that had been kept secret among the members of the real Soviet navy crew once an investigation took place back in Moscow to find out who needed to be punished. Certainly things went awry, who could have anticipated this with such a proud and noble start at the beginning of their mission. Unfortunately, the filmmakers of this incredible movie only retrieved about two thirds of their investment in return from the box office and sales of the DVD.

Why are people not interested in movies related to the Cold War?  Is it because it is a confusing history or because there are too many versions of it from the U.S. side as well as the Soviet side?  In any case, it shows how loyalty, respect of command and allegiance to one’s country even if it means certain death, are values that run very deeply.  Not one American was portrayed in this movie except a U.S. Navy helicopter who came to the rescue of the K-19.  From start to finish the movie featured actors as Soviet navy men speaking English with Russian accents all the way up to the star actors, Ford and Neeson. But I don’t want to spoil this story for you, you will have to see it for yourself to see how closely this movie might align itself to politics in Kazakhstan right now.  I see some parallels from my vantage point of living in the seat of the government, Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan.

Politics is a terribly murky topic to write about, when Ken and I went to Astana’s Independence Hall, we saw a LARGER than life mural on the third floor.  The artist painted in 19 men congratulating the president of this country who is striding in the center with a medal around his neck.  On the left side is former French president Mitterand, Bush, Blair, the Japanese president (forget his name) and others smiling and clapping.  On the right of the big mural, which is called a “collage” in Russian because it is not an actual event but a historical collection of the main characters is Yeltsin (clapping hands on far right), Putin (is NOT clapping), Lushenko, Bakayiev (deposed president of Kyrgyzstan), Yushenko (former president of Ukraine) and many more leaders from the former republics of the U.S.S.R.  If my readers want to help me out with naming the characters, that would be GREAT help!

[thanks to one of my blog readers, some of the mystery is solved about the other dignitaries in this collage: Junichiro Koizumi (name of the Japanese Prime-Minister); next to Bush is Berluskoni (Italy), Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgia) and Hu Jintao (China);

On the right: Can’t figure out the person behind Yeltsin, but then as you said Putin, behind him is Lukashenko (Belorus), Bakiyev (Kyrgyz Republic), behind him is, to me he looks like Gerhard Shroeder (Germany), Emomoli Rahmonov (Tajikistan), can’t tell for sure, think it’s Ahmet Necdet Sezer (Turkey,)  Lukashenko (Belorus), Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan), Yushenko, Robert Kocharyan (Armenia)]

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