Posts tagged Warsaw

Adil A’s Brave Grandfather Fought the Nazis

During the World War II a lot of people lost their lives in order to make us happy at the present. Huge number of young generation died in this terrible war. I want to tell you about my grandfather who became a hero of the World War II. My grandfather Zhassybayev Aben was born in 1925 in Kazakhstan, Kaskelen region, Politotdel village.

In 1943 he was sent to the Northern part of the Kazakhstani region, to serve for the national USSR army. A lot of young people were sent from the Almaty region to the northern part Petropavlovsk region. After passing three month army courses, they were allocated to serve in each part of the Soviet Union region. Grandfather’s rifle battalion was sent to the Ukraine to defeat German Nazis army. After successful resistance, they invaded into Europe via Warsaw, Sandomir, Kalish cities. All these cities were destroyed by German armies, but most of these were salvaged by the Soviet Red Army. Later my grandfather was honored for his bravery against invading enemy aggression to other countries, especially those which were located in the USSR.

In 1953 he came to Almaty city to study in a university where he passed an exam to the Kazakh National pedagogical university, in a major of Geography. During these years, education for my grandfather was a first place priority. In 1957 with great marks, he graduated. Later in 1957 he was appointed as a professor in a Kaskelen region, Zhetysu village local school. He had good authority among students, everyone respected him because of his punctuality, the way of his teaching and for being fair to everybody. In 1992 he was appointed as a director of the Zhetysu school. My father told me that he was calm, not only at school but even at home.

In a conclusion I want to say that I am very proud that I had such a wonderful Grandfather.

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One Day at a Time: Solzhenitsyn Kept on Writing

I suppose I have “kept on writing” too an inherited trait from my mother’s side of the family.  Her older relatives commonly wrote letters back and forth from Norway to North Dakota and consequently my mom and *I* wrote lots of letters which I have stored away from my Philippine and China teaching days. 


I have many journals too but the one I miss the most was a five year journal (1983-1988).  I had mailed a hardshell, Samsonite suitcase back to Minnesota from Harbin, Heilongjiang China in spring of 1988. (Imagine 20 years ago) Everything I packed in the locked suitcase arrived safely to my local post office except my small stone, Chinese chop and my five year diary.  As you watch the Olympics, and the opening night was meant to impress, keep in mind what is considered “private and personal” in a land of communism.


Glad to still have my travel journal from my trip to another communist country of the former Soviet Union where I noted the following on Day 19 of my 36 day tour, May 22, 1976.


We arrived into one of the four Moscow airports at 2:30 p.m. Our bus ride to Sputnik showed the bleak country with dismal housing and yards.  They were about 60 years old and sectioned off with fences.  All over could be seen women of stocky build in drab coats and scarves on their heads.  Their faces all the same – wide set, plain eyes, white skin, stern and sober.  We had a tour of the subways and they were immaculate, I was impressed.


On Day 27, May 30, 1976 I was going through culture shock when we arrived at Warsaw, Poland.  What a contrast from what I had seen in Russia:


But you can’t explain the Russian people, because they have duo personalities.  Cold and reserved on the public front but very warm and hospitable on a personal level.  It was like being in another world, mystical and ungraspable in all respects for my Western, capitalistic mind.  It was hard to acknowledge the fact that such a difference of mindsets would limit us in our movement far as to churches or other places of our interest.


Perhaps Solzhenitsyn had a duo personality and really did love America and the free air he breathed even though he steadfastly worked away on his writing about Russia and didn’t get to know many Americans or our culture.  The following helps explain Solzhenitsyn better and is from Christopher Hitchens column titled:  “The Man Who Kept on Writing”


But it seems that Solzhenitsyn did have a worry or a dread, not that he himself would be harmed but that none of his work would ever see print. Nonetheless—and this is the point to which I call your attention—he kept on writing. The Communist Party’s goons could have torn it up or confiscated or burned it—as they did sometimes—but he continued putting it down on paper and keeping a bottom drawer filled for posterity. This is a kind of fortitude for which we do not have any facile name. The simplest way of phrasing it is to say that Solzhenitsyn lived “as if.” Barely deigning to notice the sniggering, pick-nose bullies who followed him and harassed him, he carried on “as if” he were a free citizen, “as if” he had the right to study his own country’s history, “as if” there were such a thing as human dignity.

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