Posts tagged WWII

Sadness about what media reports can do to people

We went to a wedding of a son of some friends of ours who we know from Ukraine days. We first met them in 1997 and have continued the friendship by letters, visits and e-mail.  They LOVED Ukraine so much that they studied the language and adopted a little girl even though they had three of their own boys (the second son got married today) and one daughter of their own.

The reception was held in an area that was separate and actually on the other end of town that I was familiar with.  I had gone to visit Dr. K. many times at his beautiful home but found on my searching that he had died a year ago.  He was very knowledgeable about Ukraine’s history and very winsome as well. I also found out that my former Ukrainian landlord and landlady are going through their own trials.  She has dementia and he at age 95 is being accused of being a leader of an SS group who massacred people back in Ukraine during WWII.  How preposterous is that?  He is a gentle soul and now the media, through these unfounded reports, are going after him to demoralize a very gentle soul.

I believe already that we live in a very wicked world, it is in a fallen state.  No matter how many laws are passed or how much is done to rectify the problems of this world, it always gets back to how greedy and malicious people are.  What is the point of victimizing this old man without any solid proof that he actually did what they accuse him of.  Why have the authorities going after him now?  To demoralize his more outspoken son?

I’m sad over this whole affair, what kind of lies are being repeated in Kazakhstan?  The enemy perpetuates these half truths or lies to further his agenda.  However, I know God and HIS truth are more powerful than all these lies put together.

Need some very good news about now.  At the wedding I heard about gas lighting which is an affliction of using manipulation to victimize people.  That is a small dose of that compared to what has happened to my former landlord.

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What about Winston Churchill?

young ChurchillI have long admired the vision of Churchill for what he saw and knew about the former Soviet Union and Stalin.  He saw through the veneer that was presented during World War II and I am sad that more people didn’t pay attention to what he knew.  The media force from the area of Russia was doing a full court press to make sure that the unsuspecting didn’t believe the anecdotes that were coming out of Russia and other parts of the Soviet Union.  The Australians have long known the truths of what REALLY happened once WWII was over, other generals and those in combat with the Allied forces knew what was happening when the Soviet Union wanted to take credit for ending the war against the Nazis.  Pity those people who were in the Russian quarters of Berlin because they were either sent back to their country, killed or exiled to Siberia.  Churchill some how knew but perhaps his hands were tied along with others.  The truth came out in reports by Malcolm Muggeridge and other reporters who started paying attention to those people who tried to get the message out about what was going on when things settled down.

That is why I think we need to look closely at what Winston Churchill said 116 years ago about something else he knew something about.  That is perhaps why our U.S.president who gave his usual State of the Union address the other night gave back the bust of Winston Churchill to U.K. when he first moved into the Oval Office.  He obviously didn’t like what Churchill stood for because of his own thorough-going beliefs.  What do you think?  This was penned by a young, but already wise beyond his years, Churchill.

The attached short speech from Winston Churchill, was delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many, but expresses in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language, of which he was a past master.
Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries. He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and British Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt. He was a prophet in his own time. He died on 24th January 1965 , at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral. HERE IS THE SPEECH:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa , raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome .”
Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London ).

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Memorial Day and Ukraine’s triumph

Today is a very important holiday for Americans, for some it means remembering those who have given their ALL for our freedoms. Sadly for others it means BBQ and being outdoors in the fresh spring air. I am reminded that during all the wars that Americans have fought in, “All gave some, some gave ALL!” The family members who are left behind to grieve, remember that. So, today my husband and I put up our two American flags to show any passersby that we remember the sacrifice of others for what we often take for granted. We went out to stalk asparagus in the ditches and came home with a fresh batch. Life is good.

My American friend, who is an economist, wrote the following earlier to her friends about what she has been doing as an election observer.

“So economic nerd thoughts on today: 1) we take so much for granted, like indoor plumbing and power. Schools in this town had indoor plumbing, the villages did not. 2) The average monthly income here is about 200 to 300 per month. We are paying our interpreter and driver over 300 dollars for four days work. No wonder they love elections! 3) gasoline (or benzine as they call it) is about 6 dollars per gallon-and we complain about 4 dollar gas ( and keep in mInd the average income above) 4) cars in Kyiv were Audi, Saab, Benz, and upward from there in price. Cars in Khmelnytsky were Honda, Kia, and the like. Cars in Slovuta (where we are stationed) are Lada (ancient Soviet brand) and in the villages it is bicycles, horses and walking. Net result of all this trivia-I am so very blessed and should be more grateful than I usually am. Lesson learned!”

Thankfully Ukraine got the right person to do the job the first time around. If it had been under 50%, they would have had to go through more uncertainty and waiting for a second election again. I am glad they have the former boxer as mayor of Kyiv. Time is of essence for all the new leaders in Ukraine. I am glad my friend is safe, here is what she wrote:

Happy Memorial DAy and thanks to all my family that have served!

I have spent two full days touring the villages of west central Ukraine and it is interesting to see a monument to soldiers in EVERY one of them. One SMALL village of about 700 adults had a multiple memorials to the 200 plus + lost in WWII.
More economic and farming reflections tomorrow. Tonight I am just tired after two days of little sleep, rough roads, trying to think in another language!

So, that is what I am thinking today, I know it is far removed from anything having to do with Kazakhstan. However, Ukraine wants peace and so does KZ and also the US. Too much blood has been shed already.

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“Why we LOVE the U.S.” Part II

My husband and I love the U.S. of A. for patently usual reasons. We both have lived in other countries so we have something to compare America to.  Of course, I believe all people should love their motherland, it is a good and proper thing to do.  If one doesn’t love their own country, to me, it is like not loving your own parents.  It was appropriate to have a gathering at the American embassy in Astana on July Fourth to celebrate our uniquely annual event each summer.  The ambassador, embassy staff, assorted guests and Peace Corps volunteers were in attendance. I would hope they all love our country as much as my husband and I do.

Regrettably there are Americans who think it is in vogue to dishonor our country and its flag. They do NOT love America, yet that is their citizenship.  Where else would they rather live? By hating their own country so, they are belittling the ultimate sacrifices made by others we so can enjoy our freedoms.  Many of these America-deprecating people are found in academia. They go “ho-hum” to Fourth of July events. They may take a break from their usual ivory tower activities or at the very worst continue to write untruths that they eventually feed to unsuspecting and vulnerable young Americans and foreign students who fill their classroom chairs.

Yes, it is no surprise to me that there are many unpatriotic professors who do not tear up when they hear the National anthem.  They don’t even put their hand to their heart or pretend to mouth the words.  I am wondering if they have even read the time-honored Declaration of Independence?  It makes for a worthy annual read, which I should do now.

But first, I appreciate President Ronald Reagan’s words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”  For many people in the former Soviet Union, freedom was not protected and many children suffered as a result.

I’m in the middle of reading a short book entitled “The Endless Steppe: A Girl in Exile “by Esther Hautzig. It starts out with Esther as a happy nine-year old girl in Poland but WWII interrupts her idyllic world.  She and her parents are transplanted in Siberia. This book was published in 1969, so the author knows just how awful the former Soviet Union was to their own people and those of neighboring countries such as Poland especially before WWII broke out.

The women in ALZHIR (concentration camp close to Astana, Kazakhstan) who survived their fabricated sentences also know how to survive as Esther Hautzig portrays in her book.  Back in the 1930s, one could be accused of mixing with the wrong crowd as “enemies of the people” simply by owning more than someone else.  Ownership and privilege came with a cost back in the former Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s. ALZHIR is a museum that shows the misery of the thousands of women from different countries in the Soviet Union who were sent there.

Perhaps that is why we love the U.S. because we know of the hardships of others during the Soviet Union, box cars full of people without freedom. Here are photos of names of women who lost their independence and who fought a different kind of battle of survival.

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Astana Victory Day Billboards–Grand Finale

I have many more photos of the Victory Day billboards which featured at least 65 of the WWII veterans.  We just finished celebrating 65 years since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Sadly, this will be the last that I’ll show these brave veterans on this blog.  Now I need to sit down with someone who knows both Russian and Kazakh to help translate the quotes of what each war hero said.  I can understand all their names and their ages but I need help especially with Kazakh.  Seeing these billboards on my bike rides towards the airport, south of Astana, was a nice surprise. It shows just how much respect the Kazakhs give to their older generation, something our American culture could learn something about the older I get.

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Happy Victory Day and Isa’s Grandparents

Today is the day that all the billboards around Astana have been leading up to, the 65 year anniversary when WWII ended.  Quite a celebration among those still living who fought in the Great Patriotic War.  I was pleased to find on my bike ride yesterday a billboard showing at least 65 of those older veterans who are featured on big billboards perhaps throughout Kazakhstan.  All I know is that they are bigger than life here in Astana.  Also, I have another story from a former student that rings true of a story I read before.  I think this student from Astana might be related to another student I had in my class in Almaty.  A Kazakh leader in an army had to convince his troops to go through the river even though it was cold and icy.  He soon died afterwards from hypothermia. I need to find the similar story from the other student about this same war hero because these two people are probably related and don’t know it.  One last poem dedicated to the heroes who are still living:

“Human strength and human greatness
Spring not from life’s sunny side,
Heroes must be more than driftwood
Floating on a waveless tide.”

The following essay is from Isa’s family.  All my students have amazing stories about their ancestors.  I’m proud of all who write to let me in on their families’ greatness.

“Do you know that in Kazakhstan relatives from father’s side more intimate than from mother’s? So, I will start about my grandparents from father side.  I know that my ancestry from father’s line were Arabs. My clan like royal family in Britain, but with another predestination, they came from Arabia hundreds years ago for the purpose of propagation of Islam. Clan’s name is Kozha. It’s very respected family. Members of the family were always involved to regime.

At home we have a sword which descends from father to son. And in the future father will give me this family relic, because I am his first son. Sometimes the whole of clan assemble together at grave of common ancestor. I have been at this gathering once. I didn’t see my grandfather, because he died before my birth. He was well-educated. He was first mechanical-engineer in our village. Also he taught young people how to repair engines. People who have known him say that he was good in every respect. His death was heroic. Father said that people from our village had to cross river. It was winter. Somebody had to test ice for strength, and my grandfather said that he would do it. At the middle of the river he came down to water. But he came up. He fell sick. He had supercooling. He died after that. But people say about his heroism every time. It wasn’t only once. People remember him as the hero. Both of my grandfathers were sturdily-built .

Clan from mother’s side was very warlike. It was very trustworthy clan. A lot of famous Kazakh warriors were from this kin. The name of kin is Argyn. They were well-known as good riders.  My grandfather from mother side lived near coal mine. Once when he were child he found dynamite, he didn’t know what was it. He played with it, and it exploded. He lost three fingers and one eye. But it wasn’t end for him. He finished school and university. He was popular veterinary. He very liked horses. Horses were something for him. He had horses for race-meeting. My grandmother was brilliant mathematician. She could do difficult problems mentally. She finished only school, but she was very clever.”

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Astana Billboards (Part II)

Here’s a continuation of yesterday’s theme of showing WWII (Great Patriotic War) veterans who are featured on Astana billboards going to the airport south of town.  I will try to get English translation for what is written in Russian or Kazakh next to each photo. I believe Kazakhstan does a good thing by honoring their older people who are still living, would we do such a thing in the U.S? I wonder.  For now, here is a poem that I like:

“Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain; it will blend again
With the major tone you know.

What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.”

Not sure who gets the credit for the above poem but I like it.

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Dana’s Relative was famous among the girls and broke many hearts!!!

I want to tell you one story about my grandparent. My grandfather Kabulda lived in the village Maikain with his 3 brothers, 2 sisters and mother near the Pavlodar city. My Grand-grandmother married when she was 13 years old and gave birth for the first baby at this age. She was a long-liver person and died when she was more than 100. The father of my grandfather died during the World War II when my grandfather was 6 years old.

All the brothers were very famous, beautiful and popular in their village, especially among the girls. The elder brother was the strongest and most popular so that everyone who knew him were afraid him. But the jealousy among the girls was too much. And in order not to have him with anybody they drowned him in the lake.

As stated earlier, it was after the World War II. At that time Kazakhstan was different from how it is now. Most of the people who lived in the villages led a simple life, no education. There was no police, no government or president. At that time Kazakhs lived like in tribes. So, most people were uneducated. My grandfather and his brothers was a aftotitet people in the village.

The elder brother was the most popular, aftoritet, beautiful person with charisma. He was famous among the girls and he was not married till he was in his 30s. For Kazakh mentality to be a beautiful, not married till 30 for man was unacceptable. The girls of the village killed him. All the girls who had been deceived by him drowned him in the lake. I think that he promised everything to every girl sometning and didn’t do that.

The ancestry of my grandfather was closely related to the mathematics, and most of them were scientists. My grandparent was also closely related to the mathematics, but he became an accountant and then a financial director. When he was young he was in Olympic reserve, long –distance runner. But because of injury he left sport. He didn’t marry until he was in his 30s, at that time most of the guys married before 23-24. He was smart, a man of handsome presence. On the wedding of his brother he met a girl. First that he mentioned was the way that she dressed and gloves on her hand. She was so beautiful, fashionable and young, and he fell in love to my grandmother Kalimash. It was love from the first sight. Love…at he’s 30s he met his love. They decided to marry, but Kalimash was sister of the wife of his brother. All the relatives were against of this marriage. However, love became stronger and relatives couldn’t block their way. And they get married. From this marriage they have 3 girls and one boy. The first baby is my mom.

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Great Patriotic War Medals and Memorials

medalsI often wonder what happens to all the medals that were given out to veterans of Soviet wars once they die. Do those medals on veterans’ chests during Victory Day eventually end up on the sidewalks for sale? Funny that they should be sold next to silverware and books on Sufiism. See also the memorials that are in every small town throughout Kazakhstan to remember the courage the Red Army soldiers had while fighting during WWII.WWII memorialWWII soldiers

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Zhanar’s Family Survived Famine After WWII

As I am an ordinary Kazakh girl I also have got a lot of grandparents, because we call “azhe” our own grandmother and her sisters, and call “ata” our own grandfather, and his brothers, even though many of them passed away, I still have a grandmother who told me story of her childhood and the life of her father. My whole family from my father’s side comes from an ordinary family who had always lived in a village of Western Kazakhstan, so called “sovhoz”.

First of all, let me tell you about my Grandmother’s father, his name is Shinibek and he was born in a family with not so many children. He had lost his parents when he was still a child and lived very poor, he did not get an education as many people of that time, and he got married early. During that time (about 1930s) medicine was very poor especially in sovhozs, which was the main reason why my great grandma lost 4 of her children: all of them died from different diseases that are curable nowadays. My grandmother was the 5th child and the only one who survived. She was born in January of 1940, just after her birth, her father was sent to Finn War, this was at the beginning of World War II. He fought there for a couple years and later he was sent to war between the USSR and Japan. Meantime in 1946 when my grandma was only six, her mother died and she was taken by our relatives to live.
In 1947 her father came back from the war but it did not mean that for my grandma times became better, she also has seen times of starvation when all people where given out bread by coupons ( about 1952-53). She did manage to get her education of 11 grades but still she remembers those times as being very hard.

Shinibek ata married another woman whose name was Kapiza who became a stepmother to my grandmother. Raikhan azhe, who is my grandmother, got married to my grandfather Sali, they together gave birth to 5 sons and one daughter. The second child was my father. But, to tell, the truth, officially, I have no right to call my real grandmother Raikhan “azhe” because she gave my father to her stepmother Kapiza. She was my azhe when I was born, and she was the one who raised me and taught me speaking, but she died when I was 7. So I have Raikhan apa(aunt from Kazakh), whom I first time in my life called azhe, just because, otherwise, I would have confused you.


The tradition of giving the oldest child was very popular among Kazakhs of earlier centuries but even today some families do so. Because we have very strong connection between relatives and we give oldest son, so that when he grows up he could take care of elder people.


There is also another story that Raikhan apa told me, this is about her husbands father, whose name was Berkali and he was the Head (predsedatel) of Aul Sovet, but when there was a repression in 1939, due to a slander to his authority he was sent away. In 1952 he was discharged officially but nobody knew where he was and we even do not know where his grave is.

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