“Good news Pamiris,” writes [ru] Bektour Iskender, President of Kloop Media, a Kyrgyz news portal and blogging platform. “Wikipedia has provided permission to begin a version of the site in Shughni.” Shughni is one of the main languages spoken in Gorno Badakhshan province (GBAO), a remote, eastern part of Tajikistan dominated by the Pamir Mountains. Iskender helped local internet users file the request to create a Shughni section of Wikipedia following a new media training session in Khorog, the province's administrative capital, over two years ago. “Now begins the small matter of realizing [Wikipedia in Shughni]. But I can't help there, since I don't know a word of the language,” he says.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Central Asia & Caucasus
“Never eat overripe, clammy, flabby, wormy or spoiled mushrooms,” writes Ian Claytor, translating advice from Kyrgyzstan's Department for Disease Prevention and Expertise in his blog, Postcard from Bishkek. With the mushroom picking season underway in the former Soviet state, the Ministry of Health have come up [ru] with guidelines to help pickers enjoy the pastime safely.
It is a pity that instead of the ‘leninization’ of the monument space we now have its ‘somonization’. Every town erects a Somoni statue. How much more can we take? Why do we need so many identical monuments? Somoni might have been a heroic figure (which is impossible to ascertain now because the country’s history is excessively ideologized and politicized), but we should not turn him into a new Lenin, a ‘father’ or ‘grandfather’ of the nation.
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, is very active in social media, and her provocative Twitter posts and photos shared on Instagram often raise eyebrows among the mostly conservative audiences in Uzbekistan and other countries in the region. Blogger Ayana Seidimbek presents a collection of the most controversial posts and images the ‘Uzbek princess’ has shared in social media.More »
The Turkmen leader has recently fell off his horse after winning a race. The footage of the embarrassing incident had been made public by international media, and Turkmen dissidents are using the video as an opportunity to ridicule the president.More »
A father had a bad dream which now troubles him. So, he decides that his daughter will not travel anywhere. He takes away her passport and air tickets while she is sleeping, but the daughter takes the documents back. Finally, the father decides to lock his daughter at home to prevent her from leaving.
This was a real wedding. With limousines. With friends and guests. With champagne. With congratulatory speeches. You might ask, “but what about the law?” You see, love does not recognize the law. This is why the wedding took place. However, it was not [registered by the state]. Same-sex marriage are not allowed [in Kazakhstan].
…[M]uch information has been misunderstood due to lack of knowledge about the Caucasus or Russia and a desire to present the suspects in a framework easily understandable to the American public.
When will [the Turkmen leader] finally understand that the planned economy is not working? In order for the cotton sector to develop, cotton should be grown by private farms. Wouldn’t farmers be able to decide better how much cotton they should sow? Does the [president] sitting on a golden toilet in [the Turkmen capital] Ashgabat really know better how much cotton can be grown in the country than a person working on a field?
After going offline for about a week, the top Russian-language social network service Odnoklassniki has become available again to tens of thousands of users in Uzbekistan. Blogger Doch’ Bukhari (Bukhara's Daughter) explains [ru] why Internet users in the Central Asian country choose this social network over other ones and why the network is “addictive like a drug”.
[D]o something useful. Stop sticking your breasts there where they may offend people. And don’t stand in the way of real feminists doing their noble job.
Emma Sabzalieva writes about the controversy surrounding a dress code introduced recently at a university in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. The dress code requires that female students wear high heeled shoes and single-block color clothes to classes. The blogger asks:
Could it really be that the rector believes that ordering such a dress code <…> will enhance female students’ learning experience? Will it make them smarter or better equipped to learn?
About 2,000 young and well-educated professionals leave Kyrgyzstan every year. Begimai Sataeva on NewEurasia.net calls the outward migration of the bright and skilled young people a ‘real tragedy’ that affects Kyrgyzstan's economy and international competitiveness.
[I]n former Soviet Central Asia there is little debate that the root problem [of extremist beliefs] is “foreign ideas,” defined so broadly as to become a target of opportunity for both every political purpose and every local policeman or official’s ambition. Any sign of dissent from state policies or ideology <…> can be enough to bring the wrath of the state, sometimes with great violence.
Uzbek Music Friday is a (rare) feature in which I post a pop music video from an artist in Uzbekistan. It could be catchy, annoying, funny, insightful, brilliant, awful, or anything in between. It’s what’s playing on the radio, what all the cool kids are listening to these days… [It] gives you a glimpse into how pop music is done on this side of the world.
For anybody that has ever wondered whether Kazakhstan even has a political opposition, the answer is that it does, but not a very useful one.
About 20 countries and communities almost all over the world celebrate Nowruz today. Commonly known as the ‘Persian New Year,’ Nowruz has its origins in the ancient religion Zoroastrianism. Don Croner celebrates the holiday on the ruins of the so-called ‘Zoroastrian Tower of Silence’ in Uzbekistan. The blogger writes about the history of the festival and posts photos from the venue where people celebrated the holiday centuries ago.
The shattered system of primary and secondary education, corrupt and rotten system of higher education, the official clergy which has lost [people's] trust, the absence of state-controlled religious education, weak and will-less intellectuals, the presence of a large number of uncontrolled websites with extremist and jihadist content – these are the major reasons why an increasing number of young individuals in our country become extremists.
On January 23, 2013, an excerpt from the annual report of l'ACAT-France, A World of Torture 2013, makes a fresh assessment of the state of torture in the world [fr]:
“A report called A World of Torture in 2013, assesses torture practices that continue to be alarming, from Pakistan to Italy, by way of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Bolivia. From authoritarian regimes to democratic countries, none are exempt from criticism on the topic. In 2013, torture remains as endemic, omnipresent and multi-faceted as ever”.
Who cares if Valentine’s Day is a cheesy, commercialized Western export; sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to be romantic.
With this cultural virus we clearly see that if people want to have fun, nothing will stop them. Fighting with Western influence or restrictions on YouTube will not help the authorities.
Marat Tazhin, a senior government official in Kazakhstan ordered [ru] yesterday the creation of a database of the most popular bloggers and moderators of major social media networks in the country. He also ordered state-run media and press services of key ministries to “work closely” with the bloggers and use their expertise. Blogger Bravo Oscar suggests [ru] that the initiative amounts to a “recognition of Internet media, blogs, and social media as major players in the country's information space”. It also gives bloggers a chance to prove that they can work better than state-run media which they often criticize. Baglan Aidashov has collected [ru] the most interesting tweets, Facebook posts, and memes inspired by Tashin's initiative.
Blogger Teocrat calls [ru] on Tajikistan's young people to contribute to public consultations on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The aim of the consultations is to review progress towards the MDGs and hear from people what they think should come after 2015, the deadline set for achieving the Goals. Many users suggest in comments that education should be a main focus of the post-2015 development framework for Tajikistan.
Here in Kazakhstan, especially by Kazakhs, horse is considered to be a normal meat/edible flesh, in the same way as chicken, beef or fish is. Although horses bred for eating are treated very differently, and indeed look different, to those destined for racing or transport on the steppe, a horse is just another animal that serves a purpose.