For When Internet Jok 6

Although I’m often amazed at how great telecommunications work in this country, there are still stretches of time when internet jok — there’s no internet. In anticipation of those long hours, days, weekends, I like to load up on reading material while at work or cafes. [In this edition’s case, internet jok isn’t so much the problem as ubakyt (time) jok. I spent the summer working my butt off, and reading of all kinds — books, internet — fell to the bottom of my priority list, oops.] Here’s a compilation of some of the things that made me look twice and think a while, mostly about Kyrgyzstan, international development, foreign policy, feminism, and language. Enjoy.

Play Uzbek Music, But Only With Uzbek Instruments: The Uzbek Ministry of Culture and Sports has essentially (but not officially) banned the tar, a stringed instrument with Persian origins from Azerbaijan. The ways the Ministry is limiting the tar, and their control of the narrative surrounding the tar and Uzbek culture, is fascinating. “How far the authorities intend to go to enforce the use of only Uzbek instruments for playing Uzbek songs, or even all of what qualifies as a traditional Uzbek song is unclear (Look out Flyin’ Up).”

Yangalif: My good friend Valentina just finished a year as a Fulbright fellow in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she was researching alphabet reform and national identity in Kazakhstan. AKA right up my dang alley. Her website is a collection of informal interviews with Almaty residents on the subject, but each page also has nuggets about national identity, geopolitics, and ethnic tension. I’m obsessed, you should be too. “But with Latinization, the Kazakhs might have adopted the letter “j” for the sound “zh,” while the Uzbeks took “z.” This reflected on the pronunciation of words, and opened a rift between the languages. Even today, the linguistic differences between Uzbek and Kazakh, for example, are attributed to the Soviet border-drawing. Praise universality, realize sectionality.” 

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