The thematic issue of our magazine about national heroes (No. 17, 2005) turned out to be quite ambiguous. It published the materials of authors from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, which told about the national heroes of these countries, their associated myths and what role they played in the cultural, and not only, life of states. Often, it even turned out that some states specifically tried to invent such heroes for themselves in order to bring the historical basis to their present, and, if possible, to the future. This problem, in the end, turned out to be so complicated that we didn’t manage to examine it in one (albeit thematic) number until the end, and so we decided to resume publishing materials on this topic. From time to time - as interesting articles become available - we will return to this topic. In our today's issue we are publishing an article from Kazakhstan, in which the author complains, just the lack of a national hero.
National heroes, myths and symbols exist among any people. Their names and value keeps the story. But, as the post-Soviet period showed, the history of the past, in turn, “may change” in the same way as our future and present. People who have received Soviet education have never heard the names of national heroes, which are told today by students of schools and other educational institutions of Kazakhstan. For example, the name of Mustafa Chokai, one of the representatives of the intelligentsia and a fighter for independence at the beginning of the 20th century, is probably familiar only to the younger generation. And there are more and more such examples. Of course, you need to value and preserve the memory of national heroes. But the constant engagement of all new and new heroes and their contradictory interpretation only makes it difficult to form a single image of a people.
Without a doubt, the images of national heroes carry an educational character. Previously, the younger generation always remembered the glorious ancestors of folk tales, epics, legends, about which grandmothers so skillfully told their grandchildren before bedtime. Today, children do not read books, and there are no cartoons about heroes, whose names are more often recognized after renaming Kalinin, Kirov or Dzerzhinsky streets ... Or did our grandmothers forget how to tell fairy tales? Hardly ... Their life was spent in the Soviet Union - so even this age-old source of folklore information cannot fill the historical gap of knowledge.
Now the countries of the former USSR rewrite history anew, proclaim new national heroes, erect monuments to them, print banknotes with their images, rename streets, theaters, universities. This is where cultural and historical disputes begin between the Central Asian countries. For example, in Kazakhstan, Al-Farabi is a descendant of the Kazakhs, because he was born in Otrar, in one of the ancient Kazakh settlements, al-Farabi in Kyrgyzstan is also considered to be his ancestor. In this case, all his works are written in Arabic. The controversial case with Genghis Khan. By all truths and non-truths “to make” the Kazakh of Genghis Khan has not yet succeeded, although they really wanted to ...
According to Oleg Sidorov, a political analyst at the Central Asian Foundation for the Development of Democracy, “even if certain people can and are descendants of one or another national hero who once lived in Central Asia, this will not improve their economy or standard of living. National heroes should not be hindered from the perspective of the formation of ideology. The heroes of antiquity cannot serve as an example when today new states, interstate associations, global structures have appeared, the world order has changed. Ideology must always evolve on the basis of today's realities. ”
In Kazakhstan, there is also no agreement between historians. For example, along with information from textbooks, opinions about the history of the creation of the Kazakh state and the emergence of a nation, its culture, writing, and way of life “flourish” in society. At the same time, numerous chronological and other inconsistencies and disagreements often arise. Someone wants to exalt the people too much, others, to the contrary, belittle.
At times, the society discusses the words of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on the creation of a common Kazakhstan state. Currently, Kazakhstan is a secular state, where according to the latest data there are about 140 peoples and nationalities. As in the USA, where numerous nationalities are merged, in any case, this is officially declared, into a single nation - of Americans, with a single ideology and the notorious “American dream”.
According to political analyst and national patriot Dos Kushima, “now Kazakhstan is more like emigrant states, for example, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. But ideology should serve as a basis for creating a state like France, England or Germany. ”
A small digression. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Report, Canada and Australia are among the top five countries with the highest human development index (HDI). Whereas Kazakhstan occupies only 80th place. However, this is only a statement of fact ...
“What is observed now in Central Asia cannot be called ideology in the full sense of the word. Because, in Soviet times, people from school were educated in the spirit of communism and knew exactly where they were going. A vacuum has formed in the space of the post-Soviet republics, which is filled with various religious movements. The activity of such groups indicates the absence of a valid ideology at the present time. There is also no well-developed ideology in Kazakhstan, the process is underway, but how long it will last will be, ”says Oleg Sidorov. In his opinion, the anti-state speeches that took place in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan this summer are nothing but the absence of a clear goal and ideology as such. The same reason gives the opportunity to intensify their activities to those organizations that already have their own program of action. That is, if these republics were able to fill that vacuum of communism in time, then in fact there would be no opportunity to carry out religious or apolitical interests on the territory of these republics.
As for the modern heroes of Kazakhstan, then, according to Kushima, “currently there are no national heroes in the country. Those groups of people who would like to form a national idea cannot do this now. The authorities are not interested in this, and the opposition doesn’t care about the national ideology, because the Kazakh opposition itself is Russian-speaking, they don’t really like the idea of reviving the Kazakh language and the Islamic religion. And the power and the opposition in this regard are one. And the third is the international communities, foundations, institutions, which are also not happy with the word nationalism or Kazakh Islam. For this reason, there are no such people or they cannot rise and promote the idea of a nation. ”