Friday, April 5, 2013

Rock, thefts, and racism

June 7, 2008

I didn’t write much about the rock festival that K and I went to last Saturday, as I was more concerned about my stolen wallet. (I’m still rather concerned about the loss of the drivers license, as according to the DMV website, you need to know your license number in order to replace it, and I don’t.) Anyway, as I mentioned in the post about the wallet, the sound quality at the rock festival was definitely sub-par. Even groups which we had heard before, which we knew normally sounded good (such as our friends in the band Cadillac), sounded terrible at this event. As such, I won’t bother wasting my time uploading any videos. I will, however, post some shots of Cadillac performing:

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While at the festival, we ran into Lyuba, a girl of 17 who is one of K’s former students. I told her how I’d just had my wallet stolen, and her reaction was, “But you’re OK, right?” She then gestured to a vertical scar bisecting her lower lip and told me the following story:

One night as she was walking home, she was surrounded by a group of Kyrgyz men. (I should probably mention that Lyuba is ethnically Russian and doesn’t speak any Kyrgyz.) They began shouting at her in Kyrgyz, then one of them pulled out a knife. At this point she gave them her wallet, saying (in Russian) “Take my money, but please don’t hurt me.” They took her money, then one of them punched her in the face, splitting open her lip and knocking her to the ground. They kicked her repeatedly as she lay on the ground. Later, Lyuba was told by several ethnic Kyrgyz to whom she related this tale that “her people” often attack/injure/kill Kyrgyz people in Russia, so she probably deserved it.

The thing is, there definitely are racially motivated attacks against non ethnic-Russians in Russia, but that hardly justifies retribution against 17 year old girls in Kyrgyzstan! Additionally, I find it fascinating that both in Russia and here in Kyrgyzstan, my students have insisted that racism is a problem endemic to America (I was told just last night that in America all whites hate all blacks and vice versa!) and that there is no racism in either Russia or Kyrgyzstan...

On a lighter note, I bought a new wallet:

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