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Kyrgyzstan

In Memory of The Cold War


Kyrgyzstan


Propagande

Pendant des annees jĄŻai eu peur dĄŻune attaque nucleaire sovietique. Je croyais que les Russes etaient pauvres et tenus en hotage par un regime dictatorial cruel. De rencontrer un Russe etait chose rare et je mĄŻimaginais les ecouter me raconter des histoires dĄŻhorreur sur le regime sovietique.

Maintenant que mon periple en se termine dans les ex-republiques sovietiques de l'Asie Centrale, je me surprends a trouver plusieurs similitudes entre les Nords Americains(e) et les Russes.




Propaganda

For years, I was scared of a USSR nuclear attack. I believed the Russians to be very poor and to be held hostage by a cruel dictatorship. Meeting Russians was rare and I imagined them telling horror stories about their country.

Now that IĄŻm ending my journey in the ex-Soviet Republics of Central-Asia, I am surprised to find many similarities between North Americans and Russians.




Deux Solitudes

Deux solitudes separees par une propagande mediatique bien soutenue. Deux grandes surfaces terrestres dont les populations rurales sont isolees du reste du monde et ainsi sans doute plus faciles a controler au plan de lĄŻinformation.

Ils nous croyaient souffrir sous le feux de la flamme capitaliste. Ils avaient foi en la Ą°force ouvriere sovietiqueĄ±. On se faisait servir Ą°lĄŻAmerican DreamĄ± et sĄŻimaginaient sauver le reste du monde de cet ogre communiste. Deux puissances mondiales qui ont profite de lĄŻintegration de petits pays sous leurs sphere dĄŻinfluence que ce soit par invasion militaire pour les Sovietiques ou par invasion economique pour les Americains.




Two Solitudes

Two solitudes split on one hand by the iron curtain and on the other by a well-maintained media propaganda. Two immense countries whose rural countrymen found themselves isolated from the rest of the world and therefore more easily fooled or simply misinformed.

The Russians imagined us suffering under the flames of capitalism. They had faith in their socialist labor force. Posters, patriotic songs and slanted news reports gave them a lopsided world view.

At the same time we were being spoon fed the Ą°American DreamĄ± and believed in saving the rest of the world from the Ą°Evil EmpireĄ±.

Meanwhile the Industro-Military machines in each country benifited with increased military spending and integration of numerous satellite countries under their sphere of influence. Sometimes by military presence for the Soviets, sometimes by economic entrapment (in the 3rd world) by the Americans.




Monoculture Humaine

LĄŻURSS sĄŻest acharnee a creer lĄŻhomme/femme sovietique sans religion, avec une seule culture et une seule langue et ce par la force.

De lĄŻautre cote de l'ocean, les nouveaux immigrants fraichement arrives en Amerique, se vouaient a laisser leur culture derriere pour mieux sĄŻintegrer au marche capitaliste. Combien dĄŻAlfredos sont devenus des Alfreds et de Schmidths se sont transformes en Smiths. Le resultat fut la creation dĄŻune monoculture parlant lĄŻAnglais-Americain et dont la religion chretienne promouvait le systeme capitaliste en place.




Human Monoculture

The USSR was enforcing the concept of aĄ°Prototypical Soviet CitizenĄ± which transcended any culture and tradition. The regime was using force to create this one people with one language, one culture and no religion.

Meanwhile, in the New World, the freshly arrived immigrants were working themselves out of any culture and tradition to better market themselves in this highly capitalistic world. Indeed, how many Alfredos became Alfreds and Schmidts became Smiths. Out of this effort was born a mono-culture, using the American-English as their language and whose Christian religion was supporting the capitalistic system in place.




Des Myosotis pour Micheline

Vive Le Sappage!

Sur une note un peu moins serieuse, on a adore la simplicite Russe. Un peuple sans pretention et terre a terre. Une blague que nous a raconte notre ami Vitaly, resume bien la situation.

"Un Anglais qui melange du sucre a son the, sĄŻexcuse si par erreur il fait du bruit en frappant sa cuillere sur sa tasse et sĄŻarrete immediatement. Un Russe prefere sĄŻexcuser continuellement tout en continuant de faire du bruit en melangeant son the."

Christopher nĄŻarrivait pas a comprendre cette blague car il ne voyait rien de mal a faire du bruit en melangeant le sucre a son the. Ca demontre bien lĄŻattitude des Americains et Russes face aux civilites.

Je dois dire quĄŻil nĄŻy a rien comme de manger un bon melon dĄŻeau ou boire son the, tout en sappant en compagnie de Russes et d'Americains.




Eidelweiss abounds over 3000 meters.

Viva Slurping!

On a lighter note, we found Russians to be unpretentious, earthy and not so hung-up on formalities, not unlike Americans. Our friend Vitaly told us a joke which portrays the Russian attitude well.

"When an English man stirs his tea and makes a clink by hitting his spoon on the tea cup, he apologizes at once by saying 'My Apologies'. A Russian man stirs his cup and while clinking the entire time says 'A thousand apologies, a thousand apologies'". Wylie didn't even get this joke. He kept wondering what was wrong with clinking your spoon while stirring your tea. That just goes to show how Americans and Russians are a bit "uncivilize" and feel that some civilities are pretentions.

There is nothing like eating a watermelon and drinking tea while slurping all the while in the company of North Americans and Russians.



Peace and Love

Des ideologies differentes ont trouve expression de facon similaire chez des peuples eloignes. Ą°CĄŻest cette grande chaine de la vie, ou il fallait que nous passionĄ­ Quand les hommes vivront dĄŻamour, il nĄŻy aura plus de misereĄ­ Ą° Claude Leveille

* * *
Despite different continents, ideologies and histories, we're not so different.

"Our lives are linked and we are called to be where we are... Let us live in love and put misery aside"

Claude Leveille







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Vitaly Gergert
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Torugart Pass
  Wylie and Helene - List of Journals
  Kyrgyzstan - Intro Average Rating of 29 Viewers
Chapters of Kyrgyzstan
  Tosh Bulak
  Goat's Head Soup
  Shepherd's Life
  Kol-Ukuk
  Hikes around Kol-Ukuk
  Yurt Erection - Part 1
  Yurt Erection - Part 2
  The Story of Kymys
  Vitaly Gergert
  In Memory of The Cold War
  Torugart Pass
  Kingdom Come
  Closing Thoughts

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