I wrote a blog yesterday, suggesting that we should stop marking the Independence Day, perhaps along with the Constitution Day, introducing the Tajikistan Day instead.
It appears that there are other people in Tajikistan who see no reason in celebrating the holidays we observe these days. On Blogiston.Tj, Ovora tries to make sense of the Constitution Day (6 October):
Original in Russian: я вдруг задала себе вопрос: а почему мы вообще празднуем день конституции? что именно мы отмечаем в этот день?
если мы создали этот праздник только для того, чтобы праздновать сам факт наличия у нас конституции, то это глупо. в мире всего три страны не имеют писанных конституций. во всех остальных госудаствах конституции есть. значит праздновать то, что у нас есть своя конституция это так же как, например, человеку гордиться тем, что у него есть пальцы.
если же мы создали этот праздник для того, чтобы отмечать уникальность нашей конституции, то опять таки глупо получается: наша конституция ни чем не уникальна.
так зачем нам нужен день конституции? отмечать этот праздник так же нелепо, как день уголовного кодекса или какого-нибудь закона о рыбалке.
My translation: I asked myself: why do we mark the Constitution Day anyway? What exactly do we celebrate on this day?
If we have created this holiday only to celebrate the very fact that we have a constitution, than this is stupid. There are only three countries in the world that do not have written constitutions. All other countries have constitutions. Therefore, celebrating the fact that we have a constitution is like being proud of the fact that we have fingers.
And if we have created the holiday in order to celebrate a unique constitution, we are stupid again, for our constitution is not unique in any way.
So why do we need the Constitution Day? Observing this holiday is as absurd as celebrating the Day of the Criminal Code or some kind of a Day of the Fishing Law.
I couldn’t say this better.
It is very sad that the government chose not to mark the 90th anniversary of Tajikistan. It is particularly sad because we really need such anniversaries – anniversaries of real events that nobody is going to dispute – to boost patriotism and a sense of national unity in the country.
Although we have missed the opportunity to celebrate 90 years since the creation of the first explicitly Tajik state, we can still compensate for this by doing several things. First, I think we could replace the Independence Day we observe every year with Tajikistan Day falling on October 14 or October 15, the day when the Soviet Tajikistan was founded. We should be honest with ourselves: we have little to celebrate on Independence Day. Unlike many other nations, we did not fight for independence or put too much effort into becoming independent. Independence was effectively forced upon us at the time when most Tajiks wanted the republic to remain part of the Soviet Union. So, Independence Day is devoid of real meaning. Removing the Independence Day from the national calender and replacing it with the Tajikistan Day could be a way to get a real holiday, the holiday that most people in the country would have no problem understanding and relating to. On this day, we could celebrate the fact that there is a Tajik state. It might even be a good idea to stop observing another meaningful holiday, the Constitution Day, and make the Tajikistan Day last for two days in a row.
Prison amnesties are a good thing. I have just learnt that the amnesty which is currently under way in Tajikistan is the sixteenth over the last two decades. But I have also learnt that many of the amnestied individuals return to prison soon after being pardoned.
Isn’t it something that should be expected? You pardon individuals who spent several years behind bars, have no jobs, perhaps have no family to go back to, and face serious discrimination once they are free. Isn’t it only logical to assume that many of these individuals will not like going hungry and stigmatized? Isn’t it plausible to assume that many of these individuals might commit crimes – perhaps the easiest way available to them of earning bread?
Pardoning prisoners is a good thing. But I would argue that amnesties should not occur unless we offer the pardoned individuals opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration as well as incentives to use these opportunities.
Like in previous years, the discussion also happened on Blogiston.tj, a popular local blogging platform.
Sounding a nationalist alarmist note similar to the one featured in Part One, Sitora Yusupova wrote in Tajik:
Original: Чашни холлуин моликияти аврупо мебошад (ба мо расм шудааст, ки ба чуз илм ва хунар дигар амалхоро таклид созем ва худро чун заррае ба аврупоихо монанд бисозем, кани чавони англисе, ки икдом гирифта бошад то наврузро чашн бигирад?)
My translation: Halloween is a European holiday. It becomes more common for us to imitate Western values. Are there any Englishmen who want to celebrate our Navruz?
What is the biggest threat to the national and religious identity of Tajiks? Any guesses?
Well, according to social media users in the country, that threat might very well be Halloween. Yes, I am serious. No, most people in Tajikistan have probably never heard of Halloween. But the young people in urban areas know about the holiday. And when these people put on their Halloween costumes, they tick everyone off and become a favourite target for angry nationalist comments on social media.
This happened last year and the year before (also this). This is happening again this year.
Ninety years ago, in October 1924, the Bolsheviks created a new political entity, the Tajik Republic. The republic initially had a status of an autonomous republic within the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). Five years later, in October 1929, a modified Tajikistan was promoted to the status of a Soviet Socialist Republic.
So, this October, Tajikistan could choose between celebrating the 90th anniversary of the creation of a political entity called Tajikistan or the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Tajik SSR. Given the country’s passion for anniversaries and celebrations, it would have been logical to assume that the country would celebrate the both anniversaries. Instead, none was celebrated.