Halloween Horror in Tajikistan. Part One

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.

Dressing “like monkeys”

So, what is all the fuss about? A local dance group organized a Halloween-themed party at a popular night club in Dushanbe. People coming to the night club were encouraged to wear costumes and have their faces painted by a group of volunteers. About an hour into the fun, police officers entered the club, switched off the music, and turned on the lights. They ordered that people take off their masks and wash the paint off their faces, explaining that covering a face is illegal. Police officers also questioned the organizers of the event about the character and origins of Halloween, before shaming the young people for celebrating an “alien” holiday.

Next day, the incident was in the news. But if you think that was enough of an embarrassment for the authorities, you are wrong. A couple of days after the incident, the Ministry of Culture decided that what had happened merited an official reaction. A senior official from the Ministry told a journalist that holding a Halloween-themed event without a formal permission from the Ministry of Culture and police was illegal. The official also said:

Original in Tajik: Ин давлат бе дарвоза нест. Ҳама бояд дар асоси қонун мактуб кунанд, маълумот диҳанд ва агар мо иҷоза диҳем, бояд шӯъбаи корҳои дохилӣ ҳам огоҳ карда шавад. Қоида ин хел аст, ки масалан, мо як барномаи консертӣ мекунем,  албатта, онро ҳукумат мебинад, комиссияи махсус мебинад ва баъд ба халқ пешниҳод мешавад. Яъне ҳар ҷашну хурсандӣ бояд дар доираи қонун сурат гирад…

Ин чӣ хел 4 ва ё 100 кӯдак баромада аз пеши худ ҳар коре ки хоҳанд, мекунанд? Мо чунин иҷоза надодаем аслан. Агар муроҷиат шавад, мо бояд бинем, омӯзем ва баъд иҷоза диҳем. Рафтору кирдорро бинем, агар гиранду худро мисли маймун кунанду бароянд, ин ҷомеа куҷо меравад?

My translation: Our state is not without a gate [read: the state should be in control of everything]. The law requires that everyone [wishing to organize events like that] should send us a letter, provide information about the event, and, if we give a permission, police should also be informed. The rules stipulate that if someone, for example, wishes to organize a concert, the content of the concert should be examined by the government, a special commission; only after that the concert can be presented to the public. In other words, all events and all fun should happen within the confines specified by the law…

Why should we allow four or 100 children to do whatever they want? We did not give them the permission [to hold the Halloween event]. If they send us a request for permission, we have to look into it before granting a permission. We should also see how these people behave. If these people decide to dress like monkeys and walk outside like that, what will happen to our society?

Well, I am not aware of a single Tajik law banning people from dressing “like monkeys” or requiring that people get a permission before putting on Halloween costumes. Apparently, I am the only one who cares.

Tajikness, Islam, and Halloween

On social media, few Tajiks were bothered by the fact that the authorities acted in a profoundly stupid way and that the police might have even violated the law by breaking into the Halloween party. Instead, the discussion took a nationalist turn, with people arguing that the Tajik identity was endangered by Halloween and everything it represented (essentially “western” and “non-Islamic” values).

Most of the discussion happened on three platforms: Facebook, Radio Ozodi website, and Blogiston.tj.

On Ozodi, under a news report about police breaking into the Halloween event, “Andesha” said:

Original in Tajik: Ин дар асл, аслихаи идеоологи мебошад.Окибати ин заррар ба дин аст.Ба монанди Pussi Riot.

My translation: In essence, [this holiday] is an ideological weapon that has bad consequences for religion. It is similar to Pussi Riot.

“Nom” wrote:

Original in Tajik: дигар кор наефтен хамиш намерасид тамоми Корхои аврупоиера карден инш монд

My translation: Don’t they have anything else to do? They do everything that people in Europe do. Now this.

“SS” said:

Original in Tajik: Ana in kori milisaro bovari doram hama tarafdori mekunand. Ba zuri boz 2 rukat namozkhonishon medokhten

My translation: I believe that everyone supports police in what they did. Police should have also forced these [young people] to pray.

“Safar” suggested that the young people attending the Halloween event were ethnic Russians:

Original in Tajik: Хубшон карданд. ин ид ба мардуми мо хеч алокаманди надорад. Инро саршавии экспансия ба фарханги мо меган. Агар сари вакт пешашро нагирем фардо дер мешавад. На миллат мемонаду на таъриху фархангаш. Бинед аксарияти ончо будагихо русхоянд. Хайр агар хоханд, раванд дар Руссия корашонро кунанд. Ачиб, ки инро на дар Узбакистон мебиниву на дар Туркманистон.

My translation: [Police] did the right thing. [Halloween] has nothing to do with out people. This is the beginning of an assault on our culture. If we don’t stop it now, tomorrow will be too late. There will be no nation, no history, and no culture left. Look, the majority of people [at the party] were [ethnic] Russians. If they wish, they can go to Russia and do all they want there. It is surprising that things like that don’t happen in Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan.

Russians? Why not Freemasons? Enter “Mahmud”:

Original in Tajik: як кори ахмакияй мане намедора….. и ай масоно омадагияй

My translation: This is a stupid and senseless [holiday]… It has masonic origins.

“Rustam” suggested that the celebration of Halloween should be formally banned:

Original in Tajik:  Кори Вазири дохила ва коркунони вазорати дихили 1000%рост аст,ин гурух аз дину оин дуро набояд монд ки аньанахои зидди мусулмонро дар ватани махбуби мо пахн кунанд. мо точикон 99%талаб дорем ,ки конуне бояд дар парлумон кабул шавад тачилан ки чашни ин иди Хеловинро дар Точикистон мань кунанд

My translation: Police did the [right] thing. That group should not act outside the confines of the religion and and should not disseminate anti-Muslim traditions in our Motherland. We, the 99% of Tajiks, demand that the parliament make a law banning Halloween in Tajikistan.

“Anglichan” warned that allowing people to celebrate Halloween today might prompt the gay community to be more assertive:

Original in Tajik: Ин на идди англис асту на иди немис. Ин ид дар Амрико “тавлид” шудааст. Чои шаке нест, ки ин ид чун абзори тачовузи фарханги истифода мешавад. Кормандони милиса дуруст карданд. Имруз инро чашн гирифтанд, фардо гей-парад мегузаронанд. Парламенти Точикистон низ бояд мисли Россия ва Киргизистон конунхои махдудкунандаи ингуна чамомаду маъракахоро кабул кунад.

My translation: This is not an English or German holiday. This holiday comes from [the United States]. There is no doubt that this holiday is used as a weapon of cultural intervention [assault]. Police did the right thing. Today they celebrate [Halloween] and tomorrow they will hod a gay parade. The parliament of Tajikistan should follow the example of Russia and Kyrgyzstan in making laws that would disallow such events.

“Benom” had a similar concern:

Original in Tajik: Бояд инхоро дар тв нишон диханд ва чарима кунанд… Бовари дорам кадом рузе чашни хамчинсхоро кайд мекунанд.

My translation: These people should be shown on television and fined… I think one day they will celebrate the holiday of homosexuals.

Ma’rufullo claimed that celebration of Halloween is a sign of a lack of religiosity:

Original in Tajik: Наход,ки тоҷик ҳам ин корро кунад. Бахудо айб. Ин амал сустии ИМОНРО нишон медиҳад. Зеро кадом ҷавоне,ки ба ин маҳфил рафтааст ,ба фикрам на намоз мехонаду на роҳ суи масоҷид мегирад.

My translation: I can’t believe that a Tajik would do that [celebarte Halloween]. Honestly, this is shameful. It demonstrates how weak people’s faith is. I think that the young people who attended the event do not pray or attend a mosque.

Sarafroz wrote:

Original in Tajik: Ин ид барои мардуми точ,ик ва мусальмон бегона аст. Ин ид яке аз иди бузургтарини шайтон парастон мебошад, мо агар худро мусаьмон гуем, набояд иди душмани одам ва дини исломро ч,ашн гирем. Вак,тхои охир миллати мо кавказпараст ва аврупо параст шудааст. Расму одати точ,икии худро фаромуш накунед бародарон, баъд ба худо к,асам ба шумо намезебад… Бехтараш таърихи бузургро сахт к,апед!

My translation: This holiday is alien to the Tajik people and to all Muslims. This is one of the major holidays celebrated by the worshippers of Satan. If we call ourselves Muslims, we should not celebrate the Satan’s holiday. Our nation has recently emulated people from the Caucasus and Europe. Brothers, do not forget what true Tajiks are… Preserve our great history!

Jamol said:

Original in Tajik: Миллати точик тамаддун ба умки таърих дорад ва баъдан чун 98 фисади точик мусалмон ва мазхабиянд ва пайрави аз миллат ва дини бегона беаклист ва баъдан Амрико бо чахони ислом хеч хушбин нест ва мутмаинам ,ки ин сиёсати Чахонишави ва бархурди тамаддунхост.Икроран тамаддуни милли+динии мо аз онхо авлотар аст барои нафари муъмин!

My translation: The Tajik nation has a great history and great culture, and 98 percent of Tajiks are religious Muslims. Emulating another nation and copying alien holidays is stupid. Besides, [the United States] is not a friend to the Islamic world; it follows the policy of the clash of civilizations. Our national and religious civilizations is greater than theirs.

A similar discussion took place under a news article about the Ministry of Culture’s reaction to the Halloween event.

“Benom” asked:

Original in Tajik: куда мы катимся таджики миллат ай даст мерава

My translation: Tajiks, where are we heading? We are going to lose our nation.

“Tojik” wrote:

Original in Tajik: Hama on nafarone ki in jashnro jashn megirand javonone hastand ki da maktabhoi russi ta’lim yoftaand! unho huvviyati milli nadorand, az farhangu oini begonagon bohabarnd az farhangi hudashon ne !! in aybi volidayni onhost ki hissi milliro dar farzandonashon tarbiya namedihand !! Sharm bar in javononi begonaparst !!!

in hel padidaho boyad az hozir nazorat shavand !.. Vazorati farhang hamun REPERU REP saroihoro ham nazorat bared ! dided oqibati ozodi dodan ba un javononi repsaro ba kujo burda istodaast !!! NAzorat kuned !! millat oludai har gariziho shuda istodaast !!!

Ba bahonai demokratiyavu ozodi shuda mo Farhangi boyu ganiro gum karda istodaem !! javonon ba farhangi begona zavq paido kardaand!! Hama maktabhoi shahsivu, russivu, horiji boyad saht taftish shavand az tarafi Vazorati Maorif !! talabahoi donovu umedbaksh tarbiyai farhangi begonaro girifta istodaand !!! 1 tash farhangi Turkiro az hud kardaast, digarash farhangi rusro, in navbaromadosh ba avrupovu amrico chaspidaand !!! Hukumat boyad sari in masala jiddi fikr kunad !!

My translation: All those who celebrate this holiday were educated in Russian schools. They don’t have a national character. They know the culture and traditions of the strangers, but they do not know their own culture. Their parents are to blame for failing to educate them in the national tradition. Shame on these young people for emulating the strangers.

Such events should be strictly monitored… The Ministry of Culture should also monitor rap music and rappers. Do you see the consequences of allowing these young people to sing rap? Monitor them! Our nation is in danger.

Democracy and freedom are used as an excuse, we are losing our rich, great cultural heritage. Young people become fond of alien cultures. Ministry of Education should closely monitor private, Russian, and foreign schools. Knowledgeable and talented students are receiving an alien cultural education. Some of them adopt Turkish culture, some Russian culture, and the [young people celebrating Halloween] emulate Europe and America. The government should pay a serious attention to this.

“Natsionalist” also blamed “foreign” schools:

Original in Tajik: In jashnro asosan dar muasisahoi talimi zabonhoi xoriji jashn megirand. In idi amrikoihost. Baroi mo Tojikon ki hama musalmonem munosib nest jashn giriftanash. Zero dar in jashn mo arzishhoi dinii xudro poymol mekunem. Az digar su in Xud PROPAGANDAI Amriko va Angliya meboshad…

My translation: This holiday is mainly observed in foreign education institutions [in Tajikistan]. It is an American holiday. We, the Tajiks, are Muslims and should not celebrate the holiday. By celebrating this holiday we give up our religious values. The holiday is also part of American and British propaganda…

“Firuz” suggested that the country should “cleanse” itself of foreign cultural elements:

Original in Tajik: Boyad az “hellovin”sar karda to rasmu rusumi pokistonivu arabiro niz az bajn burd.Man hamchun tojiki hakiki az tamomi rasmu odobi tojiki-forsi istifoda mekunam…

My translation: Starting with Halloween, we should also eliminate Pakistani and Arab traditions and values. As a true Tajik, I only follow the Tajik-Farsi traditions and values…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s