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Lady’s Finger

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As reported by many mass-media, recently a 21-year-old man from Pavlodar was arrested for 5 days for giving a middle finger to the cortege of the Chairman of the Senate of the RoK Parliament - Kairat MAMI.

It appeared that he is not the only citizen of Kazakhstan, who showed this gesture to VIP persons. My colleague – the editor of the newspaper “West Kazakhstan Today” (an English enclosure to Ak Zhaik newspaper) Zeena Urynbassarova remembered a fact when she, in similar way, tainted her clean biography in 2005.

At the time she had just returned from abroad where she lived for several years.  Then unemployed, she was building a pottery workshop, driving her old Zhigouli between Atyrau and Saraishyk (about 45km), taking construction materials to builders she hired for a couple of days.

“We, the townsmen, experienced a series of very tiresome VIP visits. That September was terribly hot: somewhere around +40 C, that’s for sure. I was carrying cement and the builders were supposed to finish pouring cement to the foundation. But they were idle, because I was senselessly stuck under the scorching midday sun at the Azattyk avenue on the right side of the road. The left side was completely cleared for VIP transport. The day before that I had spent a few hours in other traffic jam – because of the arrival of an official, and the day before that there was an ocean of cars stuck for three hours in the city outskirts: an important person was coming from Saraishyk (there is a museum and ancient city's archaeological site near the seven khans’ headquarters) to the city. Just imagine, there were no shops in the vicinity to buy refreshment drinks, no shelters where we could hide from the sun. When at last I arrived at the place, believe it or not, to quench the thirst I drank a whole bucket of water!

… When the cortege appeared and overtook Zeena’s car, she rolled down the window glass and put out her hand with a characteristic gesture to the VIP car driving past. The passengers of the VIP car were the then prime minister Daniyal Akhmetov and the governor of Atyrau Oblast Aslan Mussin.

- Did they see that?

- I believe so. But I am still of an opinion that it wasn't an act of hooliganism, but it was a gesture expressive of despair.

The traffic was opened. The car with flashers has overtaken her car in couple of minutes. Literally, at the next stop the freaked out policemen detained the troublemaker and convoyed her to KGB office- for the first interrogation. Then she was taken to police department.

- I was taken to a narrow corridor with jail cells with bars instead of walls (“monkey house”) and I remember that inside those cells there was nothing but a toilet bowl and frightening looking persons staring at me.  I sat opposite those people who silently were seizing the bars. I think, the police wanted to frighten me.

- And were you frightened?

- “No, she seems to be surprised with my question. – I was ordered to write an explanation. Then I was taken to court. I didn't admit any actions. The judges were confused. The security officers of the cortege over the portable radio were shouting at them. I heard them shouting: “Finish with her!” and the judges responded:”This gesture in our country doesn’t mean anything. What article should we charge her with?!” …

I could see that they were under the big pressure from the security of the Prime Minister and, eventually, the judge asked me to admit the guilt and promised not to punish me too strong. She kept her word. I was charged with a minor administrative violation, I don’t remember which one exactly, was imposed a fine of 900 tenge and was released. I came home in the evening.

-You are very lucky.

- Maybe. You know what? I remembered that it was the last VIP visit when the life of the whole city was brought to a halt to please the officials, when the roads were blocked and senseless traffic jams were created. I console myself with a little hope –maybe that spontaneous gesture of mine contributed to it, you think?     

By Zulfiya Bainekeyeva

January 17 2013, 22:42

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