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Lament over Saraishyk

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The country which is constantly shaken by corruption scandals, where everything is plundered, will never pay attention to its cultural heritage.


In Kazakhstan the personality of Korkyt - Ata is very important, he is the object of worship and is considered the saint. Korkyt - Ata was a wise man, a philosopher, the author of the epos “Kitabi Dede Korkyt” (“The book of the grandfather Korkyt”. He also was a musician and the creator of kobyz - the most ancient string instrument.
Here what the Turkish writer Fuat Kapryu said about the importance of the epos “Kitabi Dede Korkyt,” the literary monument of the 11th century, this greatest achievement of Turkic spirit: “If to put all Turkish literature  on one bowl of scales, and on the other  – “Kitabi Dede Korkyt”,  the latter will outweigh”.
I once became interested where the grave of this saint man Korkyt-Ata is and travelled to the village of Karmakshy, in Kyzylorda Oblast.   
But I could not find his tomb. It was washed away by the Syr-Darya River. The river washed away the tomb and with it the relics of Korkyt-Ata.
The question  how it was possible to allow such thing to happen –  worries me all the time.
I also don’t have answers to the other questions: why the epos manuscript of ”Kitabi Dede Korkyt” is in Vatican, and the second manuscript is in Dresden in Germany?                            And will this book be included into the school curriculum?
Why the state policy doesn’t support the projects aimed at preservation and salvation of our historical monuments?
The answer, in my opinion, is simple. It is easy to fool and subdue ignorant people to their will. For this reason for many centuries our history is being destroyed, our historical memory is erased and without basic knowledge of history people today simply act as ordinary ignoramuses - mankurts (zombies deprived of their memories).


The similar destiny is now foreordained for the ancient settlement of Saraishyk.
While our officials are occupied with theft and wrangles, our ancient cities are disappearing in front of our eyes.
Where can we learn to respect our own history, our own great past? How could we get rid of a total mankurtizm?
By the way, one of items found in Saraishyk, was the manuscript (was preserved in a bronze tube), the stories about the Turkic people written in the form of the poem (the author is Youssuf Balasagoun, 11th century) and is called “Kutadgu bilig” that is translated as “The wisdom that brings happiness”.
The destiny of this manuscript is also held back.
By the way, the legend also says that the Kazakh Khan Kassym (ruled in 1503-1523) rests here in Saraishyk and there are few meters left between his tomb and the destructive tides of the river.   
What have we preserved, what is left from the history? What monuments? After all, except Saraishyk, we had nothing to brag before other civilized nations?
The sentence is issued. Saraishyk, as the last stronghold of our old times, is silently and quietly dying. It is dying because of our greed, of our desire to receive an instant profit. Prevalence in the consciousness of the society, of so-called, “market values” also leads to indifference and disrespect to our history.
The lack of sense of belonging to our land, the absence of feeling of belonging to our culture generates such indifferent attitude to our heritage.
In general, the city of Atyrau now turned into the city of temporary people who are not  attached neither to our land, nor to our history.
During the Soviet period, the retired  high rank officials moved to Almaty. In Atyrau they lived and worked temporarily.
The modern day officials have chosen London and other overseas cities. Now they are ’lodging’ themselves in there.
We need to change our mentality of a petty dealer who doesn’t understand the true value of our heritage - our history.
We should all feel that the soil is crumbling under our feet. Then, probably, something will change.
There is a strong need for introduction of the law that would hold responsible those who allowed the destruction of the historical monuments due to negligent attitude.

Agip and the background of river bank reinforcement

Since 1998, various options for construction of protective works aimed at preservation of the ancient settlement of Saraishyk had been offered. However, none of those options were implemented due to indifference and sabotage of succeding officials, the high cost of proposed projects (the costs were estimated at 5 million dollars), and groundless statements of the top officials about allegedly small historical value of Saraishyk, and other manifestations of nonsense and short-sightedness.
In 2007, one of Atyrau NGOs approached several companies, including the national oil company, with the idea to save the ancient settlement of Saraishyk. The NGOs proposed to the companies a relatively inexpensive engineering solution that was borrowed from the people’s experience and was well tested in practice of protection of private gardens and houses located on the steep river banks.
It was only Agip that showed interest in the issue and even developed  a few options for the protection of the site from destruction. The cost of the project was estimated at approximately 1 million dollars.
However, due to the events of 2007-2008 connected with the contractual obligations of the company, as well as political issues between the Government of Kazakhstan and the North Caspian Consortium, Agip was unable to progress the project.       
We don’t value our past, and the nation that doesn’t remember and doesn’t value its past, has no future.
 And Lev Gumilyov’s words should be a reminder to us all: "Who owns its past, will own its present; who owns its present will own its future."


September 14 2012, 11:28

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