Guest post: On belonging and Kyrgyzstan.


Berza and her Kyrgyz mate

Kyrgyzstan’s population is 5.2 mln. Within these group of people there are more than 30 ethnic groups. Today we are celebrating Orthodox Christmas. And yes, it’s a bank holiday. We also celebrate Eid. It’s also a bank holiday.  These are few random facts that I love to share about my country. But you better come and see. As my friend, Berza Simsek did. I have no more to add to her pictures and hew words. Have a very merry year ahead of you, friends!

“At times, something happens to you, and you don’t know whether it’s good or bad. Last year tested me and my family with death. Again and again. Maybe that’s why it was not a coincidence that it also has been the year that brought me back to my roots, to Central Asia.

As you know, or don’t know, Turks are believed to have been migrated to Anatolia from Central Asia. I have never been a person who has very close ties with her family. When you hear the footsteps of Azrael, and realize that death do not only happen to other people, I turned back to my roots, my family. I understood how valuable they are.

 In Kyrgyzstan your roots are what makes you today. Ancestors are loved and respected, almost like holy grandparents and grandmothers of the past who still live in trees, in lakes, in mountains, in nature or watch you from the stars. You pray to your ancestors, you wait for signs from your ancestors.

 You may be staying in a yurt like a nomad from a thousand year ago, you may be visiting a shaman who heals with the technics dating back to thousands of years, you may be walking the Silk Road like a merchant in ancient times…

 I always had thought that being independent, even alone, is what really matters. In Kyrgyzstan, I comprehended that belonging is also beautiful. Belonging to your family, your ancestors, your soil, your country, your traditions, your beliefs, your rituals… Being yourself does not necessarily mean that you can’t belong; belonging does not necessarily mean that you can’t be yourself…

Kyrgyz people believe that water is the strongest element in the nature, Nargiza said. ‘Because it can take any form it is in, but always remains itself.’

 Don’t get afraid of change, but don’t forget your roots either.

 When you are entering a new year, don’t forget your past.”

NB: Click on image to view larger. The text and image belong to Berza Simsek.