When did fate intervene in your life?

Culture : Fate was fortunate for me

The Kyrgyz writer Tschingis AitmatowVON JOHANNES KAISER "It was summer time again. We set off for the mountains - to the summer nomad camp. It was probably one of the last great nomadic marches in our area. Nomadic life was coming to an end. Everywhere the sedentary population was expanding The seasons didn't play the same role as they used to. " Tschingis Aitmatow, who was born in the small village of Scheker in 1928, vividly remembers this epoch that vanished during the Soviet era in his now published autobiographical stories "Childhood in Kyrgyzstan". He has already set a monument to it in his novels, singing about the beauty of the magnificent landscape. However, he would never have dreamed that the vanished world would ever come to life again. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the standard of living of the settled nomad people has deteriorated so much that today shepherd families with their round yurts are once again moving to the summer pastures in the high mountain valleys new poverty draws picturesque pictures. Riders sit erect in silver-shod saddles on green hilltops in front of snow-covered five- and six-thousanders, guarding a few hundred sheep and a handful of horses. An impressive sight for the visitor from the west, for Chingis Aitmatov "an expression of a new misery" , d hen many do not return to the mountains voluntarily, unemployment in the villages forces them to do so. At the age of seven, Chinggis Aitmatov left the distant Central Asian province and the traditional tribal community to follow his father to Moscow, where the party had sent him as an avid propagandist of the new order for further training. Chingis discovered cinema, theater, music and learned Russian. In 1937 his father sent the family back to the relatives in Kyrgyzstan with foreboding, shortly before he was arrested and murdered. In the village, the family survived under great privation, endowed with the stigma of the politically ostracized. All the greater the pride than when the war broke out Tschingis, who was just 14 years old, was appointed secretary of the village soviet because he had learned to read and write. "The war affected the fate of all people without exception. It forced me to grow up faster. I was obliged to keep the families informed about the fallen soldiers. " As a secretary, the young Tschingis also had the task of collecting taxes. With the intransigence of an adult, he had to collect the war tax from people already living in dire poverty. "That was terrible. I saw with my own eyes how the people were starving shortly before Starving was. " One reads with amazement, almost disbelief, the responsibility that rests on the shoulders of half a child. Without these experiences, Aitmatov would probably have remained the veterinarian to whom he was trained after the end of the war the desire grew stronger and stronger to tell people one day. I just had to put it into words. My first literary thing was connected with my work: the novel "Eye for an Eye", the fate of a deserter and his wife. " The debutant got a lot of trouble with the short novella, because he showed understanding for the deserter - unheard of by Soviet standards at the time. Aitmatov owed his novel to the brief thaw under Khrushchev to the fact that his novel came out at all. But even later he never suited himself on, he raised his voice again and again, for example against the destruction of the environment in Kyrgyzstan. Nevertheless, he does not regret having been a writer in Soviet times. "On the contrary It was an era in which he could work as a writer. You were constantly challenged to overcome political and moral difficulties. There are no such obstacles now, and therefore some no longer even know what to write about. " Aitmatov is not one of them. "I have no shortage of topics. I just need the time and energy to implement them." Since 1990 Aitmatov has been representing his homeland in Brussels, first as ambassador of the Soviet Union, then Kyrgyzstan. His memories are therefore not a real autobiography, but stories that he told the German writer Friedrich Hitzer and then edited back to his own childhood when he heard the stories of his people from singers who roamed the villages and praised the exploits of their ancestors. "The writer tries to reach the soul of the people who they are." Tschingis Aitmatow will read from his memoirs today at 11 a.m. in the House of Science and Culture of the Russian Federation.

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