Friday, November 10, 2006

Kyrzy kryzy Kyrgyzstan (or How I met my wife)

Kyrgyzstan is a small central asian country with the population of 5,213,898. Located in the mideast of central asia, it is surrounded by Kazakhstan (home of Borat), China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Annexed by Russia in the mid 19th century, 1864 to be exact, the Kyrgy population soon fell sway to Russian tradition (primarily vodka drinking).

What is most fascinating about central asia (let alone its inhabitants) is the fact that SO many ethnic groups can be found here, from Persians to ancestors of the Mongols (like in Krygyzstan). All of these groups, due to the years of Russian influence, found many of their traditions either bastardized or stamped out. One tradition which was made illegal but merely went underground is the practice of wifenapping in Kyrgyzstan.

What first needs to be done is a description of the Kyrgy people for the reader.
Its believed that the Kyrgy people are a mix of Mongol (like Genghis Kahn) and Kipchak peoples, about 75% of the population are practicing Muslims, however, as previously mentioned, there are quite a few that like to drink vodka (who can blame them). This obviously makes for an interesting interpretation of Islam. Traditionally the Kyrgyz people were of a turkic nomad herding tradition, much of which still exists within the country.

It could very well be argued that much of the original traditions of these people had been put on hold (press pause) throughout the Russian domination of central asia. It was only in 1994 that wifenapping had been made illegal (please keep in mind that Kyrgyzstan had only been an independent country for about 3 or so years at that point). However, even now, it is rarely prosecuted and it is estimated that 1/3 of the population's married women were bridenapped, whether consensually or against their will (it wouldnt be bridenapping if it was consensual hey?).
The practice itself is less than complicated. Essentially at one point or another within a young man's life he (or his family) decides that it is time for him to marry and procreate. It is then up to either the mans parents (or himself) to find him a suitable bride. In some circumstances it is simply an arranged marriage. In other circumstances he may see a girl on a street corner, working at a vendor or simply passing by and it is decided that she is to be his bride.

The girl is then kidnapped by the man and family (sometimes friends) and returned to his parents home where the women of the house (including mother, aunts, cousins, grandmothers) all attempt to convince this girl that the marriage will be advantageous to her being. Arguements vary from "Well, we got kidnapped too and look how happy we are" to "Lookit that Stove, see? You can use it whenever you like, thats right and that goat too!".

Needless to say this doesnt necessarily end well. Some women kill themselves, others simply run away (sometimes to be kidnapped again by the same man). Either way, its an excuse to not move to Kyrgyzstan.

Ooo, to see it all go down, see this film.


Blogger NielQaeda said...

oh thank god.... a new entry!!!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

that's some good shit there... I already stole this and posted it on my own blog... too good not too

7:29 AM  

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