Below, a short collection including research, travels, feminism, a dream and Sacco & Vanzetti.
Set up a few interviews and did some research on newspapers from the 1990s. I also took a small intellectual roundabout that could become a paper in the near future and make an exciting part of my PhD. More on that later.
Flew to Aktau to see the place again, before moving there next summer for a few weeks, reconnect with some of my contacts and visit the annual Adai festival in Otpantau. Saw oilmen, aksakals, camels, sheep heads, horses, and pipelines, in no particular order.
Woke up early to a dream/nightmare: Mom and daughter were in a park that resembled Panfilov Park. The mom asked the daughter if she was tired and wanted to go home. The little one, who might have been six or so, said yes, pointing to her doll: “Her head hurts. I think because her husband beats her or something.” Woke up very upset that I could dream something so realistic… and in Russian. The scene was the typical moment in which a kid is tired but doesn’t want to admit it and finds an external excuse to go home. But the girl’s choice was chilling. I guess after two days of Femagora, a gender equality-focused event in Almaty organized around March 8, and going to theater to see Artishock’s crude and honest #прямопотолеби, this is what my memory wanted to keep its focus on: the long road to equality, to solidarity, and to happiness.
Now, what comes to mind (and brings the routine tears to my eyes) is Nicola Sacco’s final letter to his son, before being executed together with Bartolomeo Vanzetti in 1920s witch-hunty USA. The Italian anarchist wrote to his child not to be selfish, to share his joys with the deprived, for they are his true friends. In a movie from 1971, the adaptation of the letter contains a sentence that is not in the original, “ricordati, figlio mio, la felicità dei giochi, non tenerla tutta per te” – which roughly translates into “remember, my son, the feeling of happiness that you have when you play; don’t keep it to yourself” – which is both about being unselfish and appreciating the culture of sharing with the have-nots and, crucially at least for my memory of today, the feeling of happiness connected to playing games as kids, which was clearly lost in the girl from my dream. Maybe I’m overthinking this, but this was not like every other dream that I infallibly forget.