Original In this sense, the author gives examples of

                                                              

Original

The
third chapter “Traumatic Coloniality: The Missing Genus” from the book   Postcommunism/Postcolonialism:
Sibling of Subalternity by Bogdan
?tef?nescu                                               begins with the
statement that coloniality was present for the first time in ancient times:

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“Examples as ancient Athens, the Roman
Empire, the Han Dynasty of the second and first centuries B.C., the Muslim
emirate/caliphate Umayyad in the eight to eleventh centuries, the Incas of the
fourteenth century, the East India Company between the seventeenth and the
nineteenth centuries” (67) 

The
author also mentions the USSR and the USA in the twentieth century as well as
their colonizing behaviors. The
definition clearly states the effect of colonialism as  a rapid change of the whole life of the colonizers.
?tef?nescu states,

“Colonialism is the result of a combination of
elements. One of the first things that ought to be said about colonialism is
that it brings about a relatively sudden and consistently pursued change in the
life and culture of people”. (69)

Also, the
impact of colonialism on colonizers was imposed by force, aggression and
violence. The author emphasizes the fact that the connection between the
colonizer and the colonized ones produces traumatic consequences because of the
appropriation, eradication and exploitation of the colonized people.

Continuing
with the term colonialism ?tef?nescu
describes the overlap between (post)communism and (post)colonialism. There are
several similarities between (post)colonialism and (post)communism and both of
those terms are related to the concept of cultural trauma. ?tef?nescu
argues,

“The
concept of colonial trauma which can
be derived from the conjoining theoretical efforts of those two scholars is
quite apt to analyze communist colonialism and the posttraumatic effects on
societies which, though formally liberated, are still affected in their
attempts at self-reconstruction by distressing representations of their
subalternity.” (76)

In
this sense, the author gives examples of the colonial behavior of the Soviet
Union.  He describes also that the people
who were colonized or lived in the communist regime experienced painful trauma,
damage and destruction of their cultures, and exploitation by the oppressive
force.

                 
I have chosen the book named “Rewriting the Nation in Modern Kazakh
Literature: Elites and Narratives” by the Kazakh author Diana Kudaibergenova.
She was born in Almaty city in Kazakhstan. In her research, Diana considers the
patterns of national development in the post-Soviet period in the countries of
central Asia but also Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Estonia and Latvia. In particular,
she is interested in the development of national self-identity and the symbols
of those countries, as well as the elites that influence that process. In this essay I want to present
her view on the postcolonial dimension of postcommunism in Kazakhstan. In her
own words:

“Cultural
colonization complements material domination and it causes an alteration of the
symbolic fiber of the colonized. It may take extreme forms like assimilation or
replacing the domestic language and culture with those of the colonizer. (69)

                   As stated by ?tef?nescu,
colonizers exploit not only the economic, political and human resources for a
“better life” but are also damaging and destroying that nations’ culture as
well. The most interesting part is that colonizers represent the new culture
without colonized people realizing that. 

Using
Kazakhstan as an example of postcolonial country it can be seen that the
country got free ‘officially’ from Soviet Union after 1991 when it became
independent. However, Kazakhstan still has problems from economic, political as
well as cultural points of view. And that nowadays Kazakhs try to solve and
create a new entity- the Republic of Kazakhstan –  with a distinct culture. However they are not
successful yet. People still speak in Russian instead of their native language
because in Soviet times in all cities in Kazakhstan there were very few  Kazakh schools, in opposition with the
multitude of Russian ones. The Kazakh author Diana Kudaibergenova
describes: 

“According
to political discourse the 1991 independence brought the “long-awaited”
statehood and opportunity to claim back Kazakh rich heritage and history.
However, Kazakhstan did not start writing its history in 1991 nor did it start
from the blank page” (Kudaibergenova, xii)

Coming back
to mother tongue, a person to some extent assimilates to a new “theory of
the universe,” the national mentality. “The transition to a different
reality of a new language occurs simultaneously with the appearance of a
certain new “I”.” (Kudaibergrnova,87) 
Transition is common to postcolonial as well as postcommunist periods. First
there is transition from native language to outside language, although it is
still possible to come back to your native language again and open for yourself
new horizons of the language itself. When the transition from outside language to
the mother tongue is the new reality, it appears, perhaps, that there is something
new inside, quite different from the old “I”. In this case Ganev explained:

“More
than ten years after the spectacular collapse of state socialism, a consensus
has coalesced around the
following view: all countries that formerly belonged to the Soviet block have
been afflicted by an acute crisis of state capacity. That the state is ‘weaker’
than before, that it is ‘weaker’ than it should be. (Ganev 05)”

Ganev describes the situation in a
post-communist country, where there was great pressure on people and on their
culture and way of life. After the communist period, people did not know what
to start and how to get back to their past as well as to their roots. In this extreme
example Kazakhs forgot their mother tongue and their culture. But the family
traditions remained very strong. So, the resistance was at the family level. For
example, marriage traditions, family parties, games belonging to cultural
memory.  That was and still is
postcolonial and postcommunist resistance. As an example we can take “Kyz
uzaty” (traditional bride’s wedding party) and a big and fun groom’s wedding
day. Before the first ceremony five or more old relatives of the groom come to
pick up the bride from her house. In North and Central Kazakhstan only men are
visiting the bride’s house in the evening. Before the dawn, the bride has to
leave her house, and enter the new family of the groom. Before the bride leaves
her house, her relatives will sing farewell songs, the songs like “Zhar
Zhar”, “Auy Zhar” and “Aushadiar”.

Even though Kazakh people speak
Russian and know Russian history better than their own, they are strongly keeping
those traditions. Indeed, the Kazakh traditions and culture are very different
from Russian ones, which is why it is very important to keep these traditions
in families. The resistance was in the family only, not a national resistance. The
preservation of customs made people remember their national past and even in
communist times it made them feel different from the colonial power. In
post-communism, the state of Kazakhstan was formed by the will of the Kazakh people. If
it were not the political self-determination of the Kazakh people, there would
be no national state. However, the people felt nostalgia for their past which included
the trauma of communism and also a sense of strong collective memory with
national traditions. As Vi?an argues:

“Collective memory is marked in both postcolonialism and postcommunism
not only by the traumas of the past, but also by nostalgia, as a
reaction to the violent changes of the present.” (Vi?an, 194)

As Vi?an argues,
collective memory is very important to create a new image of the free and new
state. Especially, the post-Soviet period was a very hard and difficult transition. For
Kazakh people collective memory helped to reshape Kazakh identity.

Kazakhstan, being part of the
USSR, experienced in the twentieth century the most severe “cultural
revolution” as a mutation of the national spirit. Before the fall into the
“communist hell”, the Kazakhs were the most promising largest ethnic
group in Central Asia. Thousands of Kazakh men died during the Second World
War; the people’s morale was low and it was easy for the communists to
manipulate them and make them think communism will improve life. Kazakhs
manipulated by different kind of magazine and newspaper articles, television
and little brochures were it was written that leaders doing ‘everything to do
peoples life better’ (Yilamu,53) Instead, Kazakhs were forced by communists to
do what they wanted. For example, they forced them to go to the war, forced
woman to do physical work almost for nothing, forced people to learn the Russian
language and forced to believe and trust to communist followers.  The result was the death of “1.5 million (possibly as many as 2.0–2.3
million) people, a quarter of the Kazakh population” (Cameron 117) during the Soviet
time because of famine – “the Goloshchekin genocide”
(Cameron 121).

Communists forced people to
give everything to them, took all kinds of food and cattle (same like in
Ukraine). In the end with the small number of people who were exhausted and terrorized
it was easy for communists to manipulate the people. “If it were not for
the Soviet government, you would be still tending to raise sheep!” and
“If it were not for the Soviet government, you would live in yurts!”
… – are verbal attacks that were common in the past and can still be heard
nowadays. The Russians said that. But it’s not just about demographic
catastrophe. So far, people think deeply about the hardest moral,
psychological, genetic, cultural consequences of this tragedy.

The rapid
development of mass publishing and translation of books multiplied by the
growing literacy levels made Soviet Kazakhstan not only into the nation of mass
readership but also into that nation that was able to “imagine” itself in a
mass scale of literary disseminations.              

                   Kudaibergenova showed how, in the absence of
intellectual-critical reflection, postcolonial rhetoric becomes a strategy of
political struggle and legitimization of power. Benedict Anderson argues that “from
the start the nation was conceived in language, not in blood, and that one
could be ‘invented into’ the imagined community” (Benedict, 145). The
reconstruction of national identity is, in great part, something created,
invented.

In present,
the true history of the Kazakhs is forgotten and needs a revival. It was
interpreted and presented on the basis of only “generally accepted”
methodologies inherent in the study of the history of Europe. Traditional
European historical science is based on the principle of soil, that is, the
replacement of the inhabitants of a certain limited territory. However, such an
approach is unacceptable for studying the history of nomads, for the knowledge
of nomadism as a way of life, other methodological approaches are required. The
hybridization of the cultures, and how they can no longer separate one from the
other. Now, in Kazahstan there is a strong influence of  Chinese, Russian and American cultures.

Thus, the
essence of the “national question” in prerevolutionary Kazakhstan was
the legal and political inequality of the “alien” population, clearly
manifested in the practice of mass seizures of patrimonial lands from nomadic
communities. The aggravation of the national issue in Kazakhstan was connected
with the desire of the Kazakhs to preserve the resources necessary for the
survival of the land, resources and, of course, the Kazakh language and culture
after the communist regime. The most acute problem of the survival of their
people was perceived by the figures of the Kazakh ethno-national movement, for
which the main thing was the preservation of the ethnic identity of the
Kazakhs, based on the nomadic way of life and traditional culture, and the consolidation
of the territory. The Kazakh national movement was a “product” of the
beginning of Europeanization and modernization of part of the Kazakh society,
which was in close connection with the Russian population of the region. The
Kazakh elite tried to find a way out of the crisis by offering new options for
solidarity in return for tribal ties. Thus, the aftermath of communism or
Soviet regime and what being ‘post-communist’ entails can be directly applied
to post-colonial countries.

Thus, from the arguments and
texts belonging to Eastern European author who describe the aftermath of
communism and what being ‘post-communist’ entails can be directly applied to
post-colonial countries and the effects of a sovereign power reigning over them.
The oppression, the exploitation, the lack of freedom, imposed rules,
eradication of culture, language and people, all are factors that occurred in
both post-communist and post-colonialist countries. Exhausted and terrorized, as well as the
lack of freedom, physiological pressure and eradication of culture, language
and people, all are factors that occurred in both post-communist and
post-colonialist countries.  Communism
and colonialism brought to people very hard and rapid changes in their history.
But people tried to escape,  rebuilt,
reborn and be open for a new modern life. Kazakh people focused more in family
resistance than in national resistance. Indeed which helped Kazakh people to
keep their language, culture, customs and their individuality.

 

                                                 Bibliography