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[tatar-l] Re: Most influential Tatars of the Century

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  • SabirzyanB@aol.com
    Dear Igor, I am truly sorry for unintentionally hurting your feelings. It didn t occur to me that the words half-Tatar and assimilated Tatar have negative
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 10, 1999
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      Dear Igor,

      I am truly sorry for unintentionally hurting your feelings. It didn't occur
      to me that the words "half-Tatar" and "assimilated Tatar" have negative
      connotations. Now that I think of it, you are probably right, those words do
      sound a bit derogatory. I apologize for that. I certainly believe that no
      one can be blamed for having only one Tatar parent or for not having the
      opportunities to study the Tatar language. Our attitude toward assimilated
      Tatars should not be arrogant. On the contrary, we must do everything to help
      them re-discover their ethnic roots.

      You write in your message:
      >> Another question is whether it makes any sense to build up lists of "our
      own
      great people". To me, this smacks of attempts to overcome an inferiority
      complex. <<

      What's wrong with trying to overcome the inferiority complex? Yes, many
      Tatars do have a deeply-rooted ethnic inferiority complex. That's exactly
      why we should make them aware of the existence of many great Tatars who
      contributed something to the world civilization. Ethnic inferiority complex
      should be considered one of the most important causes or preconditions of
      ethnic assimilation.

      Further, you write:
      >> The truth is, there were few, if any, Tatars who have achieved a lasting
      worldwide importance, on par with Goethe, Einstein, or Pushkin, or even a
      step lower than that..<<

      Here I disagree with you totally. Let's take, for example, Rudolf Nureyev.
      He is considered to be one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world.
      Despite being assimilated, he was always proud to call himself a Tatar. In
      the world of dance he is definitely on the same level as Goethe in poetry or
      Einstein in science. Should we consider him a Russian simply because he
      didn't have a Tatar school in his town and as a result never learned to speak
      his native language properly? Of course not. I am a Tatar patriot but I
      didn't speak Tatar properly until the age of 25. Did I switch from being a
      Russian to being a Tatar at the age of 25?

      Selemner belen,
      Sabirjan

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    • Igor Sagdeev
      Dear Sabirzian, You haven t hurt my feelings in any way. I m used to my mixed heritage, somewhat fuzzy identity, and all the problems that stem from that. I m
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 11, 1999
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        Dear Sabirzian,

        You haven't hurt my feelings in any way. I'm used to my mixed heritage,
        somewhat
        fuzzy identity, and all the problems that stem from that. I'm mostly
        thinking about
        other people, who are not completely comfortable with being "not like
        everybody else",
        and may feel vulnerable. When living in Moscow, I have seen many Tatars who
        were
        ashamed of their "wierd" names, for example, and used Russian replacements.
        The same
        thing happens here, in the US, where many immigrants want to assimilate as
        quickly as
        possible, and their children usually start forgetting their parents'
        languages in a few
        years. It takes some courage to swim against the stream, and a strong
        support and patience
        on the part of compatriots can help a lot of people to become comfortable
        with
        "living in two worlds".

        >What's wrong with trying to overcome the inferiority complex? Yes, many

        It's wrong to have it in the first place. The Tatars didn't get down from
        the trees
        yesterday. They are not in any way inferior to the Russians, or any other
        group in
        the region.

        >Tatars do have a deeply-rooted ethnic inferiority complex. That's exactly
        >why we should make them aware of the existence of many great Tatars who
        >contributed something to the world civilization. Ethnic inferiority
        complex
        >should be considered one of the most important causes or preconditions of
        >ethnic assimilation.

        What I am really sad about, is that often the way this complex is fought
        against
        betrays its very existence. At least to me.

        >Here I disagree with you totally. Let's take, for example, Rudolf Nureyev.
        >He is considered to be one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world.
        >Despite being assimilated, he was always proud to call himself a Tatar.

        Anybody who calls himself a Tatar, is a Tatar. I don't think there can be
        any other
        definition.

        >In the world of dance he is definitely on the same level as Goethe in
        poetry or
        >Einstein in science.

        Here you are, probably, right. I just don't have much interest in ballet, so
        I can't
        judge for myself.

        > Should we consider him a Russian simply because he
        >didn't have a Tatar school in his town and as a result never learned to
        speak
        >his native language properly? Of course not.

        Certainly not, unless he thought of himself as Russian (which you say he did
        not).
        Otherwise, he'd be a person of Tatar descent for me.

        >I am a Tatar patriot but I
        >didn't speak Tatar properly until the age of 25. Did I switch from being a
        >Russian to being a Tatar at the age of 25?

        That's a tricky question, and it has many analogies in the world. Are the
        English-speaking
        Irish really Irish? Are the Polish-speakers of Wileszczyzna really
        Lithuanian? I think that,
        given the linguistic realities, the feelings of identity and allegiance are
        more important
        than the language you use. I don't know how you felt before 25. I hope, you
        were
        never ashamed of your heritage, and that always made you a Tatar, or, maybe,
        both a Tatar
        and a Russian, which is quite a predicament, but does not mean you were
        inferior.

        To me, the only people who are inferior, are those who have no courage to be
        different,
        and can only float downstream. And those who are intolerant.


        Yours, Igor





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      • SabirzyanB@aol.com
        Dear Igor, I basically agree with everything in your last message. I only want to respond to a couple of points. ... about, is that often the way this complex
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 11, 1999
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          Dear Igor,

          I basically agree with everything in your last message. I only want to
          respond to a couple of points.

          In response to my question:

          >What's wrong with trying to overcome the inferiority complex?<

          you wrote:

          >> It's wrong to have it in the first place. ..... What I am really sad
          about, is that often the way this complex is fought against betrays its very
          existence. <<

          Yes, it is wrong to have an ethnic inferiority complex. But it does exist
          whether we like it or not. In my opinion, it is important to bring this fact
          out into the open instead of hiding it. It is a serious problem and we will
          not be able to overcome it unless we admit its existence. To put it
          figuratively, instead of sweeping the dust under the rug, we have to take it
          out of the house.

          The second point has to do with me personally. You wrote:
          >>I hope, you were never ashamed of your heritage, and that always made you a
          Tatar, or, maybe, both a Tatar and a Russian, which is quite a predicament,
          but does not mean you were inferior. <<

          I never felt inferior to anyone and never considered myself a Russian or even
          half-Russian.

          Dear Igor and all the other members of the Tatar-l discussion group, let me
          suggest something that might be benefitial for our future discussions: Let's
          try to avoid making comments about each other (whether negative or positive)
          and try to comment only about each other's ideas. This is the golden rule
          that will prevent all future conflicts and misunderstandings during our
          discussions.

          Selemner belen,
          Sabirzyan Badretdin

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