Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mongolia Brief July 29, 2014 Part IV

Hakuho Davaajargal wins 30th career title
July 29 (UB Post) The July Tournament of the Japanese professional sumo ended on July 27, with Mongolian Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Hakuho winning his 30th career title, making him the third most successful sumo wrestler in history, after Chionopuji who won 31 tournaments and Taiho who won 32.

The 69th Yokozuna Hakuho beat the 70th Yokozuna Haramapuji D.Byambadorj, a fellow Mongolian, on the final day and won the tournament with 13 wins and two losses.
Yokozuna Hakuho received the Emperor’s Cup for the first time on March 2006, and since then, he has received his 30th cup, proving his Grand Champion title. Hakuho has only three more cups to win to become the most successful sumo wrestler in history, in terms of the number of tournaments won.
Ozeki Kotoshogiku, who was leading the tournament with Hakuho, lost to Sekiwake Guido on the last day. If he had won against Guido, he would have had an additional bout with Yokozuna Hakuho himself.
On the last day of the tournament, another Mongolian Yokozuna Kakuryu M.Anand beat Ozeki Kisenosato and received his 11th win. Ozeki Kisenosato ended the basho with nine wins and six losses.
Mongolian sumo wrestler Terunopuji G.Gan-Erdene, who wrestled as Maegashiri, received nine victories this tournament. Egyptian wrestler Oosunaarashi, who won against the 70th and 71st Yokozunas, could not scrape 50 percent success, with seven wins and eight losses.
In Juryo (second) division, Mongolian sumo wrestler Ichinojyoo A.Ichinnorov, who had 13 victories in the tournament, lost to Tochinoshi, who had 12 wins. The pair had to wrestle again as they both led the tournament with equal wins.
Tochinoshi once again threw down Ichinojyoo and won the Juryo division tournament. The Japanese professional sumo has six division in total.
Mongolian wrestler Takanoiwa A.Baasandorj ended the Juryo division with 12 wins and three losses, Sontero D.Nyamsuren with eight wins, Asasekiryu B.Dashnyam with seven wins and Seiro A.Unubold with five wins and ten losses.

Rhythm Party to unify tradition and trend
July 29 (UB Post) Rhythm party, which unifies Mongolian traditional music with modern fast paced music is about to be held.
The party will take place on August 2 at iloft function house. During the show, artists of the National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble and artists from Mongol Costumes Center will present electro tsam dance and spider dance.
In addition, Shanz Gurav traditional band will deliver their performance, along with DJ Dulguun.
Organizers of Rhythm party, which has a motto “Let’s join in traditional rhythm” promised many surprises.

‘Yalguun-I’ is a sneak peek into women’s secret worlds
July 29 (UB Post) Women share their secret worlds in the “Yalguun-I” art exhibition. The exhibition, featuring work by female artists trying to promote the role of women’s art in the Mongolian art world, opened at Glamour Art Gallery on Thursday, July 24.
Thirty-six female artists are displaying paintings, portraits, Mongolian traditional arts, and technical arts. Common themes of the show are summertime and feminine beauty.
All of the art on exhibit is light, expressing ideas about charity and a love of life. The bright colors used speak to the uniqueness of each woman creating the artwork.
A.Ulziijavkhlan, an award-winning traditional Mongolian artist who uses European techniques, described her work, “Mongolia is a nomadic culture – we have been on the move throughout history, and I seek to portray this sense of movement in my artwork.” Her piece “Nomads Inside Nomads” was selected for a competition earning the winning artist the opportunity to have their own exhibition at Glamour Art Gallery.
The exhibition ends on July 31.

Racism from Barcelona to Ulaanbaatar
July 29 (UB Post) “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel
By Mishell Hernandez
A video that went viral on June 29 shows a 25-year-old Mongolian as the victim of a racist attack in Barcelona, Spain, orchestrated by two Russian Neo-Nazi minors and one Spanish individual of age while riding the metropolitan train around 10 p.m. on June 28.
When the video found me through Facebook on July 1, through my social network of Latin Americans and Spanish speakers, my first instinct was to avoid watching it, and I actually waited a day. As a half-Mongolian-half-Mexican brought up in a cosmopolitan, diversity-encouraging part of the United States for most of my life, I wasn’t sure if my squeamish heart, untrained to the realities of racist attacks, could handle the video. The next day, determined not to live in a safe bubble, I placed myself in front of my laptop with my morning coffee at hand, took a deep breath, and clicked play.
The scene shows a populated train in motion in the city of Barcelona, with a Caucasian man standing menacingly close, face-to-face with an Asian looking fellow (the Mongolian) sitting down, looking down at him threateningly. In the video, you can see the Mongolian replying to his aggressor. From his facial expression, I can only imagine that he was verbally defending himself not knowing that the Caucasian man would physically attack him within moments. Twenty-four seconds into the fifty-five second video, the Caucasian man is seen viciously punching the Mongolian man in the face. The people on the train bolt up, and jump to break up the attack. Someone shouts “Agarra el rubio!” meaning “Grab the blond [guy]!” Thirty-nine seconds into the video there are five men and three women trying to stop the attack, and by this time, the Mongolian man is standing by the door with a Spanish man with glasses in front of him, while the others hold the aggressor. At forty-eight seconds, another Spanish man is standing in front of the aggressor, using his leg as a stop. Then, just as soon as the train doors open for the next station stop, the Spanish man with glasses who stood by the Mongolian guy, pushes him out of the train doors, and with what seems to be an extra push coming from a woman also in the brawl, the Mongolian falls on the floor of the platform. According to Spanish news website, the Mongolian native asked transportation security for help, and was referred to medical emergency services who then transferred him to a hospital where his injuries were attended to. Sources adds that Spanish anti-racist organization, SOS Racismo applauded the quick reaction by the police force and citizens to defend a victim of racism.
The video went viral after the Neo-Nazi minor who filmed the attack posted it on his Twitter account via YouTube the following day. His Twitter account slogan allegedly read, “Always a patriot, White Europe”. The victim pressed charges on June 29, and the aggressor and his accomplices were detained and charged for acts of hate and discrimination on June 30.
The way my pride (the Mongolian half of it, anyway) was hurt in watching the repeated punches to the Mongolian guy reminded me that I am deeply connected with Mongolian people even though I didn’t grow up in Mongolia for most of my life. That’s because it is not about growing up in a physical place, for me it’s about embodying parts of a heritage, culture and language that transcends physical borders. We look out for a fellow countryman because parts of language, culture and history are shared, if nothing more.
Watching this video also reminded me how uplifting it is to see people reacting together to inherently wrong acts such as racism. There was a moral compass that willed the passengers to react and do something. “At least people got involved!” is one of the comments I saw on social media by Mongolians and non-Mongolians alike. The collective effort to stop the attack showed the collective disapproval of racism.
The part where the Mongolian guy is kicked out of the train received mixed reviews from Mongolian netizens. I, personally, would give the person who pushed him out of the train the benefit of the doubt because it makes little sense to keep a victim in a contained space with an attacker, but still it sparked nationalist rants on YouTube against the Spanish. Thankfully, Mongolians living in Spain were quick to reply that Spain spoke up against racism, and that the Spanish authorities were working on the case.
I felt as sick watching this video as I did when I watched a video where the aggressors were Mongolians and the victims were reportedly Vietnamese. It was shared through Mongolian Facebook pages, and my peers had already clicked “play” before I had a chance to understand what was being shown. The verbal taunts, and commands to “Speak Mongolian! Speak Mongolian!” while the Vietnamese guys were powerless at the hands of their Mongolian aggressors simply chilled me to the bone. How much hate and fear does a human heart have to harbor to execute such violent actions and spew such vicious words?
In an attempt to understand this type of hate, I tried to think of a time I felt extremely patriotic. And I remembered. One night in UB, I went out to an expat gathering. There, I found myself with a group of English-speaking expats, two of whom were young, rich and pompous lads who were mighty irresponsible with their words. They basically said, quite graphically might I add, that they were in Mongolia to make money and didn’t care about much else. I was disgusted, and at the time, I didn’t understand what I was feeling. I was first baffled, then disgusted, and then furious. That was the first time I felt indignant for my people, a people I knew but didn’t know. At that moment, it didn’t matter if I was half Mongolian, raised in another country, and basically an outsider by definition. Half the blood I had was enough for me to concern myself with the unfathomable lack of respect these guests were showing their hosts. I was restless that night because I felt powerless and was confused about what my role in this was. Could I really just shrug it off? Maybe, what I felt that night magnified by a trillion would be enough to make one act in hate and bash someone else. Maybe, the fear that foreigners will take over the land you love, and the culture you grew up in and identify with conveniently turns into hate, which then loses its reason and simply turns to a game of who can post the nastiest videos of minorities getting bashed on YouTube. Maybe, that is what the aggressor on the train in Barcelona felt when he saw the Mongolian guy. I’ll never really know.
An interesting discussion among Mongolian Facebook users developed when a prominent Mongolian figure on Facebook posted the Barcelona attack with a caption that essentially applauded the Spanish for helping his fellow countryman with, what I thought, was an implication that Mongolians wouldn’t have done the same for a foreigner on their turf.
In the thread, there were two opposing opinions by Mongolians that interested me in particular. One was, yet again, “We should really follow the foreigner’s example,” about how Spain handled the situation via forms of media and justice, and another read, “Why do you always glorify the foreigner?”
One comment read, “We need to separate from our extreme [-ly positive] views regarding foreigners. Mongolians are entirely for one another when living abroad. Don’t post so dramatically about what you weren’t there to see yourself. It surprises me that we do not give foreigners any blame in these situations.”
Another read, “TV stations in Barcelona have televised this attack over and over, reminding the people that this is not acceptable. The culprit was Russian, they said. It looks like the guy next to him tried his best to kick the guy out of the train. In my opinion, Barcelona is a calm city made up of many internationals.”
Honestly, both are great points but I don’t think it’s about which race is right or wrong, or whether the foreigner is right or wrong, whether the more economically developed country is right or wrong, and what side to take. I think it is more an issue of recognizing human ignorance when it happens, and having the heart and courage to protect basic human dignity, even if our hands get dirty in the process.
With the serious response to the attack by Spanish television stations and Spanish anti-racism organizations, I couldn’t help but wonder how Mongolian media and society react to ultra-nationalist violence against foreigners, or other Mongol ethnic groups. I skimmed several Mongolian online articles and couldn’t find anything regarding any attacks on non-Mongolian foreigners. Then again, maybe I was looking in the wrong place. Are we there yet? Is this something we can talk about openly? What are journalists afraid of? Do they even care? I have more questions than answers sometimes.
All I know is that when we experience or witness horrible ordeals instigated by people racially different from ourselves, it is of paramount importance to not blame the race and ethnicity of the aggressor, because it does nothing more than add fuel to the fire of ignorance, fear, and hate. The enemy will always be human ignorance bred in cultural environments different from ours. The enemy is not nationality, race, and ethnicity. The two Russian Neo-Nazis minor and their adult Spanish accomplice pulled an awful move, but Russians and Spanish people aren’t the enemy. Mongolian racist groups beat up Vietnamese people in an auto body shop and recorded it for the world to see, but Mongolians are not the enemy. The enemy is human ignorance. We are all capable of manifesting our hidden human ignorance through jokes, stunts, and in more extreme cases, full-on attacks, but we can counteract it by protecting the underdog wherever we are and protesting their mistreatment. Not as privileged foreigners, not as educated, high class Mongolians, but because beneath all of the layers, we are fellow human beings. Nothing more and nothing less.
Mishell Hernandez is a writer born in Moscow, raised in Mexico, Mongolia, and the United States, and currently living in Australia. She writes about her life, travels and self-discovery on her blog, Mishell + WordPress.
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