October 2010


“The Oz books continue to exert their spell … those who read [them] are often made what they were not – imaginative, tolerant, alert to wonders, life.”

Gore Vidal, The New York Review of Books

Fairy tales, legends, fantastic stories have followed our childhood for ages.And every child has an instinctive love  for stories wonderful and fictitious. Once gained this love remains with us even when we grow up. Yesterday we had a chance to look at the world with the eyes of a child. Dorothy! Dorothy is a pivotal character of Frank Baum’s books. Greatly influenced by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in wonderland, Baum stated that ” the secret of Alice’s success lay in the fact that she was a real child, and any normal child could sympathize with her all through her adventures” (The Best of The Baum Bugle, 1965-1966, p.52). Baum chose Dorothy as the heroine of his books due to the fact that he had four sons and had hoped to have a daughter, whom he intended to call Dorothy.

The movie held at The national Academic Library was one from Baum’s fourteen books about Oz  – “The Wizard of Oz”. The Wizard of Oz introduces Dorothy, who arrives from Kansas and meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and their wonderful adventure in the Land of Oz.

If one had read a book before he watched the film, he will then definitely notice the same story being interpreted sometimes not in the same way. So did I. The adventure in the book and on screen occasionally varies.

At first, it is reality vs. dream. If we now focus on the texts, we can see that the Land of Oz in the book is reality, as little Dorothy really goes there and later returns to Kansas. But in the film the girl sleeps and dreams as if she is in the Land of  Wizards, when she wakes up, everything goes away with her dream.

At second, in the book as Dorothy is welcomed as a sorceress in the Land of Munchkins, the Witch of the North kisses her , for a hard and dangerous adventure awaits her on her way to the Wizard of Oz. Later this kiss – a sign of protection – soundly helps the little girl.

At third, as we have watched Dorothy being forced to cross the Deadly Poppy Field to get to the Emerald City, she falls asleep among the flowers because of the smell of poppies. So do Toto and the Cowardly Lion. Realizing their friends are sleeping, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman try to get them out of the field. But with no success. At that moment the Witch of the North makes the weather to snow, which helps to lower the deadly smell and wake the sleepers up. But the book introduces the Mice Kingdom, which gets  Dorothy, Toto and the Cowardly Lion out of the poppy field. Those mice were truly grateful for the Tin Woodman, who saved their life from the wildcat and were pleased to do something to repay for his great deed.

At fourth, The Guardian of the Emerald City doesn’t refuse the travellers to get into the town and meet the Wizard of Oz. In the film he lets them enter after he hears Dorothy crying about his Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas.

At fifth, screened Wizard of Oz accepts Dorothy and his friends altogether in one day and appears before them like a Big Head. But, actually, it will take the travellers several days before each one has a proper visit to Oz, the Great and Terrible. And each time the Wizard takes different shapes. He is a Big Head for Dorothy, a lovely woman for the Scarecrow, a terrible Beast for the Tin Woodman and a Ball of Fire for the Cowardly Lion.

At sixth, quite different from the film, where the Wizard encourages the Scarecrow by giving him a diploma, the Tin Woodman – a clock in the form of heart, the Cowardly Lion – a  ‘courage’ medal, bookish Wizard of Oz stuffs the Scarecrow’s head with mixture of bran and needles and pins, then the Tin Woodman’s chest with silky sawdust heart and next he gives the Cowardly Lion the liquid in a green bottle that was courage.

At seventh, after the Balloon with the Wizard inside flies away without Dorothy to America, the girl will have a long adventure on the way to the Witch of North in order to grant her request. Adventure that was not mentioned in the film. And before Dorothy finds the great sorceress she visits the Dainty China Country, the Country of Quadlings.

As you see there are some differences people face while screening the published story. But, nevertheless, every Oz story is attractive and on screen and in the book. In this respect each one of Oz novels deals with the issue of how to honor the art of imagination, and with each Oz book Baum deals a greater sense of how to provide a true interest for people. Together Baum’s books serve about our potential to realize, to celebrate and enjoy our own imaginative gifts.

October 29, 2010 is the date when  I got a chance to meet the author of “Two Kyrgyz Women”. As we were sitting in the classroom awaiting…. a beautiful woman with modern hair-do and friendly countenance entered the room with our teacher. I guessed it was Marinka. Marinka Franulovic.

Everybody was pleased to see her as each one had a number of questions to ask. Marinka currently lives in Kyrgyzstan, the place where she was faced to have personal contacts with the victims of human trafficking. Reading nearly twenty stories about trafficking, Marinka realized to say more about it. Not in emotional way, but rather realistically.

Human trafficking is business affair. As the author pointed out “a huge machine stands behind this crime”. It comes next after weapon market and drug industry. According to the statistics a huge number of people are under slavery today. Some of them survived, others were not destinied to it. They are still victims of sexual servitude, enslavement  and exploitable labor.

One of my experienced colleagues, Laura, asked about the people who go and work as prostitudes by their own wish, if they were considered to be also the victims of human trafficking. Many victims after such cases agree to work in sex industry. As the logic is why not, that’s what they are seeking for.  But in foreign countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, where the prostitution is legal, the meanings of the words “prostitution” and “human trafficking”  are quite different. Prostitution is one’s decision, one’s way of earning money, who has a freedom of choice whether to have one customer or two a day OR whether give it up forever. But “human trafficking is tremendous break of human rights”, where the rights of a person are violated brutally. Under such cases the victim does not decide the things for himself. Everything is decided for him.

Also, Aliya, young Kazakh teacher, wondered where the victims of human trafficking were mostly from. East or West? As Marinka states  mainly Asian women are exposed to get  into inhuman affairs. According to the statistics, it shows nearly 50%.

Statistics, a tricky phenomenon as the author says, on the number of victims varies year by year. But slight results are noticeable even today. Ukraine and Moldova are the countries that made a great effort in combating the immense human trafficking .

Everybody agree that the only way of preventing rights violation is education. Every person should develop awareness, improve  consciousness and make a sense that their role in society matters.  

“Two Kyrgyz Women” is not the only work done dealing with trafficking by Marinka, “Ainura’s dream” is also an important way of self-improvement.

Recently, I have read a book “Two Kyrgyz Women”, inspired by true stories of victims of human trafficking by Marinka Franulovic. Marinka was born in 1970 in Zagreb, Croatia. Lawyer by educatuin; she has focused her interests to transition, human rights and migration. She has lived in several countries and currently lives in Kyrgyzstan. But today we have a good opportunity to meet the author of the book. It is a rare case and I really anticipate.

O, beautiful liberty,dear and sweet,

Thou heavenly gift where riches all meet,

Actual source of our glory of these hours,

The sole adornment of this grove of ours,

All silver, all gold, and our lives so dear,

Cannot recompense the beauty so clear.

That is how the book begins. A poem by Ivan Gundulic(1589-1638) clearly gives idea what the book is about: human trafficking. Human rights violation once declared illegal. And should remain illegal forever, because freedom cannot be given. It is our right, at birth.

Hello, world. October 28, 2010 is the day I first created my own blog! It is amazing, exciting. You are interested in my blog, you are always welcome.

If you are interested in my blog, if you are willing to start, THEN make friends with, at least, three books, refresh your inner man with a green apple, put your glasses on and GO!