Remembering those who have been lost with poetry and call to action

Kyrgyzstan, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

On 17th November our EASST partners, PA Road Safety Kyrgyzstan, joined a number of local organisations to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in a dedicated event at the Silk Road Shopping Centre in Bishkek.*

The number of road casualties in Kyrgyzstan is disproportionally high, with hundreds of people being killed each year and thousands more suffering from long-term or permanent injury. The socio-economic costs of such loss significantly impact the country’s capacity for sustainable development. It is an epidemic that requires urgent attention. World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is an important day not only to remember those who have been lost, but also to raise awareness and urge action for road safety.

On the day, Chinara Kasmambetova, Director of PA Road Safety offered a hard-hitting speech demonstrating just how urgent the situation is.

“In Kyrgyzstan, hundreds of people die every year and thousands more are injured on the road. The statistics of fatalities in road traffic crashes is huge all over the world. This is our common problem. Terrible incidents have occurred in Kyrgyzstan just recently. On 3rd November, in the courtyard of a house, a car crushed a three-year-old child. On 4th November, an ambulance and a passenger car collided at the intersection of Moscow-Turusbekov injuring several people. On 13th November, in the village of Romanovka, a drunk-driver ran down a 40-year-old man who died. The driver, who fled the scene, was later detained. On the Bishkek-Naryn-Torugart highway, the famous akyn (improvising singer/poet), Akzholtoy Kanat uulu was killed. He was only 26, his wife and two young people also died in the same crash. On 16th November, two young men were hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing in the Vostok-5 microdistrict. They are in hospital. The scale of road traffic tragedies in our country is horrifying, and these tragedies are happening all around us.”

These lives were remembered by the participants of youth theatre group, Gala-Theater, who organised a memorial rally on bus number 42 as it travelled through Bishkek, where they presented the literary and musical compositions from the film Zhit. Later they took to the stage at the Shopping Centre with an improvised performance of poetry opened by the youngest participant, nine-year-old Albina Novikova, who recited:

“Dust of roads, like ashes, showered a wreath on the sidelines.
Here in an accident, someone had a life journey completed.
Here the tape broke, the road ended here.
Let the wreath be a signal of danger and alarm.
On the day of remembrance of the victims of road crashes, reminders are not out of place.
Drivers, take care of your own and others’ lives! ”

The poems were all piercingly deep. The performance concluded with a song by famous local singer, Viktor Tsoi, who died in a road crash many years ago. At the end of the action, there was a children’s quiz where their knowledge on road safety was tested through fun riddles and rhymes – and they all received small prizes.

*The event was coordinated by AUTOGID newspaper Chief Editor Marina Evteeva, and included the Public Association ‘Union of Compatriots of Kyrgyzstan’, the Public Association ‘Road Safety’, and Youth Theater Studio ‘GALA THEATER’ under the direction of Honored Artist of the Kyrgyz Republic Galina Ketova.