sharing in governance of extractive industries
Nowruz Mubarak! (for Monday, Mar 21, 2016,). For the uninitiated, that means Happy Persian New Year (Nowruz)! and this coming Monday is the United Nations-recognised International Day of Nowruz.
It has been far too long since I have spent Spring or Summer in a part of the world where Nowruz is widely celebrated; the Summer of 2010, to be precise, when I was in Dushanbe and the western provinces of Tajikistan. That trip took me to the grand Nurek Dam, the second tallest man-made dam in the world (apparently, certainly it seemed huge to me), on the Vakhsh River that in turn flows into the Amu Darya (or ancient Oxus river) and all the way to the Aral Sea.
It is an important part of the world for the extractive industries, e.g. the Tien Shan (“Celestial Mountains”) gold belt in Tajikistan, a country that also boosts reserves of the rare earth element antimony (used in batteries, for instance) and petroleum, and which imports via Uzbekistan huge amounts of bauxite ore used for producing alumina (and thence on to aluminium) at the vast, and hugely electricity-hungry, Tursunzoda smelter.
The great 13th Century CE poet Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī) was born in Wakhsh, some say (others say he was born in Balkh) on the banks of the very same, and very similarly-named, river Vakhsh, again in Tajikistan. Many thousands of miles away in Konya, Turkey, he died and that is where his tomb is; it’s a city I visited as a teenager but regret to admit that I can hardly now recall. Obviously the country names referred to here are modern and identical to those of that time.
Rumi, one of the great mystic poets and thinkers in Islamic history, wrote the following, nicely upbeat poem for Nowruz, which I am pleased to share with you now. Nowruz Khojasteh Baad! / Auspicious Nowruz to you all!
May you have the rowdiest Nowruz party,
and may all your problems get resolved
during this upcoming Nowruz.
May you have months filled with joy and laughter,
and a very happy new year.
And may this Nowruz bring you
all the health, joy and happiness.
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