Don’t steal anything here, this is a museum, our history is stored here ...

A woman of the Great Steppe is not only the keeper of the hearth, but also a warrior, strong in spirit. She is the sun, illuminating everything around with her delicacy. But when it came to the fate of the people, she never stood aside. After all, it carries the spirit of nomads. In our history, there are many great women who fought for their people, protected with their wisdom. It can’t be stated that now it has become only a legend. Because they are among us. We bring to your attention the story of one "woman of the Great Steppe", who saved the priceless heritage of our ancestors.



During tragic January protests, many people suffered. Some even had to face the marauders face to face. “Don't steal anything here, this is a museum, our history, the history of our ancestors is stored here,” - these were the words of the head of the department of the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan Anara Amangeldiyeva. We want to share with you the story of the brave women nowadays.

On the morning of January 5th, Anara Amangeldiyeva and other employees were called to work. Then almost everyone was sent home, leaving 5-6 women - key employees - and a couple of guards. After lunch, a wounded cadet knocked at the service entrance of the museum. The women let him in and tried to help. And then a whole string of wounded cadets and soldiers followed. The museum staff let everyone in. Someone's head was broken, some young boy with a broken nose was crying quietly. She says that there were not enough handkerchiefs, rags to stop the blood, toilet paper, and napkins were used. And then the protesters approached the main gate. There are large oak doors. A security guard on video cameras saw them trying to force the doors. One of the employees said that the museum has a basement, like a bomb shelter, and they took the wounded cadets there and hid. After conferring, the women decided to open the doors to the protesters themselves. And after that, a stream of people poured into the museum. At that time they were armed only with sticks.

Anara Amangeldieva asked the crowd not to smash anything in the museum: “Don’t smash anything here, this is a museum, our history, the history of our ancestors is stored here.” And then she took the conversation in a different direction. The protesters relaxed and began to settle down somewhere. Three of them pulled out prayer rugs (they weren’t with a pattern, but black) and started praying. At this time, everyone was silent. With one of the protesters, about thirty years old, the woman started a conversation. She asked him to return home so as not to die. He replied that he did not come to the rallies from a good life. She was really sorry for this guy and those wounded guys hiding in the basement. They were equally precious to her. Kazakhs. Between all this, a man and a woman came from the service entrance. As it turned out, these are the parents of one of the cadets. Apparently, he called them and told them where he was. The women asked to pretend that they were also employees and wait until their son was taken out. They brought with them his civilian clothes. One of the employees, taking things, went to the basement. She was gone for a long time. 30-40 minutes. And my mother went into hysterics. The women quickly brought her to her senses, saying that she would destroy everyone: her son, and all those in the basement, and them too. Finally, her son in disguise came out, and they left through the back door.

The women were on pins and needles. There are protesters upstairs, wounded cadets in the cold basement. It was impossible to leave them overnight. They needed medical attention. Fortunately, more people came with a huge package of different things, different sizes. Apparently, this kid called other relatives. The cadets changed into civilian clothes. For some, the clothes were small, and the women gave away their scarves to cover what was not closed. After 1.5-2 hours, the protesters began to gather, saying that they would now be given weapons and they would go to the airport. The elders, leaving, said: "When we return, let us in, otherwise we will smash everything." But after that night, they did not return to the museum. And upstairs there was a guard watching the cameras. A bullet whistled from a window a meter away from him and hit exactly right in the closet where the things of the heroine of my story hung.

This is a description of that terrible night in the museum, authored by Roza Mutalipova. She is a friend of the department head of the Central State Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. After hearing all the details from her, Rosa shared the details on her personal Facebook page. Her post touched many and became another proof of the female soul strength. 

Her friend stayed overnight at the museum, as it was already late and a curfew had been announced. “And in the morning she went home, putting on her coat, which for some reason was covered in sawdust. And only then did she see that a stray bullet had pierced through her coat. And all the other things in the closet, too,” wrote the author. “As long as there are such women in our people, we will live,” she ended her post with these words.

A woman not only gives life, but also protects it, saves and defends it. Maternal instinct is the most powerful weapon on the planet. This is the story of today's women of the Great Steppe, who by their actions inspire life, creativity, and accomplishment of feats.

Our editors express their deep gratitude to everyone who fought for peace and prosperity in these difficult days. We, as the descendants of our ancestors, must always remember and protect the "strength of the spirit of the nomads." Our strength is in unity.


 Author: Moldir Adamzhan

Translator-editor: Chingiz Smakov

Photo: from the archives of the press services

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