It’s two years ago today since I went to the Ata-Beyit memorial complex outside Bishkek, where the great Kyrgyz writer, Chingiz Aitmatov is buried. It’s a beautiful place, with a mass grave for those who were ‘purged’ in 1938, as well as some of those killed in the 2010 revolution. There is also a monument to the 100,000 Kyrgyz who died in 1916 in the ‘Urkun’ (exodus) fleeing over the mountains into China to escape Tsarist forces.
I set the final scene of ‘AN AUTUMN HUNTING’ in Ata-Beyit: it seems to me somewhere that embodies the pride, endurance and suffering of the people of this beautiful country.
To quote the words of Aitmatov, inscribed on his memorial, ‘The hardest thing for anyone is to be a human being every day’