24 Nov 2008
September 6, 2008, Concert at theater
overlooking the Ishim River
This concert was a significant event for the new city of Astana and for those who now call Astana their home.
For Astana to reach this point in time many problems were overcome … problems appearing as dragons that were slain. The Baiterek Tower, meaning tall poplar tree in the Kazakh language, symbolizes this feat.
As the legend goes, … Samruck, the mythical bird, would lay an egg each morning in the Baiterek tree and late in the evening an evil dragon would eat the egg. Finally, the Kazakh people killed the dragon and the egg burst forth with eternal brightness. The Baiterek Tower is exactly 97 meters tall representing the year 1997 when Astana became the capital city of Kazakhstan. The tower was erected as a reminder to all that this was the beginning for the capital city and its citizens.
Planning and construction of this new city represented a host of major challenges … dragons … that were seeking to destroy the hopes and dreams of a future that was to be different than the past. Built on swampy ground along the left bank of the Isham River and across from the old city of Akmola, Astana has grown at a phenomenal rate. It now has a population of nearly one million people.
The bridges connecting the right and left banks of the river are passageways from the new to the old but just as the new part of the city has grown out of the swamp, the old part is being replaced by the new. Soon the metamorphosis from Akmola to Astana … from a city known as “white tomb” in the Kazakh language to “the capital” will be complete.
The Baiterek Tower occupies the center of a huge quadrangle. At the Eastern end of this large mall is the marbled splendor of the Presidential Palace. Facing this edifice at the other end is the KazMunayGaz Building. The commanding presence of the building is matched by the power of this national company as it manages the country’s oil wealth. Along the sides of the mall are more impressive buildings. On one side, … near the Presidential Palace, … are the top government offices -- the legislative and the judicial branches. On the other side are the offices of some of the country’s most powerful business corporations.
Close by and not to be missed is the imposing Nur Astana Mosque thus signifying the strength of the Muslim influence in the country.
Throughout the city a variety of trees have been planted. These trees are beginning to form a dense forest; … a barrier to the harsh climate caused by the relentless winds blowing across the nearly treeless steppe. Some of these are pine, some are maple and, of course, there are many poplar trees … the same species that can eventually be called a Baiterek tree. Hopefully, the Samruck bird will lay her egg in their branches and the people of Astana will keep it free from dragons.
Another huge dragon waiting in the darkness is the ethnic diversity of these people at the concert and in the country as a whole. Kazakh and Russian languages are used and English is also taught in the schools. Recognizing this dilemma, the new constitution provides freedom of religion and a democracy with a free-market economy.
With its imposing pyramid structure, the Palace of Peace and Harmony is a place where religious groups of all faiths can meet. Here they can develop mutual understanding for the good of all. Achieving a working relationship among the religious and ethnic groups is more than just wishful thinking. It is a task that requires continual care and attention to achieve success.
Perhaps the circus near the mall is even a better place for fostering peace and harmony. There are no dragons here; … instead, this is a place to enjoy for young and old … a place to run among the stylized representations of animals and circus performers. Hopefully, the cheerful and non-confrontational atmosphere of this place will carry on through to the next generation, … a generation that will inherit a world that will be much different than that of today.
However, the generation that is preparing itself to be leaders of tomorrow is eager to take on the responsibility before them. They are actively preparing themselves with new knowledge and skills in the universities within this city. These new institutions are setup to encourage openness in the international arena along with the development of in-depth technical, management and computer skills.
Developing a free-market economy was a natural process. The dragon of communist centralized control died of its own bureaucratic weight. Today, … shopping centers abound … shelves are stacked with consumer goods … from the meat market where people can smell and touch the product to find the best for their family … to the flower shops where beauty and fragrance is available for a price and, … of course, … there is a place for tourists to purchase souvenirs.
(Back to concert)
The transformation from “white tomb” to “the capital” has been extraordinary. Still, there is much more to do. But, the glitter all around tends to ignore the difficulties ahead. True growth in hearts and minds takes time, effort and persistence as does becoming an accomplished musician. To build on the freedom that the country now enjoys, vigilance must be maintained since dragons continue to seek and destroy.
As a young child must have guidance around obstacles that are harmful and which he does not fathom, so it is that this country needs guidance from above.
Scripture Overlay: Isaiah 65:1
“I revealed myself to those
who did not ask for me.
· Will you pray for this young country, … its president, government leaders and citizens?
· Will you pray that even as a child listens for the sound of a mother’s voice, the people of Kazakhstan will listen for God’s voice?
· Will you pray that the leaders and people will hear and follow God?
Statement About Video Use
The videos and other media material produced by CRF Media are to be used as a resource material for increasing the awareness of and involvement with the specific people groups featured in the material. The information is made available to evangelical Christian organizations and individuals who commit to sharing the information with others.
The videos produced by CRF Media are not for sale. They are free to qualified organizations and individuals with no postage or handling charges. We mail the material only to churches or other qualified organizations. We do not mail to individuals without independent qualifying verification.
U.S. copyright laws protect all media material produced by CRF Media. The material is not to be copied for distribution without the written consent of CRF Media.