Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yunus Kandym


Yunus Kandym 1959-2005

Today in the Reading Hall of the Library, a newly published edition of a book translated from Ukrainian into Crimean Tatar was presented to the Library and the media. The translation was the work of Crimean Tatar poet Yunus Kandym, who died in 2005.

Yunus Kandym was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1959. From 1976 to 1981, he studied Crimean Tatar language at the Tashkent State Pedagogical Institute. In 1981, he went to work for the Crimean Tatar newspaper, Lenin Banner, first as a reporter, and later as a department head. In 1989 his family moved to Crimea, where he began work on the newspaper Crimean. He became a member of the Journalist Union in 1986 and the Writers’ Union in 1990 and also worked as a translator.

Yunus Kandym’s first poem was published in Tashkent in 1979. Nine years later his first book of poetry was published. He went on to publish several books of poetry and his poems are found in numerous collections in Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar languages. He received the award of Honored Culture Worker of Ukraine and is often quoted in Turkish writings. Yunus Kandym died in 2005 at the age of 45.

Display of Yunus Kandym's work in the Reading Hall of the Library.
Publisher of the Crimean Tatar translation of Mikael Kotsubinsky.
Yunus Kandym's wife talks about the poet's life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crimean Tatar: A "severely endangered" language

The Crimean Tatar language is listed as “severely endangered” in the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Disappearing Languages. They estimate that, if nothing is done, half of the 6000 plus languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century.
Why should we care? This is what UNESCO says:
“Every language reflects a unique world-view with its own value systems, philosophy and particular cultural features. The extinction of a language results in the irrecoverable loss of unique cultural knowledge embodied in it for centuries, including historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge that may be essential for the survival of not only its speakers, but also countless others.”

Please consider donating to the Crimean Tatar Cultural and Language Preservation project and help at least one of those endangered languages survive. Click here to donate.

And if you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out the Gasprinsky Library’s website, please do—you can click on it under Websites of Interest. The website is in Crimean Tatar and Russian, but with the aid of Google Translate, you can read much of the site in English. The Library just started a children’s section on their website with games, fairy tales, and coloring books, all in Crimean Tatar, along with the Crimean Tatar Cyrillic alphabet. It is estimated only 5% of Crimean Tatar children speak their native language. This is just one more effort on the part of the Library to fulfill its mission to preserve and revitalize the Crimean Tatar language and culture.

Children at the Gasprinsky Library learn about the children's books in Crimean Tatar.
The Crimean Tatar television station, ATR, interviews one young reader.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Help support the work of the Gasprinsky Crimean Tatar Library!

Now you have an opportunity to support the work of the Gasprinsky Library by making a tax exempt donation through the Peace Corps website. Just click on the link on the right, and it will take you directly to the listing of our project on the Peace Corps website.

Your donation will help fund a project of the Library to digitize their archival documents and make them available on their website. More on this project:

Since its founding twenty years, the Gasprinsky Crimean Tatar Library has become the central repository of documents by and about the Crimean Tatar people. It now has a collection of over 40,000 documents, including more than 8000 in the Crimean Tatar language. The Library has an archival department to which well-known Crimean Tatar political leaders, intellectuals, artists, writers and poets have donated their personal papers. However, as an institution of the Ukrainian government, the Library suffers from a severe lack of funds to do anything beyond pay salaries and maintain the building. Many of the documents of the Library are in urgent need of preservation, particularly in a digital form that would give them a much wider audience. With this project, we hope to raise $3000 which would allow the Library to purchase a small flatbed paper scanner for the numerous archival paper documents—letters, writings, notes, etc—and also to purchase digital scans of some of the Library’s microfilms. The Library is particularly interested in purchasing scans of the microfilms of the newspaper Terdzhman, published from 1883 to 1918 by the Muslim educator and reformer Ismail Gasprinsky, whom the Library is named after. The digital copies then would be made available to Library patrons through the Library’s computers and to readers and researchers worldwide via the Library’s website.

Please consider making a small donation to support this vital work in the continuing mission of the Library to preserve the Crimean Tatar language and culture. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ramiz Netovkin, 1960-2011

In the long hallway of the Library that connects the different offices, a space has been made for exhibits of the work of local Crimean Tatar artists. The current exhibit shows the work of a well-known graphic artist, Ramiz Netovkin, who died recently at the age of 51. Netovkin was born in Tashkent on June 21, 1960. In 1975, he came to Simferopol. He studied painting at the Simferopol College of Art in the name of H.C. Samokisha and graduated in 1980. Since 1983 his work has been included in numerous regional, national, and international exhibits, including solo exhibits in New York, Russia, Germany, Turkey, Poland, and Estonia. Ramiz Netovkin worked as a graphic artist, and in 1989 he became a member of the Union of Ukrainian Artists. He was awarded the designation of Honored Artist of Crimea.
Ramiz Netovkin lived in the nearby small city of Belagorsk. He died July 16, 2011, after suffering a heart attack in the earlier part of the year. Currently there is a retrospective exhibit of his work at the Crimean Tatar Museum of Art in Simferopol.