We’ve known for months that Lenin’s time on the pedestal dominating the city were numbered. Every few weeks I hear a rumor that they are finally going to begin taking him down. But now it seems the process is actually begun. Starting with his feet, apparently. It’s difficult to tell, but it seems that the screen around the great leader’s boots conceals the beginnings of his demolition. Feet first into the future I suppose.
Here Amir gestures to the great communist himself, exhibiting the grandeur of his decay.
And yes, here I am, in all my Obama t-shirt glory, heralding the new age of capitalism. Shortly after this immodest display Amir and I were accosted by an irascible caretaker type who tried to weasel money out of us for “illegally” taking pictures. He threatened to call the police, but we stood firm, knowing it was an empty threat–if the police came they would take the bribe money for themselves. Eventually we pretended to delete the photos and walked off. Paradoxically, after he realized he could wrangle no money from us, he called out, “come back when it’s finished! Rohi safed (white road–a blessing).” It was as if his natural hospitality finally overcame his lust for bribery. Oh Tajikistan. Always an adventure.
Once the park surrounding the statue is remodeled the pedestal will be the new home of a statue of Ismoili Somoni. It’s going to look great actually. Workmen are already tracing murals along the stairs approaching the pedestal. But I think I will be in America by the time it finishes. As with any project like this, the finish date is supposed to be Independence Day, September 9.