Monday, 29, November, 2021

Mark Reese, the author of the translation of the novel "The Bygone Days " by Abdulla Qodiri said that the promised honorarium on behalf of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had not been paid after five months. He wrote about this in a series of Twitter posts addressed to the President of Uzbekistan.

“It has taken me 5 months to finally send this Tweet. After 3 yrs of working to assist w/ your reforms thru the vehicle of Uzbek literature, I feel compelled to use a medium that I despise to bring to your attention a wrong committed by members of your government.”

“5 months ago you awarded me a sizable honorarium and the promise to purchase a 1,000 copies of O’tkan Kunlar as gifts to be handed out at Uz Embassies abroad. The award was ironic. The day before I left Tashkent last May, a member of your government contacted Khondamir Qodiry— Abdullah Qodiry’s grandson— and a friend, who had nothing to do with my work, stating:

1) ‘I meet w/ President Mirziyoyev in 7 minutes and he wants to know how much we gave Mark during his visit as an honorarium.’

2) ‘We didn’t give Mark the money.”

“Will he forgive and forget?’ My greatest pride other than my family has been public service— service that started in Uzbekistan in 1994. Ironically my promotion at the Naval Academy was tied to my ethical handling of honoraria. Mishandling of public funds is inexcusable.”

“My response to your employee was: ‘Are you asking me to lie to President Mirziyoyev? Go drink tea’ From that response your employee threatened my friend… I was surprised by this reversal. I met with Mr. Sultanov the day before, provided him a proposal, and found him extremely professional. He too has done translation and I thought him worthy of his position. My conclusion was that this is the evergreen issue of top leadership being undermined by corrupt middle men.”

“By the time I returned to Nashville I was thru Zoom awarded the honorarium, told that they would purchase 1,000 books, and offered a job at Navoi Uni for 20k a year. I was relieved that I would not be embroiled in internal politics in Uzbekistan but I had to decline the offer for work. I simply could not work at that rate— I would be paying Uzbekistan to teach English. Nothing tangible was offered re my proposal to Mr. Sultanov other than ‘we will talk about it when you get here.’ One of those on the Zoom was the employee who asked me to ‘forgive and forget’ the honorarium. They were clearly not happy w/ being forced to be there.”

“I was uncomfortable moving with my son to Tashkent and have our security in the hands of someone who asks me to lie to you and then threatens my friend. That same person is responsible for distributing the honorarium and purchasing the books.”

“As you know, over the past 3 years I have engaged in dozens of interviews, taught classes online to Navoi for next to nothing, given dozens of lectures, covered almost all of my travel thru personal funds. My frustrations have been considerable. Yet folks from Uzbekistan have kept me going. Your support has kept me going. There are more honest people in Uzbekistan than dishonest. But 1 or 2 individuals can easily discredit Uzbekistan and stymie your reforms. Corruption of middle level admin discredits Mr. Sultanov— a professional— and, even more egregious, your efforts to build a future for Uzbekistan.”

“These reforms cannot fail. Those among your admin who are honest players must be allowed to succeed. Again, I hate Twitter. I only established this account to further Uzbek literature and culture. The fact that I have to resort to this medium is a symptom of mid- level corruption stymieing the function of Uzbekistan government. Just as with the Naval Academy I feel compelled to put aside my embarrassment in making this appeal w/ assuring corrupt individuals don’t persist.”

Officials of the Writers' Union and the Department for the Development of the State Language under the Cabinet of Ministers issued a statement.

“This issue is now on the agenda and is being discussed with the leadership”.

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