Taner Murat aka Shuraleh
Asociatia Multiculturala Anticus
Institute for Caucasica, Tatarica and Turkestan Studies (ICATAT), Magdeburg, Germany
Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law at the Arctic Centre in the University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland
Issyk-Kul State University named after K.Tynystanov, Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies, Bulgaria; Dept of State Language and Social Linguistics of Institute of Linguistics and Literature, Kyrgyzstan; Institute of Cultural Heritage, Moldova,
In heavenly Dobrudja, the Tatar culture and Nature are suffering. „The environmental crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis,” says Thomas Berry. Our goal is to reconcile the local socio-ecological disharmony. We will extensively document Shuraleh’s existence and teach everyone, Tatars and Romanians, Shuraleh’s magic language and art. Our objectives are (a) laying the groundwork of education in Tatar, and (b) initiating an environmental movement to stop the local neglect of Nature.
Dobrudja, the peninsular paradise in south-east Romania where the Danube embraces the Black Sea
For at least 700 years the Tatar language dominated the land of Dobrudja. Around 1940 the Romanian replaced Tatar as the majority language of the region. Today, the civic involvement of the Tatars is incoherent and unsubstantial due to the dilution of their number, language, and culture. As a follow, (A) there is a linguistic and cultural gap between the Tatar elders and the younger generations, the sign of a severely endangered language. Also, (B) there is a polarization of the Romanian and Tatar cultural groups and the strong domination of the Romanians seems to bring no special deference for the environment: waste pollution, stray dogs, less and less urban gardens and parks, a Danube Delta stifled by human presence and plastic waste.
We will address the challenge (A) by encouraging Tatar communities to take up their heritage ownership and by transferring the traditional knowledge to the younger generations through a program of training and playing with cross-generational involvement. This will instill a sense of pride in the local way and interest in maintaining the traditional culture, finally resulting in a qualitative growth of their civic participation.
By transferring the holistic view and the complex relationship the rural Tatar elders have with Nature to the younger urban Romanians we will confront the challenge (B) strengthening the social cohesion, with a positive impact on the citizens’ engagement in matters of environmental degradation.
We are aimed at multiple audiences. The main source of documentation is the Tatar heritage influencers, people over 65 living in the rural Dobrudja (total of 19.800 Tatars) or abroad, known for the knowledge of their native language, traditions, and customs, for their narrative, artistic or craft skills, usually herders, dancers, singers, Kuresh wrestlers, artisans, eagle hunters, weavers, poets, etc.
One group of beneficiaries are urban young Tatars in Dobrudja, up to forty years old, at least high school graduates, familiar with modern technologies, book readers, lovers of the arts and environment, aware of sharing a certain history and mother tongue.
A larger group are the local Romanians(total 885.000) with a similar profile but with no particular consideration for Tatar culture
Step 1 – Broad documentation of Shuraleh’s existence and the traditional way Tatars deal with the environment
1.a Fieldwork: interviewing the native heritage influencers
1.b Exploration: delivering physical evidence of Shuraleh's existence (image hunting)
1.c Academic documentation: conferencing
Step 2 – Tatar School
2.a Curricula or educational materials for learners
2.b Training the trainers
2.c Training the young generations
Step 3 – Development of the ecological movement „My Friend Shuraleh”
3.a Educational materials for learners
3.b Tatar art workshops
3.c In-person meetings with policy-makers and influencers
3.d Landscape studies and maps with targeted areas
3.e Development and signing of Plans for the Management and Maintenance of Shuraleh’s Reserves
With a rebalanced cultural diversity, a year from now Dobrudja is going to be a more interesting and enjoyable place. Training the first grades and tomorrow’s teachers, artists, and artisans, the first Tatar School in the region will gather all generations in a unique auditorium stopping the cultural decay and the psychological pain of this minority and reshaping into the authentic mold their identity, self-recognition, and self-appreciation.
With the opening or immediate perspective of the first Shuraleh Reserve, the regional inter-ethnic cohesion will be strengthened and the citizens’ environmental responsibility improved. People will be more and more aware that communities with multiculturalism have extra socio-economic capital which creates certain tangible opportunities.
Today, Europeans see minority mother tongue either as a „problem” considering that multilingualism can lead to a lack of social cohesion and ethnic conflict, or as a „right” to participate fully in society through one’s language, which may require the provision of educational resources. We will show that multilingualism is a source of expertise, a „resource” that increases the skills of society as a whole, promotes local economies and cultures, enhances the status of subordinate groups, encourages awareness of other points of view and mutual respect rather than dominance.
After the environmental success of this project do not expect Shuraleh to come and save the entire EU, but remember that every community has fairy-tale heroes in need of protection waiting for a saving model.
Last year, working under the IYIL2019 UNESCO logo, we have organized the events aimed at the conservation and revitalization of the Tatar language in Romania. While there is a need to do more, there has never been a better time to bring to the surface the story of Shuraleh. On the one hand, the UN recently issued a strategic roadmap for the Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) prioritizing the empowerment of indigenous language users. On the other hand, deforestation and the imminence of a planetary climate disaster have become more significant than ever before. It’s important for the world to learn from and listen to the collective wisdom of the underrepresented communities and to find equitable solutions with all communities in mind, ensuring this Earth is hospitable to everyone.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Equipment & Supplies: €3870
Subcontracting, consultancy, studies, projects and other external services: €6029
Measurement and Evaluation 10%: €3967
Institutional Overhead 15%: €5951
Since Civic Europe covers the main expenses of €49593, we understand to cover the conferencing costs, estimated of €11700 as in the previous years of our activity, with our personal contribution.
We would welcome any feedback and advice on what we need to improve or change to find the right direction. We are interested in changing ideas with other multicultural projects.