It began .. years ago (I really do not remember when it began. To be updated when I confirm it with my family and neighbors), when my playground was taken away from me within a fortnight by Avzaga Trade LLC - I woke up to see the playground, which I grew up playing at, fenced with high wooden fences. I immediately understood that a building was to be built soon. It made me angry. It made my family angry. It made my neighbors angry. Most shockingly, it made me angry, and I seldom get angry! Anger is such a strong feeling that I seldom lay upon anything or anyone.
I've understood that I was actually angry at myself. I couldn't understand how did this happen so fast. Why wasn't I aware of this? How could this happen so fast? How could I let it happen? I asked my family "What's going on??!", and my mother responded with "I do not know". Of course, we knew what was going on, but we couldn't understand how we could let this happen. My mother tried talking to our building mayor, since new buildings legally needed a permission from the neighboring residents that says "Yes, we like the idea. You are welcome to build buildings, take the playground away from our children, block our sunlight, disturb our peaceful sleep with the building noises and make our residential area ugly" - which was highly unlikely to be approved by any of our neighbors.
We live next to the State Department Store, the Nomin Supermarket - the center of the capital city, where people of middle class or above used to live. We never imagined that anyone in their right mind would approve such a hostile playground demolition - it would not be fair to our children and our next generation. However, we were wrong. One of the elderly grandmother resident told our mother that our building representative somehow approved it, she jokingly said that person got a good deal of money for it and already moved out of the building. When my mother told me this, I was angrier.
My anger grew as the construction started taking down our playground toys and equipment - our beautiful tall trees that circled the playground (in an oval shape if you look from above. I really wish I had photos to show its beauty!), our grass, our tables and chairs (where grandparents used to play chess and cards), our seesaw, our merry-go-round, our swing set, our slide, our chin-up bars, our sandbox, our monkey bars, our overhead ladder and many of which (i) helped children develop physical strength and flexibility; (ii) provided enjoyment and fun; (iii) staged a beautiful romantic place for couples and loved ones; and (iv) gave elderly people a lovely garden to relax and enjoy each other's companion and laughter. I cried when they cut off my tree - I used to climb that tree many times when I was a child. It broke my heart, literally. How can they do this to children?
We reached our breaking point, so I and our neighboring children decided to take down the wooden fences. We all agreed on time and date - I was never that excited to take down and destroy something. I could not wait to take that illegal property down and free our playground from them. When the time came, we all ran to the wooden fences. I have no idea how many we were, but the kids' number were just multiplying so fast. I think the kids from other neighboring buildings were joining us. Altogether circling the fences around, the kids started screaming and started kicking the fences down. You may call it a "small revolution" of the neighborhood kids.
How proud we were to seize back what was rightfully ours. We kicked the fences over and over again. As a girl, I kicked it with all my power. Not caring about the girly behavior and dutiful look, I kicked and took the fences down with rest of the boys; and boy, how good I felt! Once we took the fences down (all of it), we were happily jumping on it - hands up, screaming "yeahhhhhhhh", giving hugs and high fives to one another. Even television and media reporters came that night and recorded our victory against the vicious business plan. We screamed at the TV reporter, saying "We won! We won! We won!"
Sadly, the next day, the construction builders came again and built a stronger iron fences instead. This time our parents and grandparents came out and started arguing with the construction builders, telling them this is illegal. The construction people apologized and told us that they were merely taking orders from their bosses, and they had no right to stop the construction - otherwise they would be fired. They said "We are only doing our jobs here. Please, do not make it difficult for us". After heated discussions, they started pushing one another. The kids just stood there and saw that it was out of their hands - it was too big to tackle. Even our parents and grandparents could not do anything about it, but push the construction people around. How could possibly small kids make a difference?
Our victorious fire in our hearts died then - we all understood that money and power ruled the world. I remember lowering my head down, looking at my feet and told myself that I did not want to live here anymore. Many families agreed with me. One by one, our neighbors started moving to Zaisan, once the building was in progress. We hated that building and everyone who was involved in it: from the person behind it, to the people who were building it, to the people who financed it, to the people who got bribed and gave the permission to build this illegal building, to the people who bought apartments and everything to do with it.
After our constant calls and complaints, they promised to build only one building on half side of the playground, and renovate the other half of the playground to a more beautiful playground. Foolishly and innocently we believed them till they started building the second tower on the same ground they promised to build a playground. This happened when I went to Denmark to study. I was very shocked to see another tower built - another really ugly one - when I came back. I truly loathed those two towers.
How ugly they looked. They did not even fit the surroundings. The architecture who designed it had no taste in style, obviously. I mean, take a look at it when you walk past State Department Store now. Should not the architecture take the surroundings into a factor when they build something? I-40,000 area is full of ancient buildings, 4 floored, and all look alike. I'd like something nice as Gandirs, which is built at the other side of the State Department Store, but noooo, take a look at the photos below. In addition, they did not think about parking spaces as well. As soon as the residents went to the building, our area started having traffic jams and lack of parking space (Duh! More people means more vehicles). Worse, the residents started throwing their garbage right outside their building that faced the main street (look at the photos below).
The first Avzaga Building #17:
The second Avzaga Building #(not known) right next to the ugly green one:
Someone asked me "How do you know the garbage is from the new residents? It could be you!" I told him that all of the initial/former residents throws their garbage behind a door of the 1st floor of the main corridors; then our building cleaning lady picks them up and gives them to the garbage collecting car when it comes every morning. Plus, as you can see from the photo, the garbage is full of boxes - yes, boxes. New TV boxes, refrigerator boxes, new whatever boxes and so forth - a clear sign of new residents moving in. It made me wonder and come to a conclusion that the people who moved in to this building do not care about the surroundings and the beauty of their residential environment.
To sum things up, I'd like to ask few questions from the people who supports, finances and buys such horrible properties:
1. To the project master: How can you do this - taking away the playground from children and the relaxing garden from the elderly? How can you sleep at night? How much money did you make? Was it worth it?
2. To the financing investors and buyers: How can you finance such illegal and inhumane project? How can you sleep at night? How can you buy such apartment with no residential gardens, no parking space and no playground for your children? How can you sleep in it?
3. To everyone who let this happen: How did we let this happen?
I am ashamed of myself for letting this happen. I am ashamed of my neighbors who let this happen, even if they fought with me during the revolt. I am ashamed of living next to these people who support and purchase such horrible buildings. I am ashamed of living in such area.
A disappointed resident of State Department Store area,