Return of the Friendship of Peoples
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At the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the former Palace of Friendship of Peoples (now called Istiqlol) has been reverted to its former name.
“In order to restore historical justice and to perpetuate the noble qualities and values of the people it is important to return the memorial complex “Friendship of Peoples” dedicated to the Shamahmudovs family to the square in the center of the capital,” said the head of state, speaking recently at a videoconference meeting.
“There are few countries and nations in the world who can be proud of such high human qualities as the family of the Tashkent blacksmith Shaahmed Shamahmudov, who took 15 children during the war,” the President suggested. He also added that the name Shamahmudov would be given to a street in the Shaykhantahur district of Tashkent, and the metro station, square and the Istiqlol Palace will take their names.
Social networks these days are literally thriving with comments, asserting that the Shamahmudovs’ heroism became a symbol of the Uzbek people’s vast contribution to the victory over fascism, and returning the monument to its original place “is not just a fair decision, but an unforgettable unique event, for which many thanks and low bow to our President!”
Worth reminding that at the dawn of the war, when Central Asia opened up to endless trains with evacuated residents of the European part of the USSR, the Shamahmudovs took over 15 orphan children - Russian, Belarusian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, Latvian, Tatar, Jewish, German and Kazakh.
The house of Shaahmed and his wife Bahri became a small corner of kindness in the bread city of Tashkent. The head of this international family was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor, and Bahri-opa proudly wore the title The Hero Mother. The Shamahmudovs became prototypes for Rahmat Fayzi’s novel “His Majesty the Human” and the celebrated motion pictures “You are not an orphan”, “Leningrad people are my children”.
The monument dedicated to the Shamahmudovs’ feat was erected in Tashkent on May 26, 1982, and stood in its honorable place for almost 26 years. Residents and guests of Tashkent liked to relax and take pictures at the sculptural composition located in its center that captured the blacksmith and his wife surrounded by the children they adopted.
But on the morning of April 12, 2008, people living nearby, on their way to work, literally dumbfounded: the place of the usual symbol of the “bread city” was replaced with a blackened square of freshly dug soil, as if a fresh grave mound was formed over night. Soon, a solid flowerbed with bright flowers emerged on this place.
The monument was sent by the authorities of Tashkent to the outskirts of the city: it was installed near a post of the traffic police, behind the capital’s clothing market (the former Hippodrome). According to the Tashkent hokimiyat, “the transfer of the monument with the loss of relevance of the title “Friendship of Peoples” was caused by the need to rename the Palace of Arts Khalqlar Dustligi (Friendship of Peoples) into Istiqlol Palace.
At first, the monument in the new place looked good, and from time to time one could even see bunches of flowers around it, but eventually the people began to forget about it. The townspeople rarely visited it, because it would take a long and uncomfortable way to reach it. The path to the monument practically overgrew with grass bоth in direct sense and figuratively.
But thanks to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a monument symbolizing the feat and nobility of the Uzbek people in the war against fascism, moved from the backyard of the city and history to its rightful place in the center of the capital.