Legal culture through the eyes of a new generation

Jan 5, 2018

Legal culture is the attitude of society in regards of laws, which is manifested in the behavior of citizens in communication, at work, on the street and even in the family. 

Legal culture has been formed for centuries under the influence of customs, traditions, culture and legal education.

Modern legal culture based on the principles of justice, equality and freedom, which excludes arbitrariness and self-will. At the same time, everyone has a right for freedom of choice, thought, speaking out, to choose a living place... In short, we have a right to create our own unique way life but at the same time, admit the rights and freedoms of others.
Husband's relatives expel Gulnur's mother from the house. After a while, they understand their daughter-in-law may appeal to court and they will have to return her daughter.  Between them there is such an unpleasant dialogue:   
 -            I ask you, return my daughter Gulnur to me!
 -          Get out of the house, Gulnur is our daughter!  I’m her grandmother, she grew up here, you have no rights!
 -            I'm her mother and I have a right to grow my child! 
 -            Go away, so that my eyes will not see you here anymore.  Do not even try to see her.
This is a snippet from the scenes prepared for the contest “Legal culture through street theaters”.  Schoolchildren of 10 schools Kulatov Ayil Okmotu prepared staging on current legal problems of the local citizens.  All these stories have been taken from real life: difficulties and tears of single mothers, who could not obtain alimonies, unauthorized construction on someone else’s land, the psychological pressure on the student, accused of theft, incompetence and corruption in government authorities and many other problems arising because of internal and external migration.
 
 Here's another situation from life:
 - Ahmat Ake, why did you build a house on my part of the site?
 - Zeynep, where have you been all these five years?  You do not fool me, go and build in any other place!
 - This is my piece of land, and I want to build a house here.
  - Can you afford to build a house?  Get out of my eyes, I’ll buy you a site in another place, and there you’ll build your own chicken coop.
 - Ahmat ake, why do you humiliate me so much, we will be neighbors eventually.   
 - With a beggar like you, I’ll never be a neighbor, your hut will ruin the whole background of my house.
 - If you do not return my piece of land, I’ll write a statement to the court!
 Zeynep appeals to local authorities, to the aksakals court, but they all persuade her to give the land and build a house in another place, meaning that Akhmat ake is a wealthy and respected person in the village. Nevertheless, Zeynep insists on her own and stands on that the piece of land shall be returned to her.

Along with legal problems, young actors quite openly and boldly demonstrated the low spiritual and moral state of adults, such as humiliation of honor and dignity, belittling women, demonstrating male superiority, irresponsibility.  In all the stages, there was a call for justice, for mutual respect, for liberation from feelings of sacrifice.  It's nice that the students boldly criticizing the evils of modern society, clearly define the line between good and bad, are calling for the struggle, for the realization of the legitimate rights and not to quiet humbleness.

During the performances, it was clear that the new generation is not one of those who accept and absorb everything told by the older generation.  This generation, which would analyze, disassemble or throw out unnecessary, carefully choose the values that will help them to achieve their goals, they will lead to a full and self-sufficient life filled with deep meaning.

According to the young actors in the preparation of street performances, they had to analyze the existing legal problems of villagers and to choose the most relevant of them.  “The very process of preparing the script has become a good experience for us.  We have acquired very useful knowledge, because for each case, we were looking for the optimal solutions.  Some  legal problems can not be solved, you can only  hope on the fairness of the parties,” said Asylbek kyzy Uris, a student of the school named after Bekiev .

The competition was organized with the aim of increasing legal awareness of the citizens in the most accessible form and was supported by the UNDP and Finnish Foreign Ministry project “Widening Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic" .  All participants and winners of the contest were awarded with valuable prizes.

Similar competitions of street theaters on raising of legal culture of the citizens were organized among schools of Kizyl Oktyabr, Burana  Ayil Okmots of Chui Oblast , Kenesh  Ayil Okmot of  Osh Oblast. These representations have been held for the third year and  it became popular among the citizens.  Young actors are invited to perform in other Ayil Okmots to participate in other event, holidays and conferences. According to teachers and organizers, street theater has become a very effective tool to raise awareness of the citizens.

It should be noted that the values that are imparted to the present generation through the legal culture do not contradict the deep philosophical values that have been passed down from generation to generation and on the contrary complement it with new content making the necessary adjustments.

Mery Bekeshova , Communication Specialist, UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland Project "Widening Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic"

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