Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Abuse. Again.

Recently, I was awoken by two dogs barking and what I determined were six men yelling. The ruckus was coming from the small courtyard my bedroom window overlooks. The courtyard, which fits about 12 cars, is enclosed on two sides by my L-shaped building.

I thought the noise would stop after the dogs growled away their typically somewhat imaginary predators, but it didn't. I got up out of bed and looked out my window. There, the six men were kicking, over and over, a person on the ground who was not moving.

"Hey!" I yelled out of my third-story window. "Hey!"

They looked up. Far off, a car turned on its headlights in our direction and looked as though it was going to come our way. The men looked at each other, looked at me, and then dragged the still unmoving person to the arched gateway that leads to the courtyard.

The car turned off in a different direction. The six men actually dragged the person back out into the courtyard and had the audacity to start kicking the person again.

This time, I didn't say anything. I just stood there, in my white tee-shirt watching them, letting them know I was watching them. They dragged the body off again and then I didn't see them anymore.

To me, Mongolian culture plays a significant role in this. Mongolian boys grow up wrestling (re: fighting) one another. No one stops it because it's deemed athletic, no matter how many people end up with black eyes. Alcohol also obviously plays a part. As does the seeming acceptance, or the belief of inevitability, of domestic violence.

Still, that does not make violence okay. And if I heard everything that was going on, so did every single other person who has a window facing that courtyard. Yet not one other light went on, not one other person yelled anything out their window. I know one of the men in the courtyard was wearing a red baseball cap, but that's all I can say with certainty. Had one of my neighbors looked out the window though, I'd bet they could identify the hat-wearer. I bet they know his parents. But my neighbors kept to their beds, seemingly placing their heads under their pillows, hoping the noise would stop so they could get back to sleep.

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At 10:17 PM, Blogger Ian said...

It was really violent and anarchic when communism collapsed in 1989-91.

At 7:19 PM, Blogger samraat said...

At 2:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi i'm really curious about the security and crime rates there, as most will argue that UB has a low crime rate but with most pickpocketing occuring only in the market, I have heard horrific stories about rape cases. Is is safe for a foreign lady to be having meals at night in a restaurant, walking on the streets, catching a movie so on?

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The streets are dark at night as there is very little lighting. Foreigners are safe so long as you practice what most Mongolians do, not wandering around at night, especially in unfamiliar neighborhoods.

Alcohol related violence is common, especially among groups of young men. In fact I can't remember a single visit to Mongolia without getting into some fight no matter how much I tried to avoid such circumstances.


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