Kazakhstan: The symphony of pain and hope

Book on the nuclear legacy of Kazakhstan published in Arabic.

Author Muna Makhamreh, PNND Coordinator for Arab Countries, highlights the impact of Soviet nuclear tests and the nuclear disarmament initiatives of Kazakhstan.

Muna Makhamreh, PNND Coordinator for Arab Countries, has published a book in Arabic chronicling the painful history of Kazakhstan during the time of Soviet rule, and highlighting the new era of peace and development in Kazakhstan since its independence.

The book was launched in Amman, Jordan on December 8, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.

Muna Makhamreh with the Kazakhstan Ambassador to Jordan and other guests of the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan independence.

'When I embarked on writing this book, my goal was to illustrate the colossal tragedy and pain the people of Kazakhstan endured during the 20th century', says Muna. 'This included famine, detentions and executions of the elites of the Kazakhstani people as well as the devastating nuclear tests that have caused the death of not less than one and half a million Kazakhstani citizens.'

A page from Muna's book showing a deformed sheep from the region of Kazakhstan where the USSR tested nuclear weapons.

Muna was inspired to write the book after travelling to Semipalatinsk, the region in Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union carried out its nuclear experiments. There she saw some of the deformed fetuses, preserved  in test tubes at the Medical University where students study the impact of the nuclear tests. 

She had also travelled to Japan where she met survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings, and visited Fukushima which had been impacted by a nuclear reactor disaster following the 2011 Tsunami.

'These experiences brought a mixed feeling of grief and sorrow over the hundreds thousands innocent victims all over the world,' says Muna. 'It became a duty and commitment for me to convey to the world and share what I have witnessed, and to emphasize that the nuclear arms race must be ended so that peoples of the world can enjoy health, prosperity and progress without the threat of weapons of mass destruction.'

A page from Muna's book showing a child from Kazakhstan born with deformities as a result of the nuclear tests.

Outline of the book

Muna's book of 200 pages is divided into six chapters.

The first chapter tackles the nuclear tests. The second on the legal aspects of the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation embedded in international agreements.

Chapter 3 tackles the endeavors of Kazakhstan towards achieving global peace and security. 

The fourth chapter deals with the emergence of Kazakhstan with regard its origin, language and literature. Chapter five covers the history and the civilization of Kazakhstan.

In the final chapter Muna reflects on the independence of Kazakhstan and the achievements realized after separation from the Soviet Union.  

Muna signs a copy of the book to give to the Kazakhstan Ambassador to Jordan