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Monumental Scapegoat: Tajik Villagers, Embarrassed By Statue, Put It Out To Pasture

Locals felt outsiders were mocking their ibex statue.
Locals felt outsiders were mocking their ibex statue.

In a monumental turnaround, authorities in a southern Tajik town have removed a statue honoring a revered native son, the Siberian ibex, after residents complained it was harming their image.

The statue of the majestic wild goat that roams the mountains surrounding Muminobod, in southern Khatlon Province, was perched atop a rocky plinth in the town's Abdullo Davlatov neighborhood four years ago in admiration.

The cloven-hoofed monument proved to be widely unpopular with residents, however, who felt that it was the source of local mockery.

Qudrat Nozimov says that people in other areas of the town and beyond soon started calling the neighborhood "that goat place" or just the "Goat."

"They refer to us as 'the one from the Goat' and it sounds insulting," Nozimov told RFE/RL's Tajik Service.

"In our slang, goat also means a liar. That's why the residents didn't like it," explained another resident, Nurullo Hasanov.

Local authorities began receiving demands for the statue to be removed and relocated elsewhere, according to Muminobod head Sabohat Mirzoeva.

When their demands were not answered, residents took out their ire on the statue itself, leaving it without its trademark long, curved horns, and breaking its legs.

"We don't know who was doing that," Mirzoeva said on September 24.

"The statue was meant to honor our district's agricultural sector and natural wildlife, but it was completely misinterpreted by people," the official added.

Mirzoeva said that the statue was removed earlier this month "due to residents' demands" and is expected to be restored and repainted before being erected at a different location.

Video taken from the scene shows the lifeless, hornless statue lying in the dirt in front of its plinth, which is now slated to serve as the base for a fountain:

Tajik Villagers Butt Heads Over Cloven-Hoofed Statue (In Tajik)
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Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reporting by RFE/RL Tajik Service correspondent Mumin Ahmadi
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    Mumin Ahmadi

    Mumin Ahmadi has been a correspondent for RFE/RL's Tajik Service since 2008. He graduated from Kulob State University and has worked with Anvori Donish, Millat, Khatlon-Press, and the Center for Journalistic Research of Tajikistan. He was also the editor in chief of Pajwok.

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    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the region. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate and reintegrate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.