TCM Health According to Season Spring

TCM Health According to Season Spring
TCM Health According to Season Spring

Weather changes like an infants face – dress accordingly (layers) Eat pungent (spicy), sweet, & lightly warm foods to prepare body for summer Exercise & activity should be gentle and smooth styles, i.e. breathing, stretching, Qigong, yoga, light weights, walking, meditation, light cardio, – these simulate an animal coming out of hibernation
Liver Qi is active & stronger – soothe & regulate the liver function, if there is stagnation it may lead to depressive or anger related states (i.e impatience, frustration, sadness, resentment, loneliness, violence, belligerence, rudeness, edginess, arrogance, stubbornness, aggression, impulsiveness & explosive outbursts, & mood swings). The appetite should be slightly lower – eat less in spring as to ease the liver function, outside air helps liver Qi flow. If liver is hyperactive, spring may aggravate the symptoms so it is best to treat this condition in late winter.
Soothe liver Qi with the proper foods (pungent, sweet, cool or slightly warm):

First of all avoid all processed & denatured foods (i.e. refined flours & sugars), high fat foods (i.e. meats, fatty oils & spreads, eggs, milk, cheese, & nuts), chemicals, & intoxicants, these foods are heavy and clog the liver resulting in disease susceptibility.
Eat less in quantity and avoid late meals as to not interfere with liver & gallbladder times of the night (11pm to 3am).
Green is the color of the liver & of spring time so consume plentiful young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, & immature cereal grasses (if tendency is towards coldness lightly cook foods or steam at high temperatures for short periods of time)
Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, & bayleaf are pungent cooking spices desirable for spring.
Most complex carbohydrates such as grains, legumes, & seeds are sweet in flavour that increases with sprouting, these are good in spring.
Young starchy vegetables thinned from the early garden are also good.
Foods that relieve liver stagnation:
watercress, onion family, mustard greens, turmeric, cumin, dill, ginger, black pepper, horseradish, rosemary, mints, lemon balm, beets, taro root, sweet rice, strawberry, peach, cherry, chestnut, pine nut, cabbage, turnip root, kohlrabi, caulifower, broccoli, & Brussels sprouts, sprouted grains, beans, & seafoods.
Foods that harmonize the liver:
grains, vegetables, legumes & other complex carbohydrates, honey used sparingly, apple cider vinegar, stevia, unrefined cane juice, whole sugar cane, licorice root, barley malt, date sugar, molasses, & rice syrup.
Foods that calm liver excess:
high quality vinegars (i.e. apple cider, brown rice, rice wine), honey, lemon, lime, grapefruit, rye, romaine, lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, alfalfa, radish leaves, citrus peels, mints, lemon balm, & dandelion
Foods that cool & detoxify the liver:
mung beans, celery, seaweeds, lettuce, cucumber, watercress, tofu, millet, plum, chlorophyll rich foods (wheat & barley grass, spirulina, blue-green algae, chlorella), mushrooms, rhubarb root or stem, radish, & daikon radish.
Foods that tonify liver Yin & blood:
mung beans, chlorophyll rich foods, cucumber, tofu, millet, seaweed, watercress, plum, flax, borage, evening primrose, &/or black current oils, plentiful water intake, aloe vera, dark grapes, blackberries, huckleberries, raspberries, blackstrap molasses, & organic animal liver.
Foods that calm liver Wind:
celery, basil, sage, fennel, dried or fresh ginger, anise, oats, black soybeans, black sesame seeds, kudzu, pine nuts, coconut, flax oil, & shrimp. Foods that worsen this condition are: eggs, goose, crab, buckwheat, hot peppers, curries, & beef.
People who were not breast-fed: these people are more likely to develop immune deficient related problems, allergies, & other liver related disorders. The use regular use of chlorophyll rich foods & GLA fatty acids greatly enhances the overall body strength & liver function.
Spring is the windy season and the weather starts to warm up, therefore Wind & Heat disorders may arise, i.e. respiratory disease.
If a person suffers from chronic pain too much sour flavour goes directly to the nerves & can hurt the liver.
Similar rules apply to the recommended sweet & pungent (spicy) foods, excess is bad.
Helpful ideas to keep healthy in spring:
The Food guide Pyramid is not a rigid prescription but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that’s right for you.

The Pyramid calls for eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and at the same time the right amount of calories to maintain healthy weight.

What Counts as One Serving?
Be sure to eat at least the lowest number of servings from the five major food groups listed below. You need them for the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein they provide. Just try to pick the lowest fat choices from the food groups. no specific serving size is given for the fats, oils, and sweets group because the message is USE SPARINGLY.

The amount of food that counts as one serving is listed below. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than 1 serving. For example, a dinner portion of spaghetti would count as 2 or 3 servings of pasta.

Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine
Chinese medicine

Try to eat local and in season, follow your body type needs and listen to what your body tells you about what you are eating.
Have skin disease, don’t eat onion, or other things that are pungent.
If you use your tendons that are hard on the tendons you should eat to support the liver, stay away from to much pungent food (dry tendons). If you have weak Spleen and Stomach (puffy tongue, loose stools, poor appetite, bloating), do not eat foods that are too cold in the morning (orange juice, banana, cold yogurt, fruit smoothies, etc). This type of breakfast is more suitable for the person that shows Heat signs.
Women have more taste than men. Men more use the nose (smell).
Boil bitter melon just briefly, then store for 24 hours in the fridge before eating.
Qiang Chai vegetable cooked (stir fried in water) then left in the fridge for one day produces alcohol (green vegetable)
At different times of the day foods effect you differently, just like we know not to drink coffee just before we go to bed!
Any Bi syndrome, avoid tomatoes, they are cold and sour. Vitamin A goes to the Liver for the eyes. Celery is bitter cold, proof that it slows sperm (essence), good to drain Damp/Heat.
Listen to what your body wants, eat it (within reason), connect the mind and body, the body will tell you what it likes and what it needs, all you have to do is listen. Understand that what your body needs can change from time to time (after illness, season, time of day, etc), find techniques to listen regularly, i.e. daily meditation, silence, yoga, qigong.
Be sure to not give people blanket statements about what to eat and what not to eat, as said above, things change.
Alcohol have different energies (not all damp/heat), the different herbs they are made with adjust their properties, i.e. brandy is made with Chen Pi, gin is made with juniper berries, peppermint schnapps, etc.
Do not give research your soul, it can only find physical elements within the food, experiment with foods and listen to what your body tells you about it.

Tonify the Blood: carrots (liver, Spleen), beets, cherries, spinach, dark grapes, marrow, easily digestable grains, raspberries
Tonify Kidney Qi: animal kidneys, lobster, lamb, seeds, dry nuts, rosehips, beans, turnip, raspberry, sprouts, blueberry

In spring, should you eat more sour? Depends on the person. Normal situation, we should eat more sweet because it’s energy is rising, if too much it will overact on the Spleen so eat sweet to protect it.
In Summer, eat less bitter, slightly more pungent food to protect the lungs.
In fall, less pungent and eat some sour too keep it from overacting on the liver. Also things that nourish the lung are beneficial, i.e. pears (if the person is of cold constitution can steam with cinnamon and maple syrup)
In late summer, one can eat a little more salty in preparation for winter for the kidney.
Although you must see if there is excess or deficiency:
If there is Liver Fire (energy going upward and outward): eat more sour cold
Qi and Yang deficiency should eat more warm foods, avoid a lot of cold energy foods or try to change their properties if people do not want to avoid certain things SOMERS – “You know, we eat blindly in America,” Arthur Shattuck said on Saturday morning. We eat foods because we like them, he said. “Well, that’s what my 4-year-old tells me,” he said. That means we’re not making conscious decisions, he said, and that was what he was out to change. Shattuck, a practitioner of Oriental medicine in Racine, was at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside on this particular morning for a mini workshop about food as a cure for illness. His audience was 36 women and one man.

Physicians will tell you that anything you put in your body to cure a symptom can be viewed as a drug – whether it be a drug or an herb. In China, Shattuck said, there are hospitals which specialize in treating illnesses only with diet. The man who taught him food therapy, Shattuck said, and who also knew acupuncture and herbal remedies, first tried to cure people’s ills with food.

“And he said everything’s a Band-Aid unless you eat right,” he said. Only if food therapy doesn’t work does this Chinese doctor resort to acupuncture, herbs, or surgery, he said. “And not everybody has to eat the same way,” he said.

It was to eat better that Jo Lueck, 48, of Kenosha, came to the workshop. “I’ve been doing acupuncture – having acupuncture done – for 15 years now, and it works real well for me,” she said. “It fascinates me that the right food for the right body type … will make things work better. And I would like to incorporate that into my life and then use acupuncture as a Band-Aid when I need it.”

“I’m a shiatsu therapist,” said Cyndee Mateja, 27, a resident of Kenosha, where she owns the Zen Den and practices the Japanese finger-pressure therapy. She came to learn more about Chinese food theory for herself and her clients.

The Chinese start from the idea that illness occurs because the body is out of balance, Shattuck said. “You don’t get sick because a germ entered your body, but because your body wasn’t strong enough to fight it off,” he said. And because people don’t live perfectly, they need tonics to keep their bodies healthy, he said. When Chinese medicine was developed 5,000 years ago, there was no germ theory, no microscope, no molecular biology to explore the insides of cells, he said. Dissection of human bodies was forbidden, he said, so Chinese physicians had to invent explanations for what happened inside the body between the time that food went in and waste came out.

They looked at nature, and because they believed the human body was a reflection of nature, they developed an analogy to a covered pot of stew, he said. Food enters the stomach and is heated by fire from the kidneys. Some steam escapes the stomach and that becomes chi (pronounced chee), a concept that has no Western equivalent but means roughly energy. Some of the steam condenses and that becomes urine.

If the kidney fire is suppressed by eating the wrong foods, over time dampness builds up, leading to illness, he said. So Chinese doctors say that Westerners have so many phlegm-based diseases because they eat too much cold food. And that’s why you don’t get ice water or cold salads in traditional Chinese meals, Shattuck said. The five tastes of the Chinese system – sweet, bitter, salty, pungent (for example, goat cheese or mint), and sour – are all linked to different organs and emotions, he said.

All this sounds odd to Western minds, used to modern biology and the quest to understand the details of everything. But, Shattuck said, the Chinese don’t necessarily question why something works, nor does the lack of a rigorous explanation of their medical system prevent it from working. Not everything about Chinese food therapy sounds strange, he said. “And you already know a lot of this information,” he said. You know, for example, that if you eat too much salt you’ll retain water and your blood pressure may increase.

Chinese medicine goes further, specifying that certain foods are best eaten at certain times of the day, and that the tonic properties of foods are most effective at certain times of the year. So in this system, people who suffer from bronchitis in January should drink mint tea during December, he said. In the Chinese system this will help strengthen their lungs, Shattuck said. “People who are asthmatics love minty things,” he said. Chinese medicine intersects with Western ideas, too. Grains, advocated by dietitians as the basis for our diets, are said by Chinese doctors to eliminate the dampness that causes illness, Shattuck said. After he learned food therapy, he said, he set himself a goal of changing his diet over the course of a year. His own breakfast now is a small piece of sweet potato and a porridge, called congee, made from whole grain. “And, oh, by the way, end of the year I lost 30 pounds, cholesterol went down,” Shattuck said.

Psychosomatic Disorders

Psychosomatic Disorders
Psychosomatic Disorders

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine Schools Top of page Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Schools -Click the above r-
1:Cupping Therapy Workshop
2:Advanced Acupuncture Needling Techniques
Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture

5 Element Acupuncture -Information about 5 element acupuncture. A very interesting theory, something all acupuncturists should be somewhat familiar with. Make sure you have your speakers turned on for this one! Well done Gye.
Acubalance -Lorne Brown’s Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture practice focuses on treating Women’s Health conditions (in particular infertility and prenatal care), as well as actively treating Repetitive Strain & Sports-related Injuries. This site contains great information and success stories dealing with infertility
An excellent guide to information about Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine featuring a comprehensive online database of acupuncture providers for people and animals, pictures, resources, advice, decision support tools, and much more!
Acumedico -Shmuel Halevihas been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1980.
Acupuncture Links site -Links and more Links!Acupuncture, TCM, books, medical journals, products, you name it, Vilberto has it!
Acuxo was born out of a university-supported research project. This site is an amazing practical gift to acupuncturists everywhere,…a must see!!!
Dennis W. von Elgg, L.AC. -Dennis W.von Elgg is a licensed California acupuncturist practicing in Berkeley and Orinda. He is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture recognized by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
European Acupuncture Links -Schools, organizations of all types, journals, and more.
Foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine- a centre for acupuncture research The mission: “The goal of the Foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine is, through research and education, to bring the traditional Chinese system of acupuncture more centrally into the national health care system”.
Acupuncture Herbs Homeopathy Center -New York based Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine Center offering treatment options for immune system disorders pain chronic and acute conditions.
Acupuncture Wizard -Dustin Siena practices Acupuncture in Los Angeles. Specialties include Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Auriculotherapy, Chinese Nutrition, Qi-Gong. Articles on Green Tea, Acupuncture Face Lifts.
Health Vision Inc. -Connecticut and New York’s leading Acupuncture and Herbology practice. Authorized distributor of biologically active food supplements – Classic Hit, Triovital and Aroma Stick.
Santa Monica Acupuncture & Wellness -Acupuncture and alternative medicine for radiant health
Doc Misha’s Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine -Great site for information on HIV and hepatitis.
Journal of Chinese Medicine -The Journal Specializes in: in-depth articles on the treatment of diseases by acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine
Medboo -Interesting site, lots of info and interesting courses available.
Qi Journal -Qi Journal has “real” articles on the topic of Qi, written by those who are currently teaching and practicing the disciplines and who are willing to share their experiences sometimes controversial… but always educational.
TCM & Breast Cancer -A good site to check out for info on TCM and breast cancer specifically
TCMCentral -TCM CENTRAL is a dedicated online source of authentic information on the many realms Chinese Medicine for practitioners, students, and the public.
TCMStudent -Acupuncture and Oriental medicine information for students and practitioners. Point tables, school listing, state laws, study tools, forums and suppliers.
Dr. Shen: Chinese Herbal Medicine Made in USA
Traditional Tibetan Herbs -Offers effective natural supplements and related health products.
Yin Chiao and Chinese Herbs for Cold and Flu
Yin Essence.Com -Chinese Medicine and Aromatherapy

The display of emotional problems through physical disorders is known as Xin Shen (heart and body) in Chinese. It is usually caused by Yu (stagnation) of either Qi, phlegm, blood, food, fire or dampness or a combination of these. The stagnation will injure the zang fu organs causing excessive conditions. Chronic Yu will injure the middle jiao Qi creating Qi deficiency due to the disruption of post haven Qi.

Psychosomatic disorders are heart spirit disorders which attacks other organs creating deficiency throughout the body. The principle of treatment with psychosomatic disorders is to treat with herbs, acupuncture, massage as well as psychological methods of treatment (ie Qigong, Yoga, Hypnosis).

Curious? Want to see some Acupuncture pictures!

acupuncture pictures

Maximizing health, relieving pain. Your body is a dynamic environment of interrelating and interconnecting networks. Some of these networks are obvious and others are more subtle. Western science has focused it’s attention on the obvious networks such as the nervous, circulatory, endocrine, and lymphatic systems.

In contrast, Traditional Chinese Medicine has, over the centuries, mapped out the subtle networks and interrelationships that reveal our bodies to be dynamic cellular ecosystems.

By using a systems approach to health care, early Oriental practitioners discovered Acupuncture point. They found that upon stimulating these points a cascade of positive changes occur in the body.

Computer imaging of the brain during an acupuncture treatment shows dynamic activity occuring in many regions and structures within the brain. This modern research has shown that stimulating an Acupuncture point causes an increase in the production of endorphins and simultaneously activates the immune and endocrine systems.
Your acupuncturist can choose the most effective treatment plan to help you obtain your desired health outcome. Acupuncture point will be chosen to relieve pain and stress, and to increase vitality.

Each acupuncturist uses fine high grade surgical steel needles to stimulate the Acupuncture point on your body. These pre-sterilized and disposable needles are used ‘only once’.

Traditional Chinese Medicine includes many modalities. Ask your practitioner about alternatives to needles.

Millions of patients have enjoyed the benefits of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. They report the elimination or reduction of pain, and increase in function, and a greater sense of vitality and well-being.

Acupuncture point treatment has evolved over thousands of years. It is called empirical science when Acupuncture point have been systematically tried and observed for functions and treatment efficacy. This art was started by the use of what the Chinese call ‘ashi’ points, or points where there is pain. Bones, sharpened stones, or bamboo were inserted into these ‘ashi Acupuncture point’ and it was found to give relief. Over the next few centuries, Qigong practitioners, doctors, and shamans began to see and map out the system of energetic meridians that course throughout our body. To date this is still being refined. Acupuncture point are specific points on the body which give particular access to this energetic system, performing different functions depending on their locations and the patterns of disease disharmony involved.

The needles are usually retained in the body for 10 minutes to one hour. While the patient is relaxed, the Acupuncture practitioner may choose to manipulate particular needles at particular Acupuncture point to give desired effects. This action is to either tonify, nourish, or strengthen, or conversely, to drain or subdue.

Electrical stimulation is also sometimes indicated. This is performed by placing small alligator clips onto the needles and passing a very mild battery generated electrical current through the it.

It should be known that many conditions can take many months of treatments to obtain desired results. For instance, Chronic low back pain that has been nagging someone for 10 years may see some very quick results, although, any substantial lasting effects would actually take months or even years of regular treatments. The acupuncture practitioner will find out all they can about the particular condition and judge how frequent and how long treatment is indicated according to the severity and duration.

The sensations people claim to receive from Acupuncture point treatment are: dull aching pain, tingling sensation at the points or along the course of a meridian, mild electrical shock, heaviness of the treated limb(s), and many more that get quite original to the individuals. Although, if pain seems to persist and is unbearable, inform your acupuncturist, he may extract the particular needle or back it off until the pain subsides.

As with any medical field, the patient should use caution and instinct in carefully choosing their practitioner. It should be someone they feel very comfortable with so a trusting relationship may be formed. The practitioner themselves should be healthy, as they are coming in very intimate contact with your subtle inner energies.

Save British Science will today (9 September) call for freedom and individuality to be allowed to flourish in the system of research funding.


In a talk to the Festival of Science in Salford, Dr mature Cotgreave, Director of SBS, will argue that Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Mendel would probably all fail to get research funding if they worked in the UK today.

“Newton took 15 years to write his first major book; Darwin spent ages doing tedious descriptive work on barnacles; Einstein’s work was so pornhub whacky that a committee would have foreseen little probability of it turning out to be right; and, as a monk, Mendel was hardly part of a group with a “relevant track record.

“I’m quite certain that all of these things would have caused the grant-giving bodies to turn down their applications if these great scientists applied for funding pompini today,” said Peter Cotgreave. “How could Mendel have a relevant track record in genetics when the subject didn’t even exist until he virtually invented it.

“In the past the ‘dual support’ system of research funding meant the universities got some unencumbered money to invest in new ideas, on slightly xxx off-beat things that did not fit with the establishment’s view of the world. These are the breakthroughs that really matter, in terms of inventing new products and processes to keep the economy buoyant.

“But funding mechanisms have become so skewed, that this discretionary funding has been almost completely abolished. The results are obvious. The number of scientific Nobel Prizes won by people working in the UK’s universities has been slashed xnxx by 90% since the 1950s and 1960s.”

“If this short-sighted approach carries on, the UK economy is going to suffer drastically.”

“It’s a great shame, because there is a lot of new money going into British science, and we want to see it deliver economic, social and environmental benefits. But the scope for such benefits is limited while researchers cannot take the risk of doing something brazzers really creative”.

Peter Cotgreave’s talk The Importance of Individuality in Research will be at 15.45 on 9 September in the Clifford Whitworth Building at the University of Salford.

Funding proposals will cheat science and engineering of £22 million


Save British Science today berated the Government for its crazy proposals to change the way university teaching is funded next year.

“These proposals will move about £22 million out of university science departments,” said Dr Peter Cotgreave, Director of SBS, “and we just can’t understand how a government that talks about the importance of science education in a sex videos knowledge economy could come up with such a daft idea.”

Under the proposals, money allocated to the teaching of some subjects, such as chemical engineering and physics will rise slightly, but these rises will be far outweighed by the losses suffered by other science and engineering disciplines, including biology and electronic engineering. The average university will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds from its overall indian porn budget for teaching the three core sciences and the various engineering disciplines.

“The real problem is that the Government sets the budget without reference to the demand it makes on the universities,” said Peter Cotgreave. “It insists that universities must take more students, increase access, do more and better research, and so on, but doesn’t actually work out how much this will all cost, and then allocate funding streams accordingly.”

“Making fairly arbitrary changes to the relative funding for different subjects, a year or two before the whole system will have to be re-organised because of top-up fees, isn’t suddenly going to stop the available money having to be spread very thinly”.

“If the budget is insufficient to fund what is expected of it, it is pointless for the Government to persist in an Alice-in-Wonderland denial that somehow by fiddling the sums, the money can magically be spread in different ways that will defy the laws of mathematics”.


Azerbaijan’s Groundswell of Civil Society Dedicated to the country of Azerbaijan, this issue of Give & Take illustrates the shortcomings of the term “post-Soviet” eleven years after the end of the Cold War.


In a world well into a “post-9/11” multilateral, international realignment, how accurate is the backward-looking post-Soviet label?

True, Azerbaijan continues to be plagued by the polluting industry and severe economic doldrums common to many former Soviet states. Its people still suffer from corrupt bureaucrats, limited opportunities, and in some cases well-learned, wrong-headed ideas that stifle growth, namely that governments, not people, call the shots, that it is government’s job to solve the problems of society and that government has no obligation to respond to citizen demands for equity and justice. Yet to see nothing but such post-Soviet characteristics in Azerbaijan is to miss the very real changes that have taken place in the country since 1991.

The Winter 2003 issue Give & Take highlights just a few of the new citizen groups in Azerbaijan whose actions demonstrate the power of the individual to stand up to government and make a difference. The first section of the journal looks at issues such as how to found and register a nongovernmental organization (NGO) — a difficult, frustrating process, as detailed by ISAR-Azerbaijan director Stephanie Rust. Nevertheless, hundreds of local groups have registered and begun to operate throughout the country despite these challenges.

azmapIn the second section of the journal, with the help of ISAR-Azerbaijan staffers Elmira Abdullayeva and Nargiz Kerimova, we spotlight the impressive work of a few of these NGOs. Many are now quite experienced and they tackle an incredible range of issues — from diabetes education to professional development for beekeepers. Some NGOs focus on the children of refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan’s many refugee camps such as the Galkhan camp in Saatly, Azerbaijan. This story describes innovative approaches to the intractable problem of raising the children of war.

Research for this issue of the journal uncovered an extremely diverse NGO sector. Many local groups — their accomplishments largely unsung in the West — have done tremendous work with tiny sums of money. Those highlighted here represent only the tip of the iceberg: last year ISAR-Azerbaijan’s local NGO directory detailed the work of over 400 grassroots NGOs throughout the country, not just in Baku and other major cities. All of them are operating effectively in a region where international assistance is sparse and local philanthropy largely undeveloped. All have demonstrated creativity in fundraising and enthusiasm in responding to social injustice.

Organizing for change means forming coalitions. Cooperation to influence legislation — as Margo Squire, Azerbaijan country director for the Eurasia Foundation, notes in her article — is crucial. NGOs are also cooperating to advocate for environmental and social issues. For instance, as explored in the final section of the journal, activists have added their voices to the debate over the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. When completed in 2004, BTC will transport Caspian oil and gas to the Turkish port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean Sea. Give & Take presents several of the perspectives in this debate, including those of an oil company executive, the government of Azerbaijan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and multiple NGO viewpoints.

The complexities of globalization force us all to delve deeper: what happens locally when governments, international financial institutions, and transnational corporations get behind giant commercial development projects? Big projects affect small communities, and these communities must be given their say. Give & Take attempts to draw attention to such independent voices and include them in the wider dialogue. The dominance of the oil industry in Azerbaijan’s economy continues to increase. Svetlana Tsalik of the Open Society Institute asserts in her article that some portion of the revenues must be used to improve the conditions of Azerbaijan’s people; her article, which has been abstracted from a forthcoming book, offers concrete recommendations for using oil production profits to achieve social reform.

As such stories show, the “post-Soviet” label becomes daily less successful as a term for describing Azerbaijan. In 2003, Azerbaijan must be examined in the light of a whole range of new dynamics. The oil industry, with its millions of dollars in investments and powerful international partners, is far more visible than those who practice grassroots civil society development, but the efforts of the local NGOs have an endemic strength that is all their own. It is this force that in the end will free this country and its people from the cramped post-Soviet stereotype and offer them a more solid path to the future.

Political Activists in Kazakhstan Vulnerable After Nuclear Waste Victory


Kazakhstan’s fledgling grassroots opposition movement, which succeeded earlier this year in blocking a government plan to import nuclear waste into the country, now faces a host of challenges and is calling for continued guidance from the West to help protect civil rights and promote democracy. Activist Kaisha Atakhanova told a recent RFE/RL briefing audience that “we are more aware of what is happening in our country, but have little experience protecting our rights.”

Atakhanova, the founder and director of the Kazakh environmental group EcoCenter, described how an informal coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups used public hearings and petitions to pressure the Kazakh government to give up its plans to import and store nuclear waste from countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. The stated goal of the project, rejected by Atakhanova, was to generate the money needed to help Kazakhstan deal with its own nuclear waste problem — 237 million tons of waste, the most dangerous of which was generated at the soon-to-be-closed BN-350 nuclear breeder reactor at Aqtau and the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

Atakhanova said that special interest lobbying, media campaigns, and government interference are all being used to try to limit the effectiveness of NGOs. “The main goal of nuclear lobbyists in Kazakhstan is to weaken NGOs and stop citizens from organizing against the government in general,” she said. In addition, the government has proposed new laws that would force foreign NGOs to register locally in order to gain legal status. Atakhanova said that the proposed law lacks a clear definition of what an NGO is and opens the door for organizations to be divided into “convenient and inconvenient” NGOs. She added that some Kazakh officials have tried to discredit NGOs by saying those supported with Western funding are tools of foreign special interests. “We are about to face serious challenges [from the government],” she said. “Those who remain non-political will most likely be allowed to function.”

Despite the recent grassroots success, Atakhanova said that nuclear tensions remain and that the import of nuclear waste into Kazakhstan was likely postponed rather than cancelled. Atakhanova said that monitoring groups do not have the resources to monitor the decommissioning of the Aqtau reactor. “We are not economically, politically or technically prepared for this,” she said.

To hear archived audio for this and other RFE/RL briefings and events, please visit our website at