Dorogaya Lara Fabian,
Vy priezzhaete v Tashkent. Ya tak mechtayu popast' na Vash koncert, no ne smogu po dvum prichinam...
Dear Lara Fabian
I heard that you are coming to Tashkent. I dream of being able to make it to your concert, but I cannot for two reasons: First, I am a student, studying in my first year of the University. Like many of your fans, I am now working in the cotton fields. Every day I have to collect 70 kg of cotton. Per 1 kg of cotton we should be paid the sum of 117 Soums (local currency) [$0.06 U.S. dollars], but we do not get this money directly paid to us. For each day of food that we are given, we have to pay 3,200 Soums [USD $1.50]. At the end of the harvest campaign, we will end up owing money to the state for the expenses of transportation, food and accommodations to have us work in the cotton fields. Food products that are supplied to us are mostly long past the use-by date. I tried to take a picture of the food that we are given, but our teachers told me off severely for that, and now they are threatening me with expulsion from the university. The second reason why I will never be able to buy a ticket to your concert is that I will not have enough money for it. The number of unemployed people in the country is catastrophic. Take for example the city I live in, the only solvent business in town is the cooking oil extraction plant. The other plants and factories closed down, because there is no conversion of the Uzbek national currency and business are not able to buy the necessary raw materials for the production of their products.
I enjoyed watching your last concert of «Mademoiselle Zhivago" on cable television. I loved it. I wish you every success.
I asked the human rights activists to pass on my letter to you. They know my real name. But, unfortunately, I cannot sign my letter under my real name, because if I do so, I will definitely be dismissed from the University and may even go to jail, like my neighbor, who was reading the web sites of the political opposition on the Internet. There are thousands of political prisoners in Uzbekistan. I thought that you might want to know who your real fans are and why they cannot come to your concert, that is why I decided to write you this letter.
I hope that you are not only a very good singer, but also a very good person too. When you are in Uzbekistan, please ask Ms. Gulnara Karimova and her father President Karimov to end the use of forced labour in the cotton fields.