Why Now?
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Uzbek Flag

The world has finally decided to notice there's a problem in Uzbekistan.

Canadian Broadcast had it on their front page: U.S. joins calls for Uzbek investigation, as did the Australians: Diplomats inspect Uzbek city of Andijan after protest violence

You have to look to find it on the BBC: US joins push for Uzbek inquiry, or CNN: Pressure for Uzbek violence probe.

The problem is not unique in history. A tyrant has put too much pressure on his people and some of them revolted, which resulted in the violent suppression of the dissidents. The government reports 169 deaths, but others say in excess of 700. The government conducts a tour near, but not at, the site of the suppression to show there was no massive loss of life, while insisting that foreigners cannot talk to local people. The foreign ministry chants "war on terror" in the background.

The breakup of the Soviet Union provided jobs to some former Soviet bureaucrats, and a number of them are not very nice people:
Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus - garden variety thug and murderer with delusions of grandeur.
Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan - totally delusional, names months after himself and want a palace of ice built in a desert.
Emomali Rakhmonov of Tadjikistan and Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan are not quite as friendly as Mayor Daley of Chicago in the 1960s.

Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan is a nice fit for the group, but he's smoother and less obvious about the fact that he will do anything and kill anyone to maintain his control.

The Bush administration has allied itself with Karimov to get necessary military bases in its "Global War on Terror". They had to ignore the reports of the murder and torture, because everyone murdered and tortured was an "enemy combatant" or "Muslim extremist", and these things don't usually take place in public or on Sundays. They know this because Mr. Karimov told them, and there's no reason for him to lie.

The Uzbek national hero is buried in a vault carved from what is rumored to be the world's largest chunk of worked jade in Samarkand. Timur kicked up quite a fuss at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century. Known by many variations such as Tamerlane, he was a rather successful conqueror, and not notably a nice guy.


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