by Aygul Hanova, Kyrgyzstan
Central Asia is not just a post-Soviet area; it is a region where people are bound by similar cultural values and historical experience. The five countries of Central Asia are like brothers from a single family, yet each of them has its own lifestyle and character. Some of those countries are capable of independent and rapid development, whereas others have become dependent on the external aid to sustain their living. In this regard the brotherhood fails: traditions in Central Asian families value respect of siblings towards each other and there must be support of one another. Unfortunately, CA is made up of countries which understand independence literally and hence act independent of their closest neighbors, disregarding the fact that together they could have achieved more.
I was born and raised in Turkmenistan and Turkmen by origin. Outside of the country I feel responsible for representing not Turkmenistan solely, but I feel that I am a Central Asian and I can speak for the region as a whole. Living and studying for 4 years outside of my homeland, here in Kyrgyzstan I have become friends with students coming from CA and outside. With them and owing to them, my vision of Central Asia has changed and now I believe that even if our brotherhood fails on a higher level among politicians, the people and the younger generation is able to unite and integrate. We feel the pride and happiness of each other, moreover we share the times of sorrow and feel each others’ pain.
This year for Kyrgyzstan has become crucial. The turmoil which took place in Bishkek, April 7th this year, has become the milestone for the events that appeared in Southern Kyrgyzstan recently. Local citizens believed that overthrowing the government and replacing it with the left wing leaders will change the future of Kyrgyzstan and speed up achievement of anticipated democracy. Unfortunately, this struggle not only impinged on political and economic stability, moreover it took away lives of the people who strived for the democracy. The lack of tolerance and unawareness of how they can improve their living became the push factors for turmoil in Osh and Jalalabad (South KG). We are still left clueless what has become the real cause of the destructions in the South. Here even the opinions of the official sources vary: it was either a small ethnic conflict that amplified into a massive revolution or it was a revenge of the overthrown government to show that they still have power. The reason is undefined. The result is shocking. According to the media there has been around 200 dead, yet they have failed to count the dead corps that could not have been picked up because people were afraid to be shot and killed. In fact, there is more than 1000 dead. The international community is doing its best to assist the country in its recovery and to provide help for the refugees that flee to Uzbekistan.
Out in periphery of these events, here in Bishkek every resident feels the pain and grief. The current government calls us to help the people in the South with food and necessary items. Benevolently, a number of families in Bishkek are hosting the refugees from the South. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan are compassionate, yet this has become a solid ground to arm themselves and fight for their interests. The ongoing struggle for democracy leaves us all with question whether all the killings and damages of the resistance make that long awaited democracy worth endeavoring. Peace and stability should become foremost and make the development of the country sustainable. Whether this is realized or not: one shall see in the events that proceed. All we can hope is to raise awareness and tolerance.
Aygul Hanova is a Guest Columnist at Youth Ki Awaaz from Kyrgyzstan. She has recently been invited to the 5th World Youth Congress, Istanbul, Turkey and is one of the few selected young leaders representing her country at the international stage.
image: A government supporter in front of a barricade of riot police shields tries to stop protesters from storming the government compound on a central square in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (AP Photo/Gleb Shchelkunov, Izvestia) source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/photogalleries/kyrgyzstan/pages/13.html