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Awaaz from Kyrgyzstan

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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:

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  1. menorca

    Great thoughts!Thank you for the insight you provided us with…I hope and pray that the era of violence and injustice fades away soon..and Central Asia witnesses unity and prosperity in the years to come..

  2. Sango Bidani

    Aygul this is a brilliant piece of writing. It is very insightful, very touchy, the way you have put across your thoughts it gives a graphic description in front of my eyes. I am equally amazed by the sense of commitment that you have not just for your own country but for central asia as a whole. It brings to my mind Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Shadow Lines’ where he imagines a world without boundaries. Your country needs young people like you to get out of this situation. Keep it up!!

  3. Tanaya

    “morover we share the times of sorrow and feel each other’s pain”….very well said….kudos to the thought 🙂

    if bloodshed and massacre is all we get as the outcome of demand for the “anticipated” democracy….then obviously the desire of the final result gets overalapped by fear and second thougts….

    hope Kyrgystan gets past this difficult phase with the unity and passion of it’s people….

  4. Mohit

    Nice article. You indeed represent the voice of ‘Youth’ of CA and I’m sure your continued efforts will make a difference in the direction you are heading. In this information age, when geographical boundaries are disappearing, why are social boundaries creating an impediment- this article points to this fact. Brave one!

  5. Arastu

    Very informative article Aygul. Thank you so much for making us aware of the situation in your region. Though odd, but while reading your article, I found so many similarities between Central Asia and our South-east Asia. Guess, some things never change. But as you rightly said, we have to hope and strive towards change.

    Wish you all the best in all your efforts. Keep fighting because you have the greatest weapons – Truth and Righteousness 🙂

  6. Abhirup

    Is this actual coverage from kyrgyzstan? If so…Wow, YKA going global… Great Anshul

  7. Anshul Tewari

    Certainly, there needs to peace and stability at the earliest. For any country to move forward the foremost thing to be done is stabilizing the nation and ensuring that in case of a crisis the citizen are not affected.

    I hope that Aygul’s voice will reach out to a number of people and will be able to sensitize a number of youngsters regarding this issue.

    Do keep us updated Aygul.

    Hoping for the best.


  8. Shruthi Venukumar

    Thanks for providing us with all aspects of the ongoing strife. Aygul’s voice also dispels a common myth that prevails – that Central Asia countries have and will always have swords drawn at each other. The youth promise to herald a new age.

    @Abhirup – 🙂 We are lucky to have with us correspondents with China and Ethiopia. Youth Ki Awaaz transcends boundaries … just like light does!

  9. Aygul

    Thank you my readers for the comments..Hopefully the following articles would be even more fruitful and by that time we will have more development related activities in the country. And it’s a great pleasure to become part of the YKA team and bring my vision to the whole image.

    PEACE to all

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