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thinking of kyrgyzstan

Osh, Kyrgystan. A soldier at Osh City Military Base practices using his gun during an evening drill. There are long-standing political and ethnic differences between the northern and southern halves of this mountainous country, and the southern borders with neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have repeatedly been the scene of violent local conflicts since independence.
Once I've lived someplace I find I am always listening for news from there. Over the course of several assignments I spent 8 months in Jalal Abad and Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The news, unfortunately, is worse than I ever imagined.

For large part, Uzbeks and Kyrgyz have lived peacefully together. But as happened in the former Yugoslavia, it seems those with a political agenda have been inciting violence between neighbors. A Red Cross official today estimated 700 dead in Osh; if true that would make it worse than the 1990 riot in nearby Kara Suu that killed 300.

Even though it's hopeless, I feel a need to quote Rodney King here:

"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?... It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out."

This footage of mob victims arriving at the hospital in carload after carload is very hard to watch.

(Note: the above video is emotionally disturbing but not graphic. More footage here, some of which is graphic: )

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