June 5, 2013
We are approaching the three year anniversary of the June 2010 riots and ethnic cleansing in Osh andJalalabad – or as Altynbek put it, “the war between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks.” I watched a TV “special” (all in Kyrgyz) on the events from three years ago. While I couldn’t understand most of what was said (as I speak very, very little Kyrgyz), the special showed a lot of archival footage from the events, most of which I hadn’t seen before. The special also inspired Altynbek to tell me in his broken Russian that “Все Узбек – хитрый” (‘All Uzbeks are sly/crafty/untrustworthy’). I asked him why he thought that. His answer was “I don’t know, but it’s true. They all are.” I really didn’t know what to say to that.
For the past few days there have been protests in Jalalabad (which closed the main through-road between Bishkek and Osh, causing massive traffic jams and delays in and around Jalalabad). As far as I could tell from the Kyrgyz language news, the protests were somehow connected to the June 2010 events, although unlike the events of three years ago, these protests were peaceful, and the road has since re-opened.
Curious to find out more, I emailed C, whom we had met in Jalalabad. I told her of Altynbek’s comments, and asked for her take on the events in Jalalabad. This was her reply:
I absolutely love your host-parents' take on current events in J-Bad. To be honest, most of my friends here have similar opinions- when I ask them about it, they mostly just disdainfully explain that it's politics, nothing unusual, typical meetings. Nobody really seems interested in it, and the city itself is calm, even if they had closed the road to Osh for a couple days. I don't think it's related to the anniversary of the 2010 events, though, or even to the "xitrie Uzbeks." I met with the [pro-democracy organization] in Bishkek this week, and they talked a great deal about the five vying political parties. Apparently, one politician suggested overthrowing the governor (they have a video of this, even). He's been arrested, and now there are just general protests/gatherings related to all this. Or there were- I think everything has pretty much passed for now. Never a dull moment in the south!