The Victims

by Nathan Hamm on 4/2/2004 · 1 comment

The AP is running a story on the victims of the Uzbekistan bombings. Of course who speaks and what they say is fairly filtered. The government is focusing a lot of attention on the victims. The story suggests that this is to deflect people from talking about the government itself and how its failings, corruption, and abuse generates discontent. Again though, this story recycles the idea that moves against independent Muslims are the cause of the rage:

Observers said after the attacks that they could have been the consequence of the government’s harsh suppression of independent Muslims–a campaign that began in the late 1990s and during which, rights groups say, authorities have jailed more than 6,000 for alleged religious extremism.

Wow, really sounds like they’re saying something there. “Observers” and “could have.” For the second time today, I’m going to say that the cause of discontent has mostly to do with economics, in my experience. For a small minority of Uzbeks (the attackers included), the answer to the government’s unwillingness to rein in corruption and allow people to make an honest living is fundamentalist Islam.

The rest of the story is worth reading for the quotations from the family of Aziz Tursunov, a police officer killed by a bomber who will have a Tashkent street named for him (expect posters and songs, just like the Soviet old days). Granted the family is in grief, but the things they say are the kinds of things I’ve heard average Uzbeks say with a lot less provocation. A former student emailed me saying something similar, and I know he’s no fan of the government. At the end of the day, Uzbeks seem pretty damned interested in peace, security, and stability regardless of how they feel about the government as a whole.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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