Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

by Nathan Hamm on 8/18/2005 · 2 comments

What the hell is wrong with some people? Really, I wish I could crawl into these fantasy worlds that some people not only create but turn into shared hallucinations that are cause for celebrating the fantasist’s courage.

Were I to put Abid Ullah Jan’s article on Uzbekistan in some kind of showcase, I would have to mock it’s title with one of my own: “Cherry-picking facts and ignoring reporting showcases authors’ ignorance”

This is one story from one country under the most favored dictator of the Western regimes: Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic in central Asia that only recently burst into the headlines with reports of civil unrest and bloody reprisals. But the story died down as if nothing has happened. Imagine if the Taliban had butchered 500 unarmed protesters in the street.

What a piece of work… As one might expect, I have a number of problems here. Okay, the “most favored dictator” line never really fit, and it quite obviously is extremely out of place given the dramatic deterioration of Karimov’s relations with the West over the past few months. Complaints about the media not covering this, that, or the other thing to the proper extent are thrown around so often and are usually absolutely ridiculous (more often than not because they posit an impossible-to-satisfy standard) that they may as well be dismissed out of hand. But in the case of Central Asia, commentators should be aware of the number of media outlets that cover the region in great depth every single day. There is still plenty written about Andijon and its fallout. To suggest there isn’t for… What now? To gain sympathy for the Taliban? That less attention should be paid to Islamist violence? Really help me out here. Because if, as most readers of this site are well aware, there has been plenty of reporting on post-Andijon Uzbekistan, I can’t figure out what else is going on here.

Remember the never-ending interviews with women from Afghanistan who didn’t want to wear burqa. Did any of the journalists now bothered to interview any of the more than 2,000 who were badly wounded in Andijan. As reports of armed clashes and many more deaths in the region bordering Kyrgyzstan continue to emerge, silence deeps in the West.

Again, this is absolute b.s. Media outlets that enjoy financial support from Western governments are doing top-notch reporting in the region. Earlier this week, RFE/RL carried an article on Andijon and its victims. Written by an American. On a website that gets money from US taxpayers.

I’m sure the response is that major media outlets aren’t paying enough attention. Cry me a river. It’s hard to equate what page major dailies put their Uzbekistan stories on–and I’ve seen plenty of stories and improving quality in Central Asia reporting in North American and European newspapers lately–with “silence in the West.”

It goes on and gets worse. Meandering through a very simplistic and heavily biased account of the Andijon protest to complaints about Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to a strange and quite incorrect characterization of Islam’s place in Central Asian societies (from the one article on the region that it’s clear the author has actually read) to what appears to be advocacy of Khilafah.

Just goes to once again show that the falling out between Uzbekistan and the West is making clearer which leftist critics of the relationship were primarily concerned with improving the lot of Uzbeks and which were more interested in sticking it to the United States.

Still though, I might have to give this one higher marks though it bothers me more simply because it talks about recent developments.

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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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Josh Narins August 21, 2005 at 11:55 am

I believe Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is considered propaganda, and therefore not allowed to be published inside the United States.

Certainly Voice of America has that restriction.

So, to say that American journalists aren’t covering this is not disproved by showing it is published on RFE.

Outside that, I have no further knowledge on coverage of this story.

Media Monitors Network, however, is nowhere on Earth considered the heartbeat of the American left. OK?

Nathan August 21, 2005 at 12:17 pm

But both RFE/RL and VOA can be accessed on the web. There are major papers in the US, Canada, and Europe covering the stories too.

I don’t think the American left has a heartbeat. But MMN is more or less similar in tenor to the very vocal hard left to which much of the rest of the left feels the need to pander. On the whole, the style of argumentation found above is much more mainstream on the left than it should be.

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