Protest in Andijon Region

by Nathan Hamm on 1/24/2006 · 20 comments

RFE/RL and Ferghana.Ru report that a protest took place in the Andijon region demanding regular gas and electric supplies.

The protests in Andijon’s Oq-yor district on 21 January took the form of a minor roadblock. And the two dozen or so women and children who were participating quickly relented in the face of angry motorists, just two hours after their effort began.

There were no men among the demonstrators. Better to avoid any chance that authorities might accuse participants of violence, local reports quoted one protester as saying.

RFE/RL reports that protests over gas supplies are almost a yearly occurrence.

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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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Sepra January 24, 2006 at 6:36 pm

I posted this on my blog and daily kos. Go and see if you agree or not. I was gravitating twords polemic a bit though.

Sepra January 24, 2006 at 6:37 pm

not to mention i’ve been typing badly all day.

Jim Hoft January 24, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Nathan- I saw your boy Craig Murray made a trip to NYC over the weekend to speak at the “International Commission of Inquiry On
Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration.” I didn’t know if you saw that or not.

Nathan January 25, 2006 at 12:00 am

Ya, I saw it. It’s a silly bit of political theater that I’ve been too busy to comment on. One wonders though why they didn’t put Brigadier General Karpinski in a cage though. After all, following orders is no defense. As usual, the motive is not so clearly to defend human rights, I suppose.

Kuda January 25, 2006 at 2:58 am

Sorry Nathan,

Could you explain this point: “As usual, the motive is not so clear cute (sic) to defend human rights, I suppose.”

Nathan January 25, 2006 at 3:18 am

First, thanks for the heads up on my spelling and grammar mistakes. I hate making those. (I’m not even being slightly facetious. Please do ask me to correct mistakes like the “e” I’m always wanting to add to the ends of words.)

What I mean is that I don’t think that the crowd Murray speaks to is as concerned with human rights issues as they are with attacking the United States. Janis Karpinski was the officer in charge at Abu Ghraib and her defense of herself has included both “I didn’t know” and “there were orders to abuse.” The latter is most definitely not a defense under international law and that she is invited to speak at a “trial” for President Bush indicates to me that what matters to the organizers of the event is not “prosecuting” war crimes but attacking Bush.

And given some of Murray’s rhetoric in the past, I’ve had a hard time taking seriously that he is more concerned with Uzbekistan’s human rights situation than he is with attacking certain politicians in the US and UK.

Brian January 25, 2006 at 9:40 am

PBS’s Frontline did a fantastic story about torture policy and Abu Ghraib, you can watch it online here (as well as a whole bunch of other Frontline episodes):

Yes Karpinski was responsible, as were the people in the photos, however what I get out of it is that in many ways the people least responsible were the ones who took the fall. Putting prisoners on dog leashes? Threatening them with angry dogs? Humiliating and frightening them? All authorized treatments and previously used in Guantanamo and Afghanistan.

I think it’s a stain on our country that no one of _real_ responsibility has been held accountable for this.

Kuda January 26, 2006 at 12:53 am

I don’t really believe that Western governments give a damn about Human Rights in Uzbekistan or other countries. They flit like butterflies from one country to another depending on which is flavour of the month and what resource or strategic advantage can be gained. Murray may have some points, but no one is listening. As for Abu Ghraib – it is disgusting, but what do you expect when you place petrol pump attendant hicks in a hostile foreign country in which none of the locals want them.

Nathan January 26, 2006 at 1:29 am

I’m going to have to disagree with you on the first part. I don’t have time to build a case I’ve made over and over again at this moment, but I will say a couple things. There’s plenty that goes on in the human rights department that never sees the light of day. Not that it’s particularly successful, but the concern is there and it is expressed in words and actions. That being said, the US, much less so than critics like Murray would prefer, does not often advocate for human rights in a way that is self-defeating from a Realist perspective (though many might argue we did do so in regards to Uzbekistan and that it’s simply inexplicable unless the US does consider norms and values to be important) or self-defeating to human rights concerns in the long run.

Second, watch what you say about people. I grew up in a hick town, had plenty of hick friends, engaged in plenty of hick activities, and my recent ancestry contains plenty of rural poor. Why it’s okay to talk about rural, poor, uneducated people as if they’re barely human and without moral and mental faculties is beyond me. Having known both them and their urban counterparts, I’ll take the former in a heartbeat. So anyway, no, the problem at Abu Ghraib isn’t dumb hicks, and I think if you used the comparative cognitive advantage you assume you have over them, you’d fess up to that being an a priori ridiculous assertion.

Kuda January 26, 2006 at 2:45 am


I have been involved in various roles in such (NGO) organisations (not though on a governmental level) and your assertion that:

“There’s plenty that goes on in the human rights department that never sees the light of day. Not that it’s particularly successful”

This is really my point. Hot air and high salaries. These people, who rarely leave their compound, use moneys to fund unrealistic projects which more than often ultimately fail and generally spout on and on…

I do though think that Rustam summed up the arguments against doing nothing rather well and I don’t have a problem with the principle of NGOs operating; I simply wish they would do more effective work.

Secondly, my reference to ‘hicks’ sorry for the offence. I noticed that another poster in chat to you used the word ‘retarded’; a pretty obscene word this side of the pond. If we are getting all pissy and PC.

I wrote – “…but what do you expect when you place petrol pump attendant hicks in a hostile foreign country in which none of the locals want them.”

This is a fair comment, you wouldn’t expect untrained poorly-educated people to be working in hospitals or running town councils, so why are they running prisons? Should I have replaced the word hicks with “rural, poor, uneducated people”? Possibly. I did not compare them to “barely human and without moral and mental faculties” those working in and implicated in the Abu Ghaib situation achieved that themselves with the shameful actions that were reported worldwide. Oh, and save the bleeding heart, I grew up in a working class community too, big deal.

You are perfectly correct though the problem isn’t with the “dumb hicks” it is that they were put in an impossible situation. They had no training or supervision. Like all these stories it’s the little man who gets blamed for poor leadership at higher level.

Nathan January 26, 2006 at 8:02 am

I didn’t say NGO’s did I?

You pretend to kind of get the point of the rest of what I say, yet you attack me. I could care less that you use the word less than I care about your intent. I especially care about you acting stupid, treating a class of folks like dirt because they’re rural (let me guess, you grew up in an urban area), pretending like you’re sorry for the offense, and then telling me I’m a pissy bleeding heart. I refer you to my past mentions of a comment policy.

Sara January 26, 2006 at 8:15 am

The thing about it is, as the Stanford Prison Experiment shows, that it doesn’t matter what kind of people are put in situations like Abu Graib. “Educated”/”non educated” (although for some reason, I was pretty sure education was compulsory in this country) people will fall the same way most of the time and turn into monsters bit by bit.

What makes anyone think that they are any different when put in that situation is beyond me. The reason why it happened is because those at top negligently created the dynamic in the first place.

Brian January 26, 2006 at 9:50 am

I think we’re going off on a bit of a tangent here… I think we might all agree that the grunts in Abu Graib were not well prepared, no matter where they came from.

I do agree with Kuda that NGOs aren’t as effective as they could be. I used to think NGOs were “charities”, where all people would work there out of their good will. This may be the case with many people (such as the PC) but for some NGOs it’s just a business. And that means not cooperating or coordinating with other NGOs for fear of losing contracts, it means doing things that help your NGO instead of the people (such as taking on projects you aren’t prepared for), and in the case of UNDP where I worked it means that the top 5 on-site managers earn a combined salary of over $800,000 (tax-free of course), consuming over 1/3rd of the entire budget of the organization.

Sara January 26, 2006 at 11:32 am

Brian – aren’t tangents the whole point? Kinda takes the fun out of a discussion if it has to take such a narrow topic all the time.

Brian January 26, 2006 at 11:51 am

Going off on a tangent? Tangent, now that’s a funny word… always reminded me of tangerines. I could go for a tangerine right now. You know why? Because they’re easier to peel than oranges. Citrus is nice because doctors say…

I’m joking. 🙂 Yeah I see your point, I don’t even remember what the topic of this post was. But the comments were getting kinda caustic.

Kuda January 26, 2006 at 9:32 pm


No you didn’t say NGO’s; I kind of went there from previous talks about the links between NGOs and governments. I was, as they say, going off on a tangent. 

“You pretend to kind of get the point of the rest of what I say, yet you attack me.”

I do agree with what some of what you say, but have the right also to disagree with other points.

Christ though Nathan I have better things to do then ‘intentionally’ offend you over using the word ‘hicks’. Really you are making a mountain over a molehill on this one. And your comments about policy are noted.

Sara, yes I think that you are right that educated or not, when people are put in such situations their actions are often deplorable. The reasons why people from specific social backgrounds are sent to do such work is a wider question.

Brian, I have had similar experiences with the UN. On one occasion they chose to continue a project I was involved in – we were subcontracted – despite that fact that we told them it was not even moderately successful. We offered to stop taking payments as we had a decent reputation and it was a little embarrassing, but they said as it had been budgeted in we should just keep taking the payments; essentially for doing nothing. Total waste of money.

Nathan January 26, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Kuda, I was letting you know I’m sensitive to that kind of language. You caused me personal offense in your response. And just refrain from insulting me or other guests. If you do something else that bugs me and it’s reasonable that you wouldn’t know it bothered me beforehand, I will let you know. Perhaps not politely, but I’m not a terribly polite person a lot of the time.

Kuda January 26, 2006 at 9:49 pm

Fine. I am adult enough and my shoulders are broad. You should work on your manners though 😉

Nathan January 26, 2006 at 9:54 pm

Part of the reason for my foul mood yesterday has to do with my least favorite people in the former Soviet blogosphere causing me trouble again. No fault of your own of course, but I won’t pretend that my grueling school schedule, silly politics in the blogosphere spilling over into work, and whatnot isn’t getting to me.

Laurence January 27, 2006 at 7:58 am

Hey, everybody, please lay off Nathan! We need him…

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