Registan alum Sarah Kendzior has a fantastic new article in AJE today about the Choriev family’s ongoing struggle to build ordinary lives in the US while campaigning to change the system they had to flee in Uzbekistan. The disappearance and arrest of their 71-year old father in his rural village has become only the most recent of many examples of the way Uzbek authorities increasingly have zero tolerance for dissent even from the other side of the world. Here’s an excerpt:
The plight of the Choriyev family speaks to the modern version of an old authoritarian tactic: punishing activists abroad by persecuting their relatives at home. In the digital age, exile has gone from a sentence of silence to a source of strength. Formerly isolated activists use the internet to communicate with other activists around the world and lend financial and moral support to their countrymen. With diasporas playing a greater role in facilitating political movements, dictatorships are struggling with how to control citizens who live beyond their legal purview.
One answer is to attack the loved ones they were forced to leave behind. Under the perverse dictates of authoritarianism, love becomes a liability. Loyalty becomes a lure. For families targeted, the consequences are devastating.
Read the full article here, and watch this space for more reporting on the protests the Chorievs organized in DC this weekend and continued updates.