Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Kyrgyzstan Revolt: Gosh, I Wonder Why That Happened.

Just a wild guess, but it could be: Restrictions on citizens' right to change their government; arbitrary killing, torture, and abuse by law enforcement officials; impunity; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of judicial independence; pressure on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and opposition leaders, including government harassment; pressure on independent media; government detention of assembly organizers; authorities' failure to protect refugees adequately; pervasive corruption; discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and other persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity; child abuse; trafficking in persons; and child labor.

Last month, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said he was simply growing bored with democracy. "There is no certainty that such a model is suitable for all countries and peoples," he said. Yesterday, Bakiyev learned the hard way where that sort of attitude leads. He was forced to flee Bishkek as an uprising spread across the country and circled the capital.

In his place is a provisional government headed by former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, who has won the backing of a coalition of opposition parties in a provisional "people’s government.” Because there are only a handful of English-speaking journalists even remotely familiar with Kyrgyzstan, the news will likely be dominated for some while by ill-informed speculations about a Russian hand in it and American ruminations on the theme, What's in it for us? After all, it "could provide yet another blow to President Barack Obama's diplomatic efforts."

Jeepers, would you leave off of it for once. For Pete's sake.


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