In response to the recent violence in Kyrgyzstan, leading Gandhian and nonviolence scholar, Michael Nagler, and I have made the following analysis and suggestions.
Until recently, Kyrgyzstan – a landlocked country in Central Asia with an 80 per cent Muslim population – was one of the safest countries in Central Asia. However, its neighbour Uzbekistan which has a 90 per cent Muslim population, has suffered from many problems, such as religious extremism. These have created a volatile atmosphere in the country. Consequently, many Uzbek nationals have sought refuge in the safer countries in Central Asia – like Kyrgyzstan.
But when there is tension in their new host countries, such as when Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was forced out of office in April after bloody anti-government protests in the capital of Bishkek, the Uzbek minority has found itself a convenient scapegoat for the ensuing unrest. The recent volatility surrounding the ousting of the Kyrgyz president triggered knee-jerk violence against the Uzbeks, who were accused of interfering in the country’s internal political conflict…
Special thanks to Waging Nonviolence for writing a supporting article to ours as well: