Friday, September 30, 2005


Damian Wampler has some interesting observations on official culture in Osh:
"What’s interesting is that the Kyrgyz government has tried to mark the mountain as a Kyrgyz site. The Kyrgyz flag on top of the mountain, a Kyrgyz cultural museum at the base, statues of Kyrgyz heroes decked out in ‘traditional’ Kyrgyz clothing, and the Kyrgyz village of yurta’s along the front of the mountain. All these things are trying to surround Suleyman and contain it. They all scream, 'This is Kyrgyzstan, home of the Kyrgyz!'. But if you look in any other direction, we appear to be in Uzbekistan. The Kyrgyz are a minority in Osh, a city of 500,000. On the street level, there is no problem. You ask a question in Kyrgyz, you get an answer in Uzbek. Everyone speaks their own language and everyone understands one another. But it is strange to see the Kyrgyz culture so highly promoted and celebrated by the government when the only Kyrgyz I see on a regular basis are the police officers in their blue uniforms. It seems like Osh is a colony, run by a distant Kyrgyz empire. But the truce here is fragile. Osh is home to dozens of high schools that teach all their subjects in Uzbek. The Kyrgyz government takes the textbooks from Uzbekistan and retypes them, removing the Tashkent history of Central Asia and inserting the Bishkek one."

Read the whole post.


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