Stunned Bewilderment over Kyrgyzstan Events (Part II)

Relieved to know that most of my American friends living in Bishkek are okay but am still waiting to hear about two other couples I have known since 1993.  They have lived in Bishkek for nearly 20 years and have sacrificed much to be in this Central Asian country they love. In a piece written by Evgeny Morozov in “Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Analog Revolution’” he helped answer the question for me why this Bishkek event last week which still seems so HUGE to us in Central Asia barely got any attention in the rest of the world media.  I’m thankful for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other ways that some of the news DID get out about this Kyrgyz revolution.  E-mail seems so twentieth century in this day and age of globalized revolutions.  Here’s Morozov’s take on it.

“First, for obvious geopolitical reasons, pundits are paying much less attention to protests in Kyrgyzstan than they did to protests in Iran and Burma (or even Thailand)…the Kyrgyz revolution is not “trending” as a popular topic.

Unsurprisingly, we don’t see much eulogizing about the Internet’s “revolutionary power” in the Western media either. But this does not mean we have suddenly become more reflective or less cyber-utopian; it only means that “Kyrgyzstan” is much harder to pronounce than Iran and most people couldn’t care less about it; there is no critical tweetering mass that could fuel the kind of collective fantasy that was fueled by “iranelection” on Twitter.”

To continue with yesterday’s blog posting written by my American friend:

“I went straight to the “White House”. A garbage truck had attempted to crash into a side gate, but a bullet had put a hole in one of its tires. I saw the police, they were heavily armed. Many were hiding behind trees or shields. They carried not only AK-47s, but also larger guns. They all wore bulletproof vests, some that resembled Batman’s costume. The gunshots continued. A man in a black leather jacket urged me away. The 100 police at the previous station had blockaded the road so I went down Frunze to the Consul and the Park Hotel and then tried to call people, but the reception wasn’t good. I heard megacom had problems.

I then headed back up and met with my brother (we got separated before). One guy told us to go back home. Joniel saw more police coming and saw a lady whose face was burned off. I asked him if I could have 10 more minutes. So I went to the columns and everyone was gathered around there. Suddenly, everyone started cheering and a few hundred people rushed around the corner of the columns up towards Kievskaya. I saw the puddle of blood and then saw another large puddle of blood. A large jacket was placed on top of it, with a large beating stick and lots of flowers. Obviously, the man had died there. I saw that many people had gathered pretty close to the gates of the “White House”, and that the fires on the trucks had died down. I saw the place where the man was shot. It was obvious that they had dragged him. There was a lot of blood, it was like a river of blood. Lumps of flesh also remained on the ground. There must have been enough blood to fill a bath tub. I’m not exaggerating. I think it would be impossible that he would have survived.

One man was weeping in rage and yelled, “Is this Kyrgyzstan? Is there a Kyrgyzstan? What are we doing?” Other men also joined in, but some yelled at the police “Go home! We don’t want to fight!” I saw men hiding behind trees and shouting in Russian and Kyrgyz at the guards. People were nervous, I could tell. Many smoked and spat all the time, for the others, you could see the fear in their eyes. Some men walked straight into the gate, shouting. Others had to go in there and rescue them. Whenever someone came close, the guards would fire warning shots into the air. I continued along and met with Joniel and then we headed back. I got a text from Rachel that she heard that Go-in was burnt down, so we decided to check it out on our way back. At Jibekjolu, close to Erkendik, we saw about 300 people blocking the road and standing in front of a police station/government building. I could hear dogs barking and people yelling. Many were holding red flags that said “Ata Mekten”.

We passed 7 Dnei and it was boarded up. Go-in was not burnt down, only closed. On front of the closed door, it said, “Muyi Cnarodim”. We got home, and saw that two local tv stations were shut down. We looked on line and found out that 12 people were killed right after we left and the square. We continued hearing more news and seeing more pictures and videos of what was going on. Facebook was all buzz and many people said they were praying.

I noticed that it wasn’t only in the square that there were demonstrations; we could hear things all over the city, even on Jibek Jolu and Kievskaya.

*****************

Today, my brother and I went out again to see what was left of the city after the looting. We saw Go-in was burned pretty badly. Lots of trash littered the floor. It was all black, and light gray smoke was still rising from the inside. We continued down sovietskaya and saw many furniture stores, casinos, and big stores looted with a lot of shattered glass close by. We turned right on Chui and things seemed really busy. It seemed like any other normal day. When we reached the square, we saw many people gathered again. We saw a pretty nice burnt down building close to the front of the square and saw lots of rubble, broken glass, broken furniture, and other stuff. People had already finished looting.

A large furniture store on kievskaya had lots of rocks thrown at it. We went down to the white house, saw the APC with lots of guys on it. I saw a stuffed giraffe in the middle, black from all the ashes. The gates to the White House were open, so we decided to take a tour. I mean, it’s not everyday someone goes to the white house, right? Well, it was chaos. We went to the front and guys with white ribbons around their arms kept us back. The front was a mess, with broken furniture and lots of paper fluttering about. Smoke was still rising from the windows and we could see that some of the top story windows were burned. Lots of shattered glass also. We proceeded to see the side and saw the guard house that was destroyed and the trucks that smashed into the sides. Most had their tires burnt off.

The side wasn’t any better, a terrible mess and people wanting to go in. At the back, it was still messy and they brought in 5-6 fire trucks to put out fires on the top floor. Guys climbed up ladders with a hose. We then went back out, saw some memorials for the dead. Lots of blood stains still and in respect, no one set foot on them. We went back to the columns, and saw lots of bullet holes, with rubber bullets and real bullets. Oh yea, found a bullet case close to the white house. Almost every column had a blood stain with flowers close by. There was a broken apteka at the corner, close to the APC. It was broken into and I went inside and saw bloody bandages, a hat, and the floor had blood splotches.

We saw bullet holes in the walls of the white house too. People were just milling about. Some were giving speeches, others were sleeping, others weredrinking alcohol that they looted, others were sleeping, others were taking pictures, and others were trying to clean up. We tried to help.

We came back, passed by the police station close to Philemon House. Nothing there, and there were policemen there walking about without helmets or weapons. We then went to 7 Dnei and it was wiped clean. Nothing was left, save for some shopping carts and racks. People threw cakes on the walls.”

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