Posts tagged Kievskaya

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.

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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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Stunned Bewilderment over Kyrgyzstan Events (part I)

What’s bewildering is one might know much in Kazakhstan concerning the Kyrgyzstan events of last week from American friends who are currently “on the ground” in Bishkek and who are “netizens” while the rest of the world just yawns and goes on with life as usual. But NOTHING is ordinary with 80 people dead, 100s wounded and a deposed president in the south of Kyrgyzstan refusing to resign after he drained all the country’s money from banks.  That leaves a new, unsteady leadership with impoverished funds to try to clean up the mess they presumably created in order to have the power to have the same thing done to them again in five years.  These revolutions in Kyrgyzstan seem to be following a Soviet style Five Year plan…

Read the following account from an American we know who has been in Bishkek for the last five years, he is a father of four children.  I fully expect that he and many others did NOT know the demonstration would turn into a bloodbath.

April 7th Demonstration in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

On the way home from school (to get the camera) we noticed that everyone was wearing black. We passed the police headquarters close to the Chinese restaurant in the basement. Heavily armed guards with big guns were at the scene, with at least 8-10 large dogs, mostly German Shepherds. Upon arriving at home, I quickly found a dark navy blue rain jacket and a camera with an extra battery. As soon as my brother and I reached Jibek Jolu, we noticed 100 armed police and soldiers with helmets, vests, guns, shields, and batons. We walked up a different route toward Panfilova, but then turned and saw all of them marching up behind us. We walked a little bit faster, unsure if they were after two handsome boys like us, but fortunately they stopped at a police station. We continued on ahead, saw the smoke rising up. Next to Panfilova, behind the museum, there was a lot of scattered trash everywhere. We could hear more gunfire and the shouts of people.

We walked up towards the city square where the statue and the big flag is. We saw more and more people and large rocks on the ground along with broken slabs of concrete. I saw that to my right, they had burned a little kiosk, and it was smoking gray, meaning it was a while ago. I saw that they had crashed army trucks into the gate of the “White House” and set it ablaze. The “White House” was surrounded by about a few hundred police officers and soldiers with guns, shields, helmets, and beating batons. I heard gun shots, and I saw about a few hundred protesters running back. They were carrying a man on their shoulders and took them to the square. There, a Damas ambulance was waiting as they loaded him into the trunk. From my view point, I couldn’t tell if he was dead or wounded. Then the whole crowd, there must have been ten thousand or more people, started cheering for him. But I could tell that they were furious, and they then rushed towards the White house, yelling.

I finally came to the place where the two guards stood, and men were throwing rocks at the glass. A few others were yelling at them, telling them not to. Some guys smashed the strobe lights with their feet. There were large pieces of glass and rocks everywhere. There were also a lot of cigarette boxes, Coke bottles, and miscellaneous trash. I saw some guys giving speeches on top of a platform with a megaphone. Others next to them were waving the Kyrgyz flag.

The people there were mostly wearing black. Mainly men, about 90% but there were young women, young boys, old women, and old men. Some men wore the white Kyrgyz hats like mine. I did not see anyone carrying arms besides sticks or stones. I noticed that some had beaten police up and had taken their shields, helmets, or batons.

I walked through the crowd, taking pictures. One guy asked me if I was Korean, and I said yes. Then he told me to put the pictures on the Internet, so that the whole world would see what is going on. There were some T.V. stations there, and people wanted them to get closer to the action, but they didn’t want to. I eventually fought my way to the columns and got closer and closer to the “White House”. There was an occasional burst of gunshots. Then I saw one guy get shot. He was running toward the “White House” and someone shot him in the stomach. It was probably a sniper from the corner of the rooftop. There was a spotter and a sniper. The spotter was wearing a helmet and a mask. Blood spurted out. Two men rushed, waving their arms and carried him by his arms and feet to safety. I saw another man grasping his leg, and someone was with him with a red first aid kit.

I came to the columns and saw a HUGE puddle of blood, with a bloody jacket on top. It scared me and at first I didn’t think it was real. But when I returned later, someone had wiped it off, proving it wasn’t paint. I continued to the corner and saw that they had torn down signs and were standing on large pieces of concrete. More demonstrations were going on further up on Kievskaya. I saw puddles of blood on the ground. It was if someone had beaten a head with a baseball bat. I walked along parallel to the “White House”, getting dangerously close. Other people were also taking pictures with their cameras or phones. Then an ambulance came and quickly, people loaded the two men who were shot and the ambulance quickly carried them away. They had set about 5/6 trucks on fire and smashed them into the wall, denting the fences or breaking them. One sky blue truck had even gone through the gate.

I kept walking down, and I saw more people rallying. Some were carrying the red flag ofKyrgyzstan. Some were yelling at the people, encouraging them to fight. I went to the grass and found more splotches of blood. A nurse walked around the gate, and men started crowding around her, I don’t know why. I think she told them to go away, judging by the gestures of their hands. There was a bloody black shoe next to a large splotch of blood. The people started getting worked up and one kid was furious, he was about 6 years old, wielding a large stick and was screaming.

(to be continued)

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