For many in Osh, the anniversary of last year's ethnic violence offers a painful reminder of the severe strains weighing on society. But for Gulmira, an Uzbek, and her husband Saparbek, an ethnic Kyrgyz, the anniversary created an opportunity to promote reconciliation. The couple planned to gather, for the first time since the outbreak of violence, their suspicious Kyrgyz and Uzbek relatives.
Until recently, Aksai, an ethnic Kyrgyz village on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, had seemed so small and insignificant that most cartographers failed to include it on their maps. But now it has become a flashpoint, with a recent standoff there underscoring the potential for interethnic violence along the poorly defined frontier.
Land scarcity in the Ferghana Valley is a growing cause for concern in Kyrgyzstan. The slow governmental response to the long-standing problem means the issue could create a spark that reignites inter-ethnic conflict.
All her life, Feruza dreamed of her wedding day, when, hand-in-hand with her husband-to-be, she would ascend Sulaiman Too, the sacred hill in the center of Osh. A boisterous gaggle of snap-happy friends and a videographer would follow the couple.
Kyrgyzstan’s new government shows little interest in improving inter-ethnic relations, while the international community is slow to learn the lessons of last summer’s violent clashes in southern regions, according to a recently released report on the Osh violence.
Although still basking in the praise the international community has heaped on him for handling the refugee crisis during the June violence in Kyrgyzstan, at home President Islam Karimov is ruthlessly presiding over a wave of trials of journalists and human rights activists who have criticized his regime's suppression of any form of independent civic activity, whether political, social, or religi