It’s going on for a week since trouble began in Osh, now, and the foreign press pack has finally arrived in the city and is starting to bring back accurate reports of death tolls and the sheer scale of the destruction. The one thing they all seem startled by, CNN, the BBC, the Guardian, is that there’s no sign of humanitarian aid for Kyrgyzstan yet.
Luke Harding’s report in the Guardian confirms almost everything Emil told me on Monday – the different stories that were used to foster discontent, the massively higher death toll than is still being claimed and the violence against women. What I don’t think anyone has grasped yet, though, is that in the areas outside of Osh and Jalalabad you can travel for 200km without seeing a police station. These are places where authority and moral order had already broken down and legal power was vested in the hands of uneducated village elders. There is no civil or military Kyrgyz force which can keep order. Back in April, the interim government admitted to the world it was broke.
In Bishkek it’s been the people’s militias that have been holding the line against the former president’s supporters. Emil believes that part of the insurgents’ strategy is to draw troops away from the capital so that a counter revolution can take place.
Read Luke’s article linked to above. It’s chilling. The fact that no peace keeping force has been dispatched to the area from the UN, NATO or the Russia security alliance proves that the world has learned nothing from Bosnia, Albania, Rwanda or Somalia when it comes to the speed with which action must be taken in these circumstances.