Sunday, June 13, 2010

Geography lesson

Until fairly recently, I couldn't have told you anything at all about Kyrgyzstan, not that I know an awful lot now. But the ethnic riots currently moving through that country have me a bit on edge. It seems that roving mobs of Kyrgyz men are attacking minority Uzbek communities, burning homes, businesses, and a university. Dozens of people have been killed and 1,000 have been injured.This Associated Press photo, at right, shows Uzbek women and children trying to seek refuge in neighboring Uzbekistan.

Until recently, I might have made snarky comments about how the real photo, at the top, looks uncannily similar to the fake war photo, above, from Wag the Dog. But the unrest in this part of the world is not fake and I find it worrisome.
Both the U.S. and Russia have military bases in Kyrgyzstan, although they are in the north, not near the current riots.
According to the Associated Press, "...the U.S. Manas air base in the capital, Bishkek, is a crucial supply hub for the coalition fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan."
And that U.S. base is why I now take notice of news about Kyrgyzstan. As I wrote here earlier, with a daughter and son-in-law in the army, I care a lot more about the geography and politics of Central Asia and the Middle East than I used to.
Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan... I can find them all on a map now. Let's hope they can find a way to keep the peace.

Photo credits: Associated Press (D. Dalton Bennett) and the film, Wag the Dog.