June 14, 2010

THEY'RE BASICALLY KOREAN GROCERS:

Why Can't Kyrgyz and Uzbeks Get Along? (Brian Palmer, June 14, 2010, Slate)

The Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan erupted in riots over the weekend, as ethnic Kyrgyz mobs attacked Uzbeks in the southern city of Osh. The fighting diminished Monday, but armed Kyrgyz gangs still roam the city. Violence is common in the ethnically divided south. What are the two groups fighting about?

Money. Southern Kyrgyzstan is an economically depressed region, with an average annual income of less than half the national average of $2,150. There is a perception that the city's Uzbeks are significantly more prosperous than their Kyrgyz neighbors and have gotten that way through unscrupulous business practices. While there are no hard data to back up this belief, the perception alone has turned the area into a tinderbox. The slightest sparks—economic downturns, changes in government, or rumors of an inter-ethnic crime—have sent armed gangs of unemployed Kyrgyz youth into the streets.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 14, 2010 5:39 PM
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