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Genocide 101: Tragedy in UzbekistanTim King Salem-News.com
Examining the events of 13 May 2005 and the correlation with events in Sri Lanka, Palestine, Iraq, and other nations.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In a series of recent articles I have written about the Genocide of Tamil people in northern Sri Lanka, I have learned a great deal about not just this tragedy, but also similar terrible events in places like Uzbekistan.
The largest commonality in each of the modern cases of Genocide is religious oppression. The second swath of common ground is the use of the term "terrorist" to describe the people dying en mass.
This terminology is very familiar in the American paradigm; the Bush government in fact made it dinner table conversation while waging wars on governments in the Middle east that never raised a finger toward us.
Anyone who examines the history of said 'terrorist' organizations may serve themselves and others well if they admit that in each case, the people comprising these organizations, which are in some cases genuine political governments, were in fact first victims of egregious murderous human rights violations; massive killings; suffering terrifying bombing campaigns, being forced to cross checkpoints often manned by military operatives with a tendency to humiliate and harm civilians, implementation of curfews, torture and more.
Genocide/War Crime states showing religious or cultural oppression:
Iraq - Christian vs. Muslim & Christians
Palestine - Zionist Jews vs. Palestinian Muslims & Christians
Sri Lanka - Buddhist Sinhalese vs. Tamil Hindu & Christians
Uzbekistan - Uzbek government vs. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Rwanda - Hutu vs. Tutsi
Northern Ireland - Protestant vs. Catholic
This simple fact that each group evolved due to political and religious hegemony, can be corroborated by many watchdog groups ranging from the United Nations, to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other similar agencies.
One World View on Human Rights
As the news editor of Salem-News.com, I believe advocating for human rights is not any display of journalistic bias. I am talking about a system where there are no favorite races, religions or cultures; this is essential toward the survival of the human race. The matter is not up for debate. Frankly, I feel like the nation and world I was raised in, where racial bigotry and prejudice are absolutely not tolerated, is in many ways a thing of the past. Now it is a world of one language cultures, one religion governments, it is all wrong and doomed to fail because each time people are subjugated they respond and it often isn't pretty.
However I also have faith in the new generation, and sadly that increases with the hardships that very generation faces. I wish it could take place some other way. Kids are forced to grow up way too fast in too many parts of the world.
I cite these events but not without full realization of the fact that both the Cambodia Khmer Rouge Genocide of the 1970's, and the Nazi Holocaust numbers, dwarf any referenced above. Of course there is Tibet, Kashmir, Burma, Lebanon; and the list of nations that have suffered world level injustice is a mile long, it is as long as the list of those countries that have simply brushed off accusations, often with the endorsement of the U.S.
Through a variety of established mechanisms and existing educational tools, ranging from photos and film to first-hand accounts, we are supposed to learn lessons and progress away from sicknesses like these, and instead we remain routed in the same destructive behavior that we were guilty of in the Crusades. In all truth I blame the news media as much as anything for today's problems.
Simply put, journalism should never be measured in dollars and cents, and rules that once attempted to maintain media integrity; 'payola' and 'plugola' laws, are very ineffective. Even through the 1980's, U.S. mainstream media had bureaus all over the world, and even if they were already sold out in many respects, there were more reporters in the field and a better chance at getting real information.
Human beings belong to a single race. What we fail to do, in the words of the late Gaza Activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is simply to, "Stay human". All of the national borders and lines on maps do nothing to change that need. "People are people so why should it be, you and I should get along so awkwardly"
I often tell people about an exercise I covered for a news story in Mexico titled 'Disaster have no Borders' and it included Arizona and California fire agencies, the US military, Mexican Army, and fire agencies from Baja California and Sonora. These emergency responders know the importance of familiarity and friendship and they cross train (at least then- during the Clinton mostly non-war years) and support each other.
It seems that the best thing for the world in retrospect, in recent years, was the peace and love movement of the 1960's. I'm not talking about drugs and free love; I'm talking about peace activism and religious enlightenment. There was a time, through men like Gandhi, when people paid attention and listened, but today our religious leaders are not the same.
Today they justify their time in the Hitler Youth; they preach proper behavior which equates to population control, while holding their hand out for money, and contest people's personal choice. They root for war and justify taking human lives for various reasons, they support capital punishment but oppose abortion. They modified God's words from 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' to 'Thou Shalt Not Murder' in order to justify their need for war, which is a blood thirst.
That, when they're not busy defending themselves in court for sexually abusing children in their clergy. I know there are good men in religion but they can be hard to find sometimes.
I love God but I lament the earthly violence committed in the name of books that bear his name. I fail to believe that God ever wants human beings to wage war. I do believe that God allows us the right to defend ourselves and our families from a brutal attack, and Gandhi did too; but this is a last ditch effort, and one that must be stated. And it is that principle which allows for the concept of resistance. When people are treated unjustly for a certain period of time, to a particular degree, they follow their natural tendency to fight back.
Visualize Whirled Peas
Those sentiments and ideas of the 1960's certainly spilled into the 1970's, but the ending of the Vietnam War caused radical swings in social behavior and the evolution of the young urban professional or 'Yuppie' as they came to be known.
This generation that protested war in the 60's and 70's discovered in the 1980's that they could abandon those principles and instead earn a very comfortable living; after all they had gone to college to avoid the draft, and they became the people who in many cases, they had demonstrated against.
Certainly not everyone went this route, and those who continued their vigilance found troubled times, as our writer M. Dennis Paul, who was associated with both the Black Panthers and the Weathermen during this time, learned in the hardest ways. However his enduring spirit is a light in the fog today and he is far from the only member of his generation who stayed true to the music; in fact our staff of writers is comprised of many people who never forgot what this life and our time in this world is about.
I despise the actions of people who in any context, root for or promote war while representing themselves as religious leaders. However I respect the peasant who knows that without raising arms, he has no chance of raising his family in peace.
In countries that are poor and totally outgunned by government forces, resistance fighters tend to become suicide bombers. They do not do this to die and have dozens of women as American ad agency developed lore suggests; they do it because their mom and dad are dead and occupational forces just bulldozed their family home with a two-year old brother inside who is crushed, but the family hears their last screams. These people see that blue and white star and they see rage and it is a justified rage.
The terrible killings on 13 May were reportedly tied to the arrests and subsequent trial of several businessmen. Demonstrators at first asked for 23 local businessmen who were arrested 23 June 2004.
The businessmen under arrest faced charges of "extremism, fundamentalism and separatism." Police would later charge them with being members of Akromiya, an organization the government has designated and banned as terrorist.
Those who were arrested denied the charge, claiming their arrests were tied to their growing support among the local populace. According to Wikipedia, some suggested that the arrests were part of a purge of allies of Andijan's long-time provincial governor, Kobiljon Obidov, who had been impeached and replaced with Saydullo Begaliyev, allegedly at the behest of President Islam Karimov.
What the history books regard as The Andijan Massacre in Uzbekistan, took place 13 May 2005, when Uzbek Interior Ministry and National Security Service forces fired wildly into a crowd of protesters.
While a defector from Uzbekistan's secret service placed the number of people who died from the government attack at 1500, other sources estimate that the number of people shot was 5000, with several hundred dead among them.
The government claimed they killed 187 people, yet no one is sure and it was widely reported that bodies of the dead were buried in mass graves.
The Uzbek government initially claimed that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan organized the unrest and the protesters were members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, according to Wikipedia, which also states: "The Uzbek government eventually acknowledged that poor economic conditions in the region and popular resentment played a role in the uprising."
It led to extreme, indifferent brutality and bloodshed by soldiers shooting into a crowd. This is a crime that could only be classified as Genocide, which means that Karimov and his thugs are war crime suspects and should be arrested and tried. However we live in a time when the United States deems it acceptable to simply Murder world political opposition leaders, so again there is little room for surprise.
Of course it is also noteworthy that the Bush regime in the U.S. was friendly with Karimov. One interesting piece of information comes from Ikrom Yakubov, a major in Uzbekistan's secret service who defected to Britain in 2007. He says the government "propped up" Akramia, which the Uzbek government blamed for sparking the incidents that led to the protests. He believes that the attacks were a pretext to repress dissenters. According to Yakubov, President Karimov personally ordered government troops to fire on the protesters.
These protesters were of course, once again, totally outgunned by the military forces gathered to confront them. A great deal of violence had ensued after the arrests of the businessmen. Tempers were high and this is always problematic in these situations. However opening fire on the unarmed, torturing, abusing prisoners; these actions never lead to anything but temporary resolutions.
I witnessed detainees in Iraq loaded aboard a noisy helicopter for what may have been their life's last ride, being brutalized by American military 'contractors' while hooded and bound. These men had lives and relationships before the US occupation of their country that claimed up to a million and a half Iraqi people. (The Soviet occupation and war in Afghanistan may have cost a third less deaths) If they live, they will never forget what 'American' means.
Governments that have excessive access to funding utilize long range ballistic missiles, or highly trained jet aircraft and crew to disburse deadly weapons on their enemies, of whom up to 95% in many cases are ultimately civilians who fall under the insulting 'collateral damage' designation. If and when these battered people raise an arm in resistance, they are terrorists by definition and their rights on this earth vanish.
And, this nonsense of state terrorism governments committing Genocide and using the term 'Human Shields' is enough to launch a war in itself, I deplore anyone who ever uses it in this context.
If you want to know what a 'Human Shield' is, then ask someone who has been one, like our writer Ken O'Keefe who led the Human Shield operations into Iraq when the 'Shock and Awe' campaigns began.
By placing living western people at various locations in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Ken and his teams spared numerous Iraqi facilities from bombs, thus helping maintain a portion of the nation's infrastructure.
That my friends, is a Human Shield, not a child killed during a massive bombing of civilian sections of Gaza City.
The story of the killings in Uzbekistan is very under reported.
As in the case of Sri Lanka, very little information was released to the public about what happened but for somewhat different reasons.
However there were reports that got out, and on 20 June 2005, The BBC said: "There are still disputed versions of what happened in Andijan, with the Uzbek government insisting that the eastern city saw an attempt by radical Islamists to seize power." 
They cited leading human rights groups' claims that hundreds of civilians were deliberately shot by government forces and killed in what Human Rights Watch called a "massacre".
Uzbek Reporter Galima Bukharbaeva was interviewing demonstrators in Andijan when President Islam Karimov's troops rolled into Bobur Square and opened fire.
Later, fearing arrest, she fled Uzbekistan and enrolled in Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She was one of Committee to Protect Journalist's (CPJ) 2005 International Press Freedom Award recipients. This is her account of what happened:
Crime of a Poet
An article titled 'Poetry and Ideology in Central Asia published by The Power of the Past, tells the story of how an unknown local poet named Haydarali Komilov, appeared on the Radio Liberty (affiliated with Radio Free Europe) news program last of Nosir Zokirov, a popular stage actor turned journalist.
He read his poem on the massacre titled “Nima qilib qo’yding oqpadarlar?!” (“What have you done, you wretches?”) in which he highlights the sins of Karimov and his regime, saying that they are hypocrites who have abandoned their faith and “whitewash what is haram.” To the soldiers who fired on the protestors Komilov asks, “I can’t understand it – are you not Uzbeks like us?/Or just the impudent puppets of a president?/Do you have parents or are you a dog?/You have bitten your own people, you wretches!” The poet boldly subverts Karimov’s argument about the murdered protestors being Islamic fundamentalists and invokes the vocabulary of Islam – “haram” designating something proscribed in Islamic law, literally Arabic for “forbidden” – and equates un-Islamic (haram) behavior with a rejection of Uzbek-ness. The poet was arrested but then released and forced to publish the poem along with a letter (falsely) claiming that the journalist, Zokirov, had forced him to recite the poem on air. Zokirov was sentenced to six months in prison, and Radio Liberty was banned from operating in Uzbekistan.
In a Central Asian Survey published in September 2007, Sarah Kendzior's Poetry of witness: Uzbek identity and the response to Andijon,
Like most cities in post-oviet Uzbekistan, Andijon has suffered a severe economic decline as well as political and religious repression. Andifon's practising Muslims were among the prime victimes of a 1998 national which required all places of worship to be approved by the government, resulting in the closure of 2158 of the city's 2200 mosques.
40 days after the massacre, The BBC stated that Europe's security body; The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said an investigation was needed to get a "full picture" of what happened on 13 May. The OSCE renewed calls for an independent inquiry into the crackdown on protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijan. This seemed to offer hope that the OSCE would press for accountability.
Flash forward to last Wednesday; OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, emphasized the importance of greater co-operation to enhance security in Central Asia and the OSCE region as a whole.
"Ažubalis noted the significant role Uzbekistan plays in Central Asia in creating security and stability in Central Asia. He noted that Central Asian countries are facing similar challenges, such as terrorism and extremism, as well as drug trafficking, and joint regional efforts are needed to address them." 
There is absolutely no mention of the terrible event from 2005, as if it never happened. This seeming acceptance of a government guilty of state terrorism against its own citizens is glaring.
Sanctions over the Genocidal event were temporary, as mentioned in this open letter, Human Dimension Implementation Meeting - Open Letter from The international association of independent democrats against authoritarian regimes
At the end of October, the European Council resumed its discussion about the EU sanctions against Uzbekistan, imposed after a bloody suppression of the popular uprising in Andijan in May 2005. As of four years ago to this day, the only sanction remaining in force is the arms embargo against Uzbekistan. Other sanctions, such as the ban on entry into Europe of a number of Uzbek officials, have been removed despite the fact that Uzbekistan has failed to meet most of the conditions set by the European Union.
Of course what more would we expect of Europe, land of the Versailles Treaty and nations that look the other way while diabolical white supremacists like Hitler take power and begin murdering people by the million? Where Willie Messerschmidt designed the high performance ME-109 as a plane for the German Civilian Flying Club... and then provided them to the fascist bastards in Spain to, once again, crush a resistance of 'insurgents' and, I'm quite sure, terrorists who inspired people and still do by the million, actions remembered in poems and songs like Bella Ciao! That is not to say that Uzbekistan is in Europe either, but the lines are blurred and that is fine, it would just be far better if the OSCE had the gumption to put its foot down.
The lack of information that is generally tied to these events is a hallmark of Genocidal governments. I discussed this recently at length in the Tamil Genocide, highlighting particular journalists who were murdered by government forces.
In Uzbekistan, emerging from a chilly position in a long Cold War, media never had become what it had in Sri Lanka. That of course made controlling the information an even easier task for the government. And to what end? Only to be exposed to those who know and plenty of people do know.
But then the legacy of Palestine in recent years is enough to prove the opposite; that even when horrific crimes against humanity are widely exposed in the U.S., it still generally makes little difference. Well, today, finally, it actually is making a difference, but almost every nation on earth has backed that quest for freedom with the U.S. and a few select nations holding back.
Sri Lanka has progressively moved from tolerance to intolerance and the 'terrorism' brand enabled the Sinhalese dominant government to enlist the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, to cripple the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by disallowing their ability to travel internationally.
This meant the group could not attend its own peace talks after the decision to hold them in Washington D.C. was announced. This is like a bad joke in history that many people overlooked.
But then look at Gaza and Hamas; the elected government of Palestine that, like the LTTE, was declared 'terrorist' when in fact they have killed only a fraction of the number of people that Israel has in so-called 'defense' of its citizens. The Hamas police academy was the first place in Gaza struck by Israel during 'Operation Cast Lead' in 2008 and 2009. That highly organized military assault left more than 1400 people dead and among those, were approximately 400 children.
The Israelis used illegal weapons, as the Sri Lankan government also stands accused of. In Gaza, thousands were maimed and melted and left permanently disfigured and there are statements from doctors claiming that they saw injuries the likes of which could not even be described. In Sri Lanka the Tamils languish out of site and out of reach of journalists unless they are supervised by Sinhalese military forces.
How about Iraq, where walls were erected to divide the Sunni and Shi'ite communities for the first time in history. Also, when you examine the history of Rwanda; another nation with a terrible past of Genocide, you find that the division was implemented, in that event by colonizing Europeans, who placed a higher value on the Tutsi, who were lighter complected and taller, than the Hutu. European made them identify their cultural heritage, it was not their own idea, but look at the division it brings. That of course greases the wheels of oppression- as occupational forces take political power away from the indigenous residents.
We human beings better get things figured out and fast.
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