Color revolutions

May 13, 2005, [MD]

I have been very fascinated by the spread of peaceful revolutions around the world during the last two years - starting with the velvet revolution in Georgia a bit over two years ago, the Orange revolution in Ukraine about half a year ago, the Cedar revolution in Lebanon some months ago and the Pink revolution in Kyrgyzstan. The latest was especially interesting to me since I spent a few weeks in Kyrgyzstan some years ago (nice picture of me and some Kyrgyz friends) - looking at the TV news and seeing the main square in Bishkek with people overthrowing their president that had ruled since independence in 1991, and had no plans of relinquishing power, was a great feeling.

However, Kyrgyzstan was always regarded as the most liberal of the CIS states, and Uzbekistan is quite far on the other side of the scale (although not as far as Turkmenistan). Now, things are stirring in Uzbekistan as well, and it’s coming from a city that is right across from Osh, where the Kyrgyz revolution started. If I were Karimov, I would be worried. Of course, Western governments are worried as well - this is an Islamic uprising, and if they did indeed manage to oust Karimov, their rule would be more religious than the previous (kind of what is happening in Iraq). However, it seems that Western governments if slowly realizing that a democratically elected and accountable Islamic party, like in Turkey, might be preferable to a unpopular foreign-supported dictator. Let’s hope this turns out well.

As an aside, the Guardian has a very interesting article about how the Orange revolution was “staged” - part Adbusters, part Lovefestival and part Lenin, quite a mix… Is this the future recipe for uprisings?


Stian Håklev May 13, 2005 Toronto, Canada
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