Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Analysts say Kyrgyzstan has developed a "culture of demonstrations" that is making stability elusive.

This resonates with other lessons-learned which have been offered from various civic movements around the world- for example Kmara of Georgia. They warn that the biggest mistake was losing momentum after the change in power. The naivity of believeing that simply a change of guard would automatically translate into constructive changes and a properly functioning system.

It may sound hypocritical of me to say, but while rallies and public support are critical, without institutions or a system in place to address the aftermath, it can undermine the success of a democracy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Kyrgyzstan: When Is The Revolution Going To End?
By Bruce Pannier

(TASS) April 12, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Whatever one chooses to call it, the "Tulip" or "People's" Revolution in Kyrgyzstan in March 2005 carried hope for many of a better era. But much of the past two years has been tumultuous, characterized by protests, quarrels within the government, and increasingly abusive language between government and opposition politicians.

The word "stability" arises in virtually any discussion of events in Kyrgyzstan, but it appears to be more elusive now than ever.

Opposition groups in Kyrgyzstan are currently holding a rally aimed at forcing President Kurmanbek Bakiev to make way for an early presidential election. The demonstrators are also demanding constitutional reforms.

An Era Of Demonstrations

There have been more demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan since independence in 1991 than in the other four Central Asian states combined. But since the revolution that ousted former President Askar Akaev two years ago, breaks between protests have been rare -- they seem to come one after another. The frequency of rallies in Kyrgyzstan has led some to comment that the country is in danger of becoming a failed state.

"Two years after March 2005, we have to say that many if not most of the slogans of the Tulip Revolution have not been realized," Edil Baisalov, the head of Kyrgyzstan's Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, said of the near-constant protests in Kyrygzstan during a recent appearance at RFE/RL offices in Washington. "For many in Kyrgyzstan, it only turned into a change of a few nameplates on some of the highest floors [of the government building]. But everything else remained; and what we hoped for was to receive a moral revolution that would, first of all,
mean not only change of regime but change in the way the people and government communicate [and] that many of the formerly acceptable levels of corruption and arrogance -- these sort of things would go away. Not only have they not gone away, but many people will tell you that they have multiplied."

This article brings up another good point- one that a friend who is a part of Sksel a brought up to me in conversation a few weeks ago. Thoughts that I echo, and will summarize here.

It’s not a revolution its "evolution". What needs improvement in our country is first and foremost the citizenry. If the government were overthrown and a new one put in place- we’d still end up in the same place so long as society is the same. What we are aiming for is a social awakening. An engaged citizenry that is alert, engaged, proactive, inquisitive and responsible and feels a sense of ownership. We want to infuse and strengthen a value system. How are we doing this? Through leading by example. Our actions and protests began with 5 and 6 people. We are creating a small model of the type of society we’d like to see. Every subsequent event that gathers us more visibility, more friends, and more interested viewers and eventually more people who join us is a step towards expanding that model a little bit larger. And a little bit larger after that. And larger still. So when people ask us what we mean by “sksel a” it is this movement we mean.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”
-Mahatma Ghandi

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