Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Startling new information on Uzbekistan

You've got to hand it to non-governmental organizations for their unfailing ability to state the obvious months or years after everyone else has already noticed. To wit, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has, apparently, just noticed that the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan is ruled by an actual, bonafide, honest-to-God dictator, and that dictatorships, for some reason, tend to be unstable, sometimes even violent, places. No, really! The ICG has graciously taking the time to restate the obvious in a report on Uzbekistan that will surprise absolutely nobody who has paid even 10 minutes worth of attention to Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov over the past decade.

For starters, the ICG appears stunned (stunned!) that Karimov is still in office even though his term legally expired in January! I, for one, can scarcely believe that a dictator would do such a thing, but there's more. Did you know that under the Karimov dictatorship, there's scant attention paid to the rule of law, no freedom of speech, and that political opponents are often arrested and tortured without cause? And did you know that, for some reason, Karimov's daughter is filthy rich while ordinary Uzbeks barely manage to make a living? Nepotism, I hear you ask, in a dictatorship? I know, it beggars belief, doesn't it? Finally, the ICG has, by virtue of their fearless devotion to ferreting out the truth, determined that the Karimov dictatorship uses fear and violence as a tool of maintaining power. You don't say!

I suppose I shouldn't be this sarcastic, since the ICG is telling the truth, but why do I get the sense that they're just discovering that states ruled by dictators are inherently rotten places to live in? I can only wonder what eye popping revelations we can expect when the ICG decides to scratch the surface of what's going in Zimbabwe and Belarus.


Joshua Foust said...

In ICG's defense, they have been accurately describing Uzbekistan for many years.

Joshua Foust said...

That's just their style. Believe me, I have gotten into extremely angry discussions with them when I've critiqued their language. I think it's just how they write.