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In Osh, Easier to Dig Up Corpses Than Truth

Police sealed off a gravel road in Osh’s central Cheremushki district on Friday. Word spread quickly through the Uzbek neighborhood. Since ethnic Kyrgyz make up most of the security forces, the residents’ first response was fear: “We will be attacked.”

The details of how the recent violence in southern Kyrgyzstan started – leaving perhaps thousands dead – may never be clear. Yet for most Osh residents, the culpability is obvious. Uzbeks blame Kyrgyz and Kyrgyz blame Uzbeks. The two groups each nurse their own irreconcilable versions of how the region became deformed with fear and resentment. They generally go something like this: 

Among many Uzbeks: “It was the Osh mayor. He wanted to clear out the Uzbek neighborhoods and build apartment blocks for Kyrgyz. Snipers attacked our neighborhoods. He wanted to move the bazaar out of the city, onto his own land. He had outside help from a third force, perhaps Russia, which may explain why Moscow didn’t send peacekeepers.” 

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In Osh, Easier to Dig Up Corpses Than Truth

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