Thursday, June 22, 2006

Andijan on tape

...three survivors of the crackdown, interviewed in hiding outside Uzbekistan, say that even the edited tapes confirm what they and other survivors have long told journalists, diplomats and aid organizations - that a cadre of armed men staged an uprising and took hostages, and were then joined by unarmed people who saw a crack in Uzbekistan's oppressive security apparatus as a chance to demonstrate peacefully for freedom.

This larger outpouring of support, one survivor said, persuaded the demonstrators that if they could stand for a few days, more people might join them. Instead, he said, they were shot without warning.

"You need to find the original tapes," one survivor said. "It would be simply horrendous."

--from Video of Uzbek Uprising Provides Complex View

The Carnegie Endowment today publishes a copy of the tapes it has, together with a transcript here. Martha Brill Olcott and Marina Barnett conclude:
Those reading the accompanying text and watching the film will have to draw their own conclusions. Our own view is that the search for “truth” in the events of May 13, 2005 cannot be a simple one. That innocent lives were lost is without question, but the motivations of those who came to the square that day were certainly varied. Many undoubtedly wanted simply to vent their frustrations about the social, economic and political failings of the Uzbek regime. They may have hoped for some remedy from the authorities, or that somehow better authorities might emerge to take their place. But others may well have had more sinister motives and goals that would have led Uzbekistan even further away from the goal of becoming a secular democracy than under the Karimov regime.

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