Saturday, May 7, 2005

GO Demoncracy!

Looks like things in Uzbekistan are at an all-time low on the Democracy scale. After a riot and prison break led by Islamic opposition on Friday, soldiers began firing on protesters, killing around five hundred people. Survivors of the skirmish recalled how soldiers fired "indiscriminately at unarmed civilians and struck women and children." See article.

After the prison quagmire, some survivors went to Andijon to speak directly with President Islam Karimov about their grievances. They reported being met with further gunfire. "Tanks came, with soldiers," said Makhammed Mavlanov, a trader and Kyrgyz citizen. "Shooting started. There was no fight. It was just mass death."

The United States has finally responded to the violence, according to the Washington Post. "We certainly condemn the indiscriminate use of force against unarmed civilians and deeply regret any loss of life," says State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher. Condaleeza Rice has also called on Karimov to reform Uzbekistan's sketchy political environment.

The United States still considers Uzbekistan to be a partner in the War on Terror. Though if the relationship needs to be reevaluated if it continues. If the War on Terror is meant to spread democracy, hold states that use excessive force accountable, we need to do more than give allies slaps on the wrist.

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