Despite deep fissures in Kyrgyz society in the aftermath of the upheavals, external intervention would be counterproductive, advises John Heathershaw. Instead, foreign governments should concentrate their efforts on reducing the stakes of the conflict.
The tragic outbreak of 'ethnic' violence in southern Kyrgyzstan has been explained in much of the international press in clichés and over-generalisations, writes John Heathershaw. Yet such violence is unprecedented in Kyrgyzstan’s history as an independent nation. Now some exceptional individuals and groups are seeking to bridge the divide between communities.
Kyrgyzstan’s government has fallen, its provisional rulers are untested, and there is as yet no sign of a lasting political settlement, writes John Heathershaw. Yet that does not mean it will automatically follow the example of neighbour Tajikistan and descend into civil war. Peace is difficult but possible.
A coalition of church-based aid and development agencies is backing a creative range of self-help initiatives in the former Soviet Central Asian republics, such as Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, which are often overlooked in the worldwide media.