I already feel like a lifetime has passed since I went to Osh. It’s been a busy few weeks; busy in a wonderful, exciting, yay!-we’re-doing-big-things kind of way, and busy in a hectic, frustrating, oh-god-Farrell-might-get-thrown-in-jail(-again) kind of way. But we came to Kyrgyzstan to do big things, and big things can be risky. Risky can almost get you arrested, but I’ll save that story for another day.
Anyway. Back to Osh for one last time. You might remember that I showed you the “central” square in Osh; the barren, deserted, central square that has since had most traffic diverted away to other roads. Well, on the last day of my trip, it suddenly transformed into the place to be.
No way! I’m in Osh for two days and one of them happens to be a protest?!
Ahh. Not quite. Some local government officials were coming to the square to give a speech and the gathering was to show support for them.
What kind of support? The kind you get by requiring university students and administrative employees to attend.
I stood around, getting anxious in the cold. This is big, right? There are so many people around, this has to be a big deal, right?
A dozen SUVs just sped into the square, that means these guys are important, right? Look at all of the police and military! Farrell says that’s called combat parking, so the VIPs can escape quickly when the tension is finally too much to bear and the square erupts into chaos. Right?
Wrong. We hung around long enough for the supposed VIPs, a group of middle-aged men decked out in kalpaks and expensive Western-style suits, to start speaking and lead a prayer.
Then we left with the masses of students and state employees who must have felt like they had given enough of their valuable time to an unworthy cause.
You could smell the indifference in the air as groups of friends shrugged off the barrier of soldiers and went about their day.
Well, that was sufficiently underwhelming. Who wants lagman?