Saturday, June 18, 2005

The White House targeted again

Yesterday afternoon I attended a meeting that was opened by the moderator, “I don’t know how many of you know, but 2,000 protestors have broken into the White House in Bishkek and are sitting in the federal offices.”

I later read that the cause of the protest was the rejection of businessman Urmatbek Karyktabasov to appear on the Presidential ballot. Apparently he is a citizen of Kazakhstan, but has lived in Kyrgyzstan for a long time.

The protestors were successfully and peacefully disbursed with the use of tear gas. Nigora, after watching the news, said the protestors were unemployed people. “You can pay them and they’ll stand there, wave pickets, and go into the White House without any clue of what they are doing or why,” she said. She said that the current President, Bakiev, appeared on the news, saying that people are tired of such disturbances, and should they continue, greater force will be used.

I’m definitely getting tired of them, and I don’t have to live with the long-term consequences in the way the locals do.

It’s getting hot in Osh. I walk to walk in cool, morning air, picking raspberries off the bushes on my way out the door. A few hours later, it’s already intensely hot, with the peak coming after lunch. I never really looked at the temperature, and was surprised when Malik told me it was 34 degrees Celcius. I haven’t had much exposure to temperatures over 30.

“34 is nothing,” he said. “Last year it got to 40 and 41. Summer is just beginning.”

Yesterday evening the heat of the day was followed by a rainshower. By the time I walked home, around 9 p.m., the rain had stopped, but the lightening continued, turning the dark sky a grayish-yellow, illuminated by bolts of lightening flashing in the distance, like a picture show without the usual effects.

One of my favorite aspects of life in Osh is the time spent sitting on the porch. I’m given the best place at the table, the mat against the wall. There, when I’m feeling lazy, I can lift my plate or cup of tea up from the low table and rest my back against the wall. I look out at the square garden in the center of the compound. Many people have neat rows of tomatoes, spices and roses. Nigora has a wild mass of flowers. The daffodils and red roses have already flowered and wilted. Nigora will soon cut them so they will flower again and again until winter. The purple and white daisies are now in season. Tall green stalks promise gladiola flowers soon, with chrysanthemums and asters to come. And the flower bulb I brought Nigora from Holland grows visibly every day.

When it’s still light, I can sit on the porch and look out over the flowering land, limited by a fence around its perimeter. While I listen to the neighboring banging on their Kamaz, the next door dog barking, the rural vendor crying out, “Milk, yogurt,” down the street, I can almost imagine myself in a flowering field, far away from everything. I can inhale the rich scent of the earth and petals, the wetness trapped in the ground. At night, I sit in the cool air and look out into blackness. But I can still feel the land, I know that small round knobs are growing on the quince tree, I know that so many petals are waiting for the next days sun, to raise their heads proudly one more time.

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