Friday, September 23, 2005

decision by mass gathering

No killer has yet been caught in the murder of the Kara-Suu market director. People were upset about that and some thought it must be someone connected to Bayaman, the former director. They demanded that the President fire the General Prosecutor for failure to do his job.

President Bakiev fired him. Then, in the village of Aksu, where the General Prosecutor is from, a thousand people gathered to demand his reinstatement. They threatened to march on Bishkek to make their demands. That’s a long trip – at least 12 hours over several high mountain passes and rough roads. But getting groups of 1,000 people or so together seems to have quite a bit of effect in the post-revolution Kyrgyzstan.

It’s like a clan system of democracy. People are active and they lobby in groups. But they aren’t necessarily lobbying for their own personal or group interests (the squatters in Bishkek are an exception). They stand behind their kin and their townsfolk, or possibly, whoever is willing to pay them, and make their demands by getting in the faces of the decision-makers.

But this kind of system holds little prospect for peaceful conflict resolution. If the 1,000 backers of this guy win, then a 1,000 backers of the new guy could appear; both groups trying to shout harder and longer. And one hopes that they are willing to stay only with shouting.

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