Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Kazakhs refuse to come

November 7, 2006

We had a speaker from Kazakhstan scheduled to speak at a seminar who refused to come to Kyrgyzstan due to the protests. She demanded a bodyguard, and a 100% guarantee that nothing would happen to her at the border. We agreed to give her a bodyguard during the day, but we couldn’t give her a 100% guarantee of anything, especially not at the border. And she wanted a bodyguard at her hotel at night as well.

“Who does she think she is?” our driver, Sergei, asked. “The President?”

I could only imagine what they were showing on the news in Kazakhstan, under a regime deathly afraid of such protests taking place on their territory. The next day, a different Kazakh woman did come and I asked her.

“The news doesn’t show it as something limited to the central square,” she said. “They make it seem like it’s taking place all throughout the city.”

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