Glenn Reynolds answers a reader who asks about why there’s not more discussion about the recent massacre in Uzbekistan in the blogosphere. I’ve been following the news out of Uzbekistan, although I’ve not really had the time to do some serious blogging about it.
The situation over there is grave, and while the US government is pushing on Islam Karimov to democratize, this sort of thing should give us serious pause. Central Asia remains a mess. Uzbekistan is under Karimov’s totalitarian rule, and Turkmenistan is in even worse shape – it’s leader Saparmurat Niyazov has created one of the most bizarre personality cults in the history of the region — no small feat, and rules Turkmenistan with an iron fist.
We can’t expect democracy to come to those areas overnight, but that doesn’t mean we can excuse widespread authoritarianism and suppression of dissent. The news that we’re funding pro-democracy organizations in Central Asia is heartening indeed, but we should make it quite clear that we will support any democratic group that wishes to challenge these authoritarian governments, and we will not sit idly by while authoritarian rulers oppress their people.