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Jun 23, 2010 at 16:46
Category: Central Asia


Dear Friends, No doubt many of you have followed the news reports from Kyrgyzstan over the past couple of weeks.   Interim President, Rosa Otunbayeva has said that the death toll is more than 2,000.   Some 100,000 Uzbeks, mostly women and children including many wounded,  fled across the border into Uzbekistan.  They left with nothing- some not even wearing shoes.   The UN estimates that there are 400,000 displaced people inside Kyrgyzstan.  Eye witnesses speak of Kyrgyze troops clearing the way for mobs of  Kyrygze young men to burn and murder through Uzbek neighborhoods and of seeing rows of bodies laid out in the streets.

These are tragic events.  For Marilyn and I it has been very difficult to see the pictures of places where we have walked now charred ruins  with bodies on the streets.  Some have asked why this violence has happened amongst people who have lived together for generations. 

The first reason has to do with the legacy of Stalin.  In Central Asia, as in many other areas of the former Soviet Union, Stalin followed a policy of divide and control.  He forcible placed Uzbek peoples on Kyrgyze lands so that now 15% of the five million population of Kyrgyzstan are  Uzbek.  They both speak a Turkman language and both share a Muslim religion but competition for scarce land and water resources create tension.  With the fall of the Soviet Union,  these tensions boiled over into the 1992 civil war.  Calm was only restored by Russian troops.  There is still bitterness from that conflict plus resentment at Uzbek control of the markets.

The second has to do with overthrow of the corrupt government of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April.  He is in exile but the south was his power base and many there want to restore him to power.   Guns, money and drugs were handed out by his supporters and many believe that the violence was encouraged by police and army unites sympathetic to Bakiyev to create chaos and undermine the interim pro democracy government so that he could present himself as the only one who could restore order and so return to power.  It seems criminal gangs were also involved in promoting and exploiting chaos to further their activities.

Whatever the whole truth , it is clear that evil, hatred and fear ran unrestrained and many lives were destroyed.  So far as we know all of our friends, including Uzbeks are safe.  There is a relief effort underway and much work to do.  We are not a relief organization but we do want to support our friends there through prayer and finance so that they can continue to minister the grace and life of Jesus to all.  We need your help to do so.  

Please prayerfully consider making a gift to Harvest Now so that we can help our friends.  The IBAN # is NL.47.ABNA.0405606087.  The account name is Stichting Harvest Now.  Or you may place your gift on Skype on stevehill(at)harvest-now.com but remember to click "personal" and "gift" so we avoid paying fees.

Thank you and may God richly bless you

Steve & Marilyn Hill

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