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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Uzbek protest: Your reaction
Boy walks past overturned car in Andijan, Uzbekistan

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has rejected calls for an international inquiry into last week's bloody crackdown, the UN says.

The UN had called for an independent investigation into reports that Uzbek troops shot dead hundreds of protesters in the east of the country.

The US and UK governments have condemned the violence and called for political reform and transparency.

What do you think of the protests? What should the international community do?

This debates in now closed. You can read a selection of you rcomments below.

I call upon people of the world to join the fight against the current ruthless, corrupted government of Uzbekistan. I want freedom and prosperity to come in Uzbekistan.
Eski Shahar, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Where is the outcry from the West to make Karimov and his brutal regime account for the atrocity?
Dan Balaban, Paris, France
I feel that the Uzbek regime is propped up by the West as much as it was done before by the USSR. In fact, the Russians still support their ex-communist ally. The former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray's sacking by London is a proof that the UK still stands behind the Uzbek regime.
Abdur Rahman,

Why do western companies continue invest in Uzbekistan whilst it has a dire human rights record?
Azeem Moosun,

It is difficult to comprehend that in the 21st century we have a central European nation with an almost dictator type governance and more difficult to digest that the UN, the US and Russia have not initiated anything effective enough to ensure the socio-political freedom to the citizens of Uzbekistan.
Capt. N S Singhal,

It's obvious Karimov is determined he would not suffer the same fate as the corrupt, autocratic, leaders of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan before they were felled by popular uprisings. So, he felt no compunction about ordering the massacre when the peaceful protests began in Andijan. The question is, where is the outcry from the West to make Karimov and his brutal regime account for the atrocity?
Dan Balaban, Paris, France

I do hope that Karimov is finally ousted by his people. They have had to live under economic stagnation, as a direct result of Karimov's anti-import and trade policy, but this pales in the light of Karimov's horrendous human rights record. It is ironic that the US and UK would find any of this troubling considering the support they have extended to the Karimov regime in the last decade or so. Here we have a dictator who is easily on a par with Saddam Hussein but for all his crimes the US and UK can only call for "political reform" and a condemnation of the violence. Should we not be hearing a fiercer tone in this context? I thought Bush was against brutal dictators, perhaps naively.
Mike Walls, Brighton, England

The situation in Uzbekistan is very different from that which existed in Ukraine or Kyrgyzstan. In Uzbekistan, one in every seven males of working age is employed by the security services, including the hated Militsya (police). The security services have much to lose in terms of status and financial wellbeing if the authoritarian regime was to be rolled back. For this reason, there will be many repeats of the Andijan massacre before the regime changes, if ever.

Karimov, having the very name of "Islam" should only submit to the will of Allah and give power to the people to establish an Islamic state and not be a puppet by submitting to the Western governments, who are focused on destroying the Muslims in the name of terrorists!
Reshma, India

So this isn't just a political turmoil, but another sign of budding dictatorship. Simply sack Uzbekistan from United Nations if their government resumes with the adamant nature and doesn't let an independent inquiry go on freely.
Shib SenChaudhury, Calcutta, India

The Karimov regime is well known for being a tyrannical dictatorship. Human rights groups have already highlighted the abuse and torture that occurs in the prisons. It is sad that only now the international community has taken notice of the regime's brutality. I do not believe that a UN inquiry will amount to anything, it is up to the people of Uzbekistan to rise and overthrow their evil dictator and replace him with a caliph who will rule according to sharia rule. The Muslims of UK will support them with their endeavours.
Nausheen Hussaini, Ruislip, London

Widespread corruption, poverty, social problems, absence of job opportunities, repression of Muslims - these are the main reasons for the recent uprising. After recent events in Kyrgyzstan, Mr Karimov was prepared and had exact plans what to do if such events take place in Uzbekistan. Inequality amongst the people is growing, small groups of government officials and their relatives become rich, while the majority of population, especially in rural areas, live in poor conditions. Therefore, many Uzbek men left their families (mainly to Russia and Kazakhstan) to earn some money to support their families, and fate of many of them is unknown. Corrupt officials are trying to hold the government at any price. For this reason I believe that recent demonstrators are not Islamic extremists, they are just ordinary people who tired from ever day problems and tried to express their dissatisfaction. The international community should take more real actions somehow to change this government.
Mukhammad, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Nothing but poverty and injustice
I have been waiting for the Uzbek people to finally rise against the government of Karimov. It happened and the people did the right thing! I would say Karimov needs to be tried, he needs to answer for what he has been doing for 16 years of his rule. Nothing but poverty and injustice.

I attended a demo in London on Wednesday. I am glad we could voice our concerns and also I hope the Muslims in the UK will use opportunities here to show that we support the people in Uzbekistan and the return of Islam as a system.
Nazia Rehman, UK

I have been to Uzbekistan several times, and during each visit, I found people's lives were getting worse and worse. Many educated people were forced to be self-employed because there were no jobs available. Almost every one in Tashkent is a self-employed, businessman. They are struggling to put food on the table.
Nurtai, New York, USA

The only thing that I am afraid of is that everything will get silent. Every time I go the news website I just hope that there is at least some news about Uzbekistan and how the West is pushing the government into transparency and ultimate responsibility for its actions. Living in Uzbekistan and listening to the president's extremely optimistic ambitions, you think what an excellent reformist he is. But when it comes to realisation of what he has been telling us for the past 14 years, it is just a castle in the air.
Nodira, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Why was Craig Murray ignored by the British Foreign office? All that he predicted has come true. Straw should resign!
Terry Dennett, Beurlay, France

BBC News is dong a GREAT! service to the people of Uzbekistan by telling the world about this terrible situation. The people of Uzbekistan have the right to freedom and peace. The government has the obligation to protect that right!
Nate, Uzbekistan

These last days have shown that the world is by and large ignorant of the events in Uzbekistan
Noozbek, Uzbekistan
From BBCRussian.com: It is late now. These last days have shown that the world is by and large ignorant of the events in Uzbekistan. The civil war has started. There was a chance to prevent it but renegade-leaders didn't want to step back, they will stand to the last 'soldier', and they will be the first to get on to the plane when they lose. And we will be left with a 'great' Islamic liberation revolution that will not leave any stone unturned in this country. And this country will turn into the fiefdoms. And the survivors will have to listen to the new imams, or run away to the neighbouring countries impoverished and robbed.
Noozbek, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: UN and UK please help the Uzbek people as soon as possible, there are big lies coming from Karimov and his team. Our children are hungry, because we don't have jobs, and we are not Gulnara and Lola Karimova, with millions of US dollars, we are just poor people, no one cares about us. Already many things have happened. More than 500 are dead.
Aziza, Andijan, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: Many things are unclear, but Karimov did the right thing. One shouldn't give power to the people, otherwise you get a second Afghanistan - desert, drugs, women in burkas, death for carrying a book. I am ethnic Russian, I live in Uzbekistan with everyone else. Yes, I do not always agree with the government's policies, yes, it is hard sometimes, but you can have normal life, just use your head and make your brains work.
Peaceful, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: Most probably it was set up by Karimov himself. Secret agents dressed as militants attacked the prison to provoke a conflict. They released so called 'akramiya' people, to show that they belong to terrorists, and as a result the government had its hands free for repressions. Something went wrong and a soldier opened fire. They might have thought of a small shoot-out but there happened to be too many people. Now everybody curses the army and the president, and Karimov has been nicknamed a killer, instead of the glory of a saviour.
Mukaddas, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: There was a mass brawl on the square in Andijan, dozens of people armed with anything fought.
Anna Khaylova, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: Those protesting people are drunkards and fanatics. Maybe it started with good will, but it will finish as usual - many people dead and the slaughter house just begun.
Tory, Uzbekistan

Democracy cannot be established through violence and riots
Mirzayev, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
From BBCRussian.com: I don't know the real reasons behind what is happening in Andijan. But I believe that democracy cannot be established through violence and riots.
Mirzayev, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: I used to live in Tashkent, and I know how it all works there. Maybe today's situation will bring some good. People don't know what is happening in Uzbekistan, all information is blocked, no TV or internet. Try to say something critical about the state - and you will be labelled 'a wahhabi'. They shout on every corner that they are a democratic state. But to every civilian in Uzbekistan there are five policemen - by statistics.
Vladimir, Moscow

From BBCRussian.com: Somebody was trying to get into the local security agency's building using a fire engine to ram the gates. Next to the fire engine I could see an APC, the driver probably attempted to push the fire truck away but got stuck. Next to the building I could see three more armoured vehicles with full weapons. Under one of them there was a body of a dead soldier. Just across the road from the agency's building there is school number 24 - it is undergoing refurbishment. The protesters probably have spent the night in there, because the fašade of the building has many bullets holes in it. Next to the school dead woman. There is another corpse - of a dead man - at the entrance to the children's hospital that is near the school. The man is 30-40 years old. People say the local administration building is taken - no civilian is allowed there. You can hear shots fired in there. All offices are closed, all schools, colleges are closed, too.
Mansurov, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: I am in Tashkent, but my parents are in Andijan, their phone line is switched off.
Dilya, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: If you only new how awful it is not to know what is happening outside your office walls. How awful it is to call your family every 15 minutes and ask them not to venture outside. To get short snippets of information and to see armoured vehicles on the streets. To see that the synagogue is being locked and international organisations take off signs from their doors and double the number of guards.
Anonymous, Tashkent

From BBCRussian.com: Foreign media has been talking about Andijan all day, and local media is silent. Thanks to the internet and Russian TV for giving us information about the events.
Sevara, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: In Tashkent nobody knows what is happening. Cable TV stops news bulletins and runs advertisements instead. Local cable TV operators just do what they are told by the government. There so many rumours around.
Vova, Uzbekistan

From BBCRussian.com: The city is calm, no traffic, but no shooting as well. There is a rally at the regional administration building. About casualties - nine police officers had been killed. There are more dead civilians. 500 criminals are armed and at large. 50 of them had been apprehended, others said they wanted to return to prison. The Babur cinema and theatre named after Akhunboboyev had been burnt down. City is blocked, we wait when the night falls. Phone lines are overloaded but there's no chaos.
Eyewitness in Andijan

They are decent and peaceful people who really deserve a better life
Egor, Saint Petersburg, Russia
I am a Russian. Being a worker, I have worked with many Uzbeks. They are decent and peaceful people who really deserve a better life. Mr Karimov should be ashamed of the fact that many thousands of his compatriots live from hand to mouth. Many Uzbeks move to Russia in their desperate attempts to raise cash to support their families. Needless to say they are paid peanuts in Russia but even that miserable pittance is considerable money in comparison with what they earn at home.
Egor, Saint Petersburg, Russia

There is a popular misconception in today's media world that somehow nasty dictators should be replaced by outside force. America has reinforced this idea by its misguided actions in Iraq. In fact the people in every country have to replace their dictators by their own unaided efforts, and any other system does not work.
Mike, Russia

Unfortunately, the international community in general and the Western world in particular have failed to exert adequate diplomatic pressure on the Karimov, mainly, of course, due to more interest in Karimov than in the people of Uzbekistan. In a way this is again just a sad example that the world is not actually getting better and the slogans of "freedom and democracy" are just a facade for the 19th century 'realpolitik' exercised by the leading states and politicians.
Kristaps, Riga, Latvia

I quickly scanned the messages and saw only one mentioning Craig Murray, the ex UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan. I heard Jack Straw on the BBC news calling for that country to come clean, that there should be an analysis if the situation by the international community. Yet Murray was raising these issues several years ago, and was vilified for doing so. Let's hear his voice now. The stance of the US and UK governments (and others) is just unacceptable.
Mike, Manila, Philippines

I think the protests are justified given the prolonged state of oppression that the people of Uzbekistan have endured. It is surprising after so many incidences of atrocities done whether it occurred in Rwanda or Iraq and now Uzbekistan that the international community still has to pause and think of what should be done in this situation. Isn't this an attack on democracy on human rights or are these reasons Saddam specific?
Marc Jordan, Trinidad, Port-of-Spain

The government seems unable to cope
Derek Farmer, Essex, England
I travel fairly frequently to Uzbekistan on business. I was last there in April - in Tashkent, Bukhara and Andijan. The problem in the country is down to poor government. There is widespread corruption and economic decline. It is a clear case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The Uzbek people see neighbouring countries prospering (Kazakhstan) while they have no money and few prospects. There is a significant ethnic 2nd and 3rd generation Russian population. The government seems unable to cope and has no vision. It is a big problem for US foreign policy in the region. The US risks making the same mistake it made in Iran in 1979 - that is supporting a despot against the ordinary people.
Derek Farmer, Essex, England

To a great extend, it is an uprising of civilians, with the spiritual support by religious groups. Karimov deliberately encouraged the formation of religious units attracting the ordinary citizens, public discontent being as the uniting factor, by oppressing the democratic opposition. That's the situation he wanted to have, where it is already too easy for him to label the rebels as "fundamentalists". In fact, everything should be investigated up to the foremost deepest causes of uprising, where it will be found out that the roots lie in social well being, rather than in religious fanaticism.
Mr Muradilla, Bazarov, Termez, Uzbekistan

Karimov has made them afraid
Brian, Switzerland
I have worked in Tashkent for 4 years. It is a beautiful country with rich culture and traditions. They are not radical Islamists but tolerant people. Karimov has made them afraid of even very elementary demands of any civil society.
Brian, Switzerland

When people protest for their democratic rights, especially in the ex-Soviet republics, or march to get Syria out of Lebanon, the US stands firmly behind them. When Muslims protest for the same things they are called "extremist" and the Americans can only mumble a muted "come on guys, lets settle this deal peacefully". Shame!
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago

The muted criticism of the events in Uzbekistan from the United States provides another example of American hypocrisy. They are quite prepared to support dictators providing they are militarily on side never mind that they kill and torture innocent people. After all they supported Saddam Hussain when he was initially in power.
Simon Hicks, West Sussex, UK

What is the difference between Saddam and Karimov? None. They are both tyrants who killed their own people including women and children. While Karimov is still killing his own people, the other has been overthrown and put behind bars by the very same countries who support Karimov.
Memmet, Sao Paulo, Brazil

President Karimov has done so much evil and has the blood of hundreds and hundreds of men, women and child on his hands, that it is too late for him to resign now. He has no remorse and feelings, but can keep an immensely unfair power over his country which drives his people to rebel, not really that surprising!
Prianka , Slough, UK

As an American having lived in Tashkent for two years, I can only say how heartbroken I am by this latest news. Uzbekistan is a wonderful country filled with upright, peaceful, kind citizens wanting only a better life and a fair minded leader to give them guidance. I am appalled that Karimov's regime continues to lie to, torture and cheat the citizens of this nation. Karimov's inhumane practices must end, the Uzbeks deserve better, and his regime has been torturing innocents for too long. How many lives must be lost?
Anonymous, Washington DC, USA

I visited several regions of Uzbekistan last year, including the Ferghana Valley. All the people I met were very friendly, and struggling to survive. Karimov should spend less time accusing common people of terrorism, forcing school teachers to purchase uniforms they can't afford, and requiring teachers and students to leave the schools to work in the cotton fields, and more time trying to make life easier for the people of Uzbekistan.
Mary, Washington, DC USA

I am so glad that Kyrgyzstan is doing everything possible to help the Uzbek refugees who crossed into the Kyrgyz border. I made me cringe to read and watch the cruelty of the Uzbek guards at the border. How could they shoot at their own people? It is a sharp contrast to the Kyrgyz border guards who not only allowed them to cross but also provided them with food, immunity, medical assistance, etc.
Suzanna Begalieva, USA

The massacre happened only because Karimov's regime doesn't allow freedom. For his own safety, he gave the order to shoot ordinary people. Uzbekistan is really a wonderful state to live in. It has enough resources, enough capability to prosper, highly qualified people... everything except for freedom. It is not a democratic republic, but a continuation of communistic republic under the name of democracy.
Name withheld, Tashkent

Everyone here is blaming Karimov and saying he should stand down. Yes, I agree too, but Uzbek people have no alternative but him. Because the media is fully controlled by the government we see only Karimov on our TVs, read only his words in newspapers/magazines, listen to only him on the radio. No one here knows any real alternative... we have no opposition at all.
Shuhrat, Namangan, Uzbekistan

I visited Andijan about 18 months ago and found all the people to be friendly, helpful and interested in why I was visiting. For Karimov to state that all the visiting officials due to the city this week will need supervision as there are many criminals is clearly untrue
Ray Fowler, Harpenden

I visited Andijan about 18 months ago and found all the people to be friendly, helpful and interested in why I was visiting. For Karimov to state that all the visiting officials due to the city this week will need supervision as there are many criminals is clearly untrue. My wishes and support are with the people of Andijan and the Ferghana valley who have all been treated like criminals and terrorists since Karimov took over.
Ray Fowler, Harpenden

Uzbeks took to the streets in the hope of being heard by Karimov and the rest of the world. All they wanted was more freedom, more jobs, and more economic opportunities. All they got were bullets. All the West thinks they deserve is muted and ambivalent reaction. I can't believe that world leaders will continue shaking hands with Karimov - hands that are covered with blood of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children.
Ulugbek, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I recently visited Uzbekistan for the first time. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality, generosity and most amiable reactions of people everywhere. It is a shame the US foreign policy almost always puts near-term selfish interests of US corporations above the interests of the local people. Uzbeks certainly deserve better.
Anon, Boston, USA

This massacre is probably just a ploy by Islam Karimov to seek life presidency
David Ajie, Kaduna, Nigeria
This massacre is probably just a ploy by Islam Karimov to seek life presidency just like some famous world dictators. Why should a president stop his people from expressing what they feel about his government? As an African, I plead with the international community especially the UN to investigate this gross abuse of power used to intimidate and scare the helpless citizens of Uzbekistan. One last word; when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers!
David Ajie, Kaduna, Nigeria

If the US can invade Iraq on the pretext of democracy, and force Syria out of Lebanon on the pretext of freedom, it is about time that it withdraws support for the despot Karimov and allows its 'values' of freedom and democracy to flourish where they are most desperately wanted. It is most ironic that the only thing currently blocking the Uzbek people from freedom is the support of the United States government for their tyrant leader.
Zehra, IL, US

If Karimov has nothing to hide, then he should allow the international investigators to see for themselves without any restrictions. The US and the world should pressure him so until he does. If the US and the world can pressure Syria over the death of one man, surely the world can respond more swiftly over the death of hundreds.
Thomas Dougherty, USA

Sigh, I had a feeling this would happen. Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan. These have all been extremely corrupt democracies, not dictatorships. The moment you try a people's revolution in a place where the soldiers aren't afraid to fire on unarmed civilians, you get a bloodbath. We've seen it before in China and Iraq, and now it's happening again.
Adam Lakeman, Cambridge, England

What happened to "the war on terror" and "freedom for all"?
Jim, NY, USA
The US and UK have "called" for political reform but that's about all they will do because Karimov allows the "coalition" to operate from Uzbekistan. What happened to "the war on terror" and "freedom for all"?
Jim, NY, USA

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are brother countries, but thanks to Karimov's politics we became enemies to each other. Karimov has no right to sit on that chair while people of Uzbekistan don't want him. I know that they don't want his regime because they had seen better alternatives.
Almaz, Kyrgyzstan

I worked in the Samarkand region for two years. I have friends who lived in fear because they wanted to make a life for themselves. Until control of the media is released by Karimov, little of the world and of Uzbekistan will truly understand what is happening to the people who are trying to make something of themselves and for themselves.
Joshbek, Colorado, USA

What happened in Andijan has reminded us of the terrible communist crack down of protests in Tiananmen in China. Karimov's regime is horribly bloody and believe me that the people of Uzbekistan badly what him to retire. And the international community should harden its stance towards the Uzbek regime.
Sherzod, Uzbekistan

Secular democracies are creating havoc around the world - the invasion of Iraq by America/UK is a recent example... A true Islamic state - not the puppet regimes one sees in the Middle East Asia - will (God Willing) provide a real positive alternative to the current secular hegemony. Look to Andalusia ruled by Islam for nearly 800 years for example.
Arif, London, UK

We can discuss who was behind this protest forever - Islamists or just unhappy people who want to change their life. But President Karimov has no rights or authority to kill civilians! I've been to Uzbekistan and know its friendly and simple people. My heart goes out to them!
Slavianka, Belarus

Since President Karimov is nice to Bush; Karimov can do whatever he wants, even if it means killing innocent men, women, and children
Thomas Dougherty, USA
I noticed that many of the responders branded Bush as a hypocrite. I don't see that way. He is so consistent in his ways. In other words, you are either with him or you are against him. If he likes you, he will do everything to make sure that you are respected. If he hates you, then he will invade your country. Since President Karimov is nice to Bush; Karimov can do whatever he wants, even if it means killing innocent men, women, and children. Bush will look the other way.
Thomas Dougherty, USA

Strange that Bush and Blair did not seem to be interested in regime change in Uzbekistan. The government there appears to oppress its people and ethnic minorities. Oh silly me, the Uzbekistan government supported the USA and UK against Iraq. Typical of the two-tier system used by Bush and Blair to promote their policies whilst ignoring the actual suffering of a nations people.
Steven Thomas, London UK

The failure of the US government to condemn the obvious atrocity that occurred in Andijan in a suitably clear and timely manner is quite frankly a blow to their claim to represent justice in the world. The Uzbek president is a cruel dictator as was Saddam Hussein.
Brian Golden, Dublin, Ireland

I feel for the people of Uzbekistan. The appropriate response from the international community would be to aid the people and censure and apply pressure to the government. It won't happen, though, as long as western nations, such as the US, wish to transport their political prisoners there to be tortured.
Kaz, Briton in NJ, USA

We are Muslims, but not extremists. Calling protestors radical groups is a just tool for Karimov because he can do anything with these "Islamic extremists"
Eson, Tashkent

The protest is against the rigid regime of Karimov. We are Muslims, but not extremists. Calling protestors radical groups is a just tool for Karimov because he can do anything with these "Islamic extremists"... [The] international community can't do anything. They are blind and don't want to anything. They are afraid that they can't do anything. After these killings of hundreds of people, the rest of the country never go to street.
Eson, Tashkent

The press should continue to publicise the terrible lack of human rights in Uzbekistan - what are the UK and US doing supporting this dictator by paying to have military bases?
Marina B. Brown, Ann Arbor, USA

Having analysed the recent events I can say that Uzbekistan is next for another coloured revolution. It is evident that the current regime has failed to take this nation further. If anything, Uzbeks have fallen behind and their future (with non-existent opposition) seems gloomy. People want to live and not struggle for life and it is their very right to express their opinion via peaceful demonstration. Karimov is like a Stalin for Uzbeks - much hated and much loved and now is a best time for Uzbeks to decide how they want to live.
Anon, Tajikistan

This is price the Uzbeks have to pay for the friendly cooperation between the US, the UK and Uzbekistan. When Karimov can call anyone who opposes him an "Islamic extremist" and the friends just nod in silence, the interests of the Uzbeks are not served.
Jodi-Ann, Portmore, Jamaica

The fear here is palpable
Anon, Southern Uzbekistan
I am serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan now. I have been working as an English teacher and living with Uzbek families. I can first say that Tashkent and the rest of Uzbekistan might as well be separate worlds. Whereas the former enjoys comforts familiar to Western nationals, the rest of the country is far behind. That said, the Uzbek people are fundamentally good. I am worried that these rebels will as be cast as Islamist extremists. While there are certainly more religiously minded individuals in the area, I have received absolutely no indication the ordinary Uzbeks, who are trying to keep their families together and create a better future, wish to be ruled by Islamic law. But the fear here is palpable.
Anon, Southern Uzbekistan

I was a US Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan from 1998-2000. Uzbekistan desperately wants to become free and prosperous, but the government is corrupt. I hope the US and Russian governments will remind Karimov that freedom is the only way forward.
Eric, Florida, USA

One thing the Uzbek government fails to understand is that you can't control people by making them fearful of the government. When control goes too far you will eventually end up with people who have nothing to lose and will do anything to topple the current government. Add poverty, economic stagnation and income disparity among people and you end up with a lethal cocktail that will set of a wave of destruction across the country. Karimov has tried to use the "Islamic extremist" tale story more or less successfully over the years to cover his shortcomings as president, but he can't label any more decent unhappy people as extremists and put them in jail. The country needs change and I hope that this change will not come through bloodshed (as it did in Tajikistan).
Anonymous, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Replacing him is easier said than done
Ozoda Muminova, London, UK
Uzbekistan is in a very difficult situation, as there is no democratic opposition to Islam Karimov. Replacing him is easier said than done - there is a real threat of Islamic extremists taking over the country and I don't think the people of Uzbekistan want such an "alternative". Until western "democratic" powers start supporting truly democratic movements in the country, there is no choice, but the status quo.
Ozoda Muminova, London, UK

I lived in UZ for a while and am familiar with the people and surroundings. Many of the people I met in the Ferghana Valley are farmers and small businessmen who want to make a decent life for their families and a better future for their children. That opportunity has declined, year by year, since 1991. Yet, it seems that somehow, Karimov's daughters are able to operate thriving businesses, and drive really expensive cars in Tashkent. It's a mystery.
Anonymous, Almaty, KZ

Few outside the UK will be aware that Craig Murray, the courageous and principled former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan (who was dismissed for objecting to the British intelligence services relying on "information" extracted by Uzbek government torturers), stood against Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, in the recent UK election. Unfortunately Straw won, but the support Murray received shows that at least some people in the UK object to our government's alliance with Karimov.
Nick Gotts, Aberdeen, Scotland

I lived in Uzbekistan for the most of my life and now I study in the UK. I wanted to go back as soon as I finish my studies, but now how can I do it? So, from my point of view, these protests may have a huge impact on an organization such as the UN and especially on those people who do care about human rights. Where is George Bush, who is striving to clear out the world from terrorism? He was concerned about Iraq or Afghanistan, that these countries needed western support, to bring changes. He cared about human rights in Iraq, but he doesn't in Uzbekistan? Uzbek people get back on your feet and fight for your freedom and future.
Neutral, UK

I call all people who respect human rights to protest against Uzbekistan's dictatorial government
Abdullah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
I think the massive protest in Andijan is a result of people disagreeing with Karimov's dictatorial regime. It has nothing to do with Islamists, it is just the label Uzbekistan's government attached to cover-up their bloodshed. I call all people who respect human rights to protest against Uzbekistan's dictatorial government and governments who are still allies and support Karimov's repressive regime should be condemned as well. Karimov will not last for much longer and I think people with a conscience should not serve such a government and president after its massive homicide against its own people any longer! It is time for justice.
Abdullah, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Hypocrisy! Where are the condemnations by the US or UK governments? The dictator is their friend and they keep mum. Shame.
Hyacinth, Ottawa, Canada

I have never experienced the feel of hunger and poverty, but many of my friends do. I feel very sorry for them, people have no faith in their country, they all run like rats from the sinking ship and I can understand them, because I'm one of them. I'm very sorry for my country and people.
Jck, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

The world chose to stay blind to the plight of the Uzbekistan people for the past four months while their innate rights as human beings have been crushed by the governing regime. The people of Uzbekistan simply wish to live a life of according to their morals, ethics, and perceived beliefs.
Havva A Tozan, Florida, USA

It very much surprised me that there was not comment from any Western comment reported on the BBC until Sunday. Then Jack Straw said the Uzbek government needed to 'deal with patent failings in respect of human and civil rights.' No public statement was made by President Bush. When Craig Murray as British ambassador drew attention to human rights abuses in Uzbekistan he was dismissed. Maybe this relative lack of comment from the US and UK has something to do with the fact that the US has a big base there which is being used for the military campaign in Afghanistan, and the British government also gives financial aid to Uzbekistan? I find this double standard deeply dismaying, but sadly what I have come to expect from those pursuing the 'war on terror'.
Janet and John Toye, Oxford, U. K.

Living in the neighbouring country we know well enough how the population is suffering there because of hunger and joblessness. Thousands of men come here and to other CIS countries searching for job and they are paid a little and treated not a right way. They abide in pitiful conditions. I know myself one Uzbek old man living here in Almaty who is a widower with four children. He works 24 hours a day to feed his children and his children sleep on the naked floor and have only piece of bread with cup of water a day. Notwithstanding such conditions he manages to share his miserable money with his relatives in Uzbekistan suffering there. Uzbek people are now in real and devastating despair, hungry and lost. What can we do?
Jamila, Almaty, Kazakhstan

For those of you who believe that Karimov is a good leader and people in Uzbekistan should not speak out against the government, because everyone thinks the country will become another "terrorist" country, please stop being ignorant and try to see the viewpoints of the citizens that live there. Everyday, citizens fear for their lives because they don't know when it will be their last minute. People are quick to accuse Muslims as terrorists, especially Americans. I am an American and let me make this clear to those that actually want to listen - in this situation, the government of Uzbekistan are terrorists, not the citizens.
Anonymous, New York, NY

For many, those who know the reality in Uzbekistan - who the government is, what they do, and why - this is something expected and at the same time too much. Moving on from exploitation and humiliation they have started openly killing those challenging their "right" to exploit and humiliate. I could not hold back my tears back, since I could see that this protest was their only way of expressing the poverty and injustice.
Ahmedov, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a perfect example a of dictatorship that is tolerated and approved of by the world powers because it is in their best interests. If Bush is serious about spreading democracy than it should back the aspirations of the people of Uzbekistan who only want what some of their neighbours are getting... freedom.
Bablu Rahman, Haywards Heath, UK

I visited Uzbekistan last year and met many people who were scared to talk about politics. One man told me he was forced to write his name on an electoral ballot. Karimov labels anyone who opposes his regime a "terrorist". What is happening in Andijan has been a long time coming. These people will only suffer so much oppression and intimidation until they get tired of it and rise up. The West needs to get real about supporting Karimov - if Bush, Putin and Blair continue to support his bloody regime, they are just as guilty as the rest of us who continue to condone Karimov's actions.
Kate, Melbourne, Australia

It's very sad that innocent people died in Uzbekistan. I come from an area not far from Andijan and know how people live there. It's just existence and daily struggle. People don't have any rights in Uzbekistan. It's all about Karimov and his people. Karimov covers his regime as a fight against terrorism and he definitely has the best supporter, George Bush. I do hope these events are a start for bigger changes that would bring a better life for Uzbekistanis that they deserve.
Dilafruz, London

I have lived for along time in Kazakhstan and in Uzbekistan. Secular dictators or Islamic regimes are not the only alternatives for our Uzbek brothers. Still there is a third way for Uzbeks. As in every country, Uzbeks are looking for prosperity and freedom and this can be achieved by establishing an open, democratic society and market economy. I am sure that one day Uzbekistan will be an open, democratic country with an established free market.
Harun Yilmaz, Istanbul, Turkey

What will be next? I live here and I know that even if the other parts of Uzbekistan were aware of the unrest in Andijan, they will just be frightened and fall dumb in silence. If people in the capital will rebel against the situation, then the other regions may move. Karimov will continue his reign until the new election, because he is not going to surrender as he is considered to be the father of Uzbeks. In fact corruption around him and throughout the country caused this fall of the Uzbek nation. Shame to those leaders who just think about their own peace of mind. It's ridiculous to ask for help from EU or US, as Karimov is always being smart with them.
Alisher, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

A number of people here, supporters and opponents, seem to think that the only alternative to secular dictatorship under Karimov is an Islamic state. Have any of you been to Uzbekistan? I have and I cannot believe that any of the people I met want this. We hear a lot from Tony Blair about how much better off Iraq is without Saddam Hussein, our government must end the hypocrisy and condemn the Karimov regime and its current brutal actions.
Stephen Shephard, Bedlington, UK

Karimov should be tried for all the crimes he has committed against citizens of Uzbekistan. Not only Karimov, but also all of the government should be tried for the theft, corruption, and killings of the innocent. May Allah help the people of Uzbekistan.
Abdullah, Kokand, Uzbekistan

Is every bad political decision in the world going to be blamed on Islamists? Karimov is a known tyrant and should be removed as a president of Uzbekistan. The situation in Uzbekistan is volatile and, in my opinion, UN peace keeping troops should be deployed until a balance of power is restored.
Max Mazourov, London, UK

I lived in Uzbekistan more than 30 years. And I always will have only nice and warm feelings about the people who live there. It's a real shame to live in a country so rich in natural resources and yet to live such a miserable life at the same time. Uzbekistan were supposed to be as prosperous as, let's say, South Korea. All that Uzbekistan needs is democratic government and huge economic reforms. May be it's time to stop eating your people's bread, Mr Karimov?
Allan, Ottawa, Canada

The people of Uzbekistan need help to resist their dictator leader. The people have not been free since the Cold War, with the government blaming Islamic militants and imprisoning civilians.
Nasimov M, Samarqand

I think that time has come for Karimov to face the consequences of his actions and politics he was conducting. He was persecuting and crushing any "renegades." There's no secret that the Uzbek has been living in poverty for so many years. It also affected the attitudes toward Karimov's regime. The civil unrest can spread through the country. It will be supported people will be emboldened by that. They will come to realisation that certain changes can not be achieved via normal reforms and that you have to assert yourself in order to heard. The only thing we have to hope is that it will not destabilise the region. Karimov will face the consequences....
Zokir Abdukhamedov, New York, USA

Britain replaced its ambassador to Uzbekistan because he was too critical of the poor human rights record of the President. Unfortunately for the Uzbek people, western governments are more interested in having a compliant dictator in power. Something should be done, as this example of poverty and brutality by a dictatorship leads to misery and radicalisation. The Uzbek people simply want a responsible government that can be called to account. It is not simply a choice between Karimov or a fanatical Islamist state!
Sam Hutchison, U.K

People in Uzbekistan are tired and afraid of this government, they deserve better than Karimov.
T, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
This morning the national TV in Uzbekistan was broadcasting a documentary about the Uzbek Army and how it is at work to protect the people. In general, people don't know much about what happened in Andijan: absolutely no news on TV and radio, only a press conference of the president. The internet seems to be back to normal today (in any case only a small percentage of the people in the country has access to the internet). People in Uzbekistan are tired and afraid of this government, they deserve better than Karimov. They need jobs and a better life for their children. They need more open borders and a better environment for trade and business. Let's stop pretend that it is all about terrorist trying to establish an Islamic state in the region. More freedom and change are needed for the people now and for the future. Let's hope that the future will bring change but no more clashes and death.
T, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Karimov is lying when he says he did not order his troops to shoot in Andijan. I have lived there for two years as a corporate executive. Those people don't even scratch their heads without permission from Islam Karimov.
Steve Mamikonian, Chicago, USA

Time and again, President George W. Bush has inspired people around the world to rise up and claim what is theirs -- Freedom and Democracy. His inaugural address in Washington earlier this year sent home that message to millions of politically desperate people across the planet. Today, people are reacting to that. But, to the US Government's dismay, it is not in Iran, Syria, or North Korea that this call to arms has been heeded. But in desperate regions such as in central Asia and west Africa where the US Government has no strategic interests. Worse, this dream-turned-nightmare could not have happened inside the US Government's ally on the War on Terror. It is people like Islam Karimov that alienates US Government from the global public opinion on Human rights and democracy.
Aboud Jumbe, Bangalore, India

Uzbek people want food on their tables, job, justice, fairness, freedom of speech, basic human rights to be observed. The current government failed to fulfil its mandate. At the beginning people had faith in Karimov trusted his words but it became obvious for a number of years already, that the President is not able to keep his promises. His new rules just broke down the economy of the country, people's lives became just unbearable. People want to change the government but there is no democratic way to do achieve it. There is no real opposition in the country and of course the current situation can be used by Islamic radicals. We do not want an Islamic state we want democratic government!
Anonymous, Uzbekistan

The Uzbek President and government have been repressive and corrupt for years. It is surprising they have stayed in power this long. The UN should intercede with peace keepers. If quick action is not taken the government will become more repressive and more violent.
Professor George E. Carter, Beirut, Lebanon

I think it is time for freedom. They are not terrorists they just want freedom from Karimov. We need support from outside!
Ferhad, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Though it is true the life in Uzbekistan is hard, it will not help to have such protests to get better life. It will only make it harder to live, or lets say, to survive!
Anonymous, Andijan

Uzbek events are bad timing for freedom in neighbouring Kazakhstan. Here, proposed new laws will clamp down even further on media, civil society and opposition. But living standards in Kazakhstan are far higher than Uzbekistan. So a wiser course for the Kaz government is to drop its new laws and engage with its people - something Karimov has never done.
S Bennett, Almaty, Kazakhstan

This is a really good chance for Uzbekistan to be focused by the media of the world
Lyudmila, Uzbekistan
I lived in Uzbekistan for 28 years and this country has never been a democratic one. Today's incident has not been broadcasted (the government controls the media, everybody fears this government - I cannot even write my full name and I am using my foreign friend's email address). The government should be blamed instead of the Islamic extremists. People are demanding bread and jobs, there is a big difference between rich and poor. This is a really good chance for Uzbekistan to be focused by the media of the world and attract the international attention.
Lyudmila, Uzbekistan

I travelled around Uzbekistan last year and went to the Ferghana Valley. There was a palpable feeling of higher tension due to the number of police on the streets and the number of roadblocks which aren't as numerous as in other parts of the country. The government is nothing more than a naked, old-fashioned dictatorship. The sayings of President Karimov are displayed on the streets, on road signs, on museums and on monuments. There is no room for dissent but this doesn't seem to hold the people back from really knowing how their government operates and wanting to taste an alternative. I feel the Uzbek people are becoming another coiled spring - ready to pounce up when the political pressure on them becomes too much. Islam is suppressed, political opposition is crushed, corruption is open and rife, the media is a joke and I fear something is going to have to give. If Karimov had any political know-how, he should engage and foster an opposition rather than trying to destroy it. The only winner would then be the Uzbek people.
Marc, Manchester

In fact every single person here needs tranquillity and peace. Those who have nothing to lose are easily provoked to anything spontaneous and undesirable by unethical means of interested individuals. This entails a chain reaction, mass delusion and madness of crowd. Unemployment, disrespect towards people and self-interest by Karimov and those surrounding him have lead to weakness, on-the-edge state of crowd. What we need is a normal democratic state with jobs and favourable conditions for working and living across the whole territory, not only in Tashkent. The West should come here and help try to correct the situation, otherwise all built and achieved here will ruin one moment and there will be much regret and sadness .
Timajon, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

We're a developing democracy, and we need some state control
Anonymous, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is the only pro-western country in central Asia. All of our neighbours have Russian military bases. These revolutionaries want an Islamic state, it's not that they're unhappy with Karimov, he is widely criticized, but never praised for the good things that he does. We're a developing democracy, and we need some state control. He is not a dictator, he's just old. In 2007 new elections will be held, and the Uzbek people will surpass all other central Asian states economically. God bless our people.
Anonymous, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I used to live in Uzbekistan and I can say that there is not freedom and democracy there. President Karimov keeps the country behind closed curtains. I wish it was part of Russia or at least Karimov has to be changed. I spent a lot of years of living there and am very happy now because I don't live there anymore!
Mr X, Ireland

The government is taking the right measures to put down these people, many criminals and Islamists are amongst them. They want a government similar to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Karimov isn't a dictator, he is a good man, all presidents are criticized, but are they ever praised for the good things they do? Let's be grateful to god that this little revolt hasn't spread. People spread rumours about Karimov, look at Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, he will leave his daughter as president when he leaves, is this democracy? I pray that the innocent people will find peace, but the law-breakers are getting the punishment that they deserve. God bless the Uzbek people.
Jahongir, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

I am Uzbek living in USA. Events in Uzbekistan especially concern me, as my parents and relatives still live there. Before the fall of the Taliban and the arrival of US troops to Uzbekistan, Karimov easily justified his actions of appeasing peaceful demonstrations and putting people in jail as a fight against "Islamic terrorism". But now it is a lot harder, because the Taliban are gone, and US troops are in Uzbekistan. I hope all other cities in Uzbekistan pick up the peaceful demonstrations to show the world that people not only in Andijan want the new government and better changes.
Shuhrat, NY, USA

Falling Empire. After the fall of USSR the United States took over the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union. People of the area expected to live in freedom and better economy. Now they find wars, terrible economy and domination of anti-Islamic foreigners, mostly from US and west. It is not a surprise

I just returned from a voyage to the ancient cities of Uzbekistan. Wonderful places, very friendly people! Yes, there is lack of freedom, yes there is widespread corruption and poverty, which makes Kazakhstan look like a democratic paradise with a lot better economic prospects (thousands of Uzbeks are crossing the northern border for a better life). With Islamic extremism being imported from the Arab countries and Turkey, I doubt that simple solutions and balanced judgements are possible. Creation of Islamic state is a real threat which should not be allowed! And for those who know little about the region, each country is very different from another with different history, traditions, mentality, way of life, economic conditions, level of democratic development and, most importantly, people!
Zhanibek Suleimenov, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan

I know of no country in the world which would tolerate a massive prison breakout
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio
I know of no country in the world which would tolerate a massive prison breakout. The rest of Uzbekistan should be thankful that the military is stepping in and trying to control the situation.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

Without the help nothing will change even if all inhabitants will rise. Tyrants remain tyrants till the grave. It is not a secret for anybody here in Uzbekistan. We only hope for better times. We need support from outside. We need help.
Shavkat, Uzbekistan

Russia will not and should not allow an Islamic state on its borders. I hope Russian president applies pressure and supports Karimov. A secular dictator is much better than an Islamic state for us, Russians, and for the world security in general.
Anton, Moscow, Russia

Uzbekistan does not need to become an Islamic state, just look at the example of other countries, they are ruled under dictatorship. Religion will not do good, the truth that sets everyone free will. I am glad that people stood up for themselves in this tyranny. I believe that one day Karimov and his government will answer before many for what he has been doing to his country and people. I hope that one day justice will prevail.
Aziza, Almaty, Kazakhstan

The time has come for the current regime to step down
Kunchilik Uzbakov, Karchilik, Uzbekistan
The time has come for the current regime to step down and let people choose a real leader that will hopefully be fair to its own people and ultimately himself. This guy is going to end up dead someday in a very unpleasant manner. You can't abuse the whole country and get away with it so easily.
Kunchilik Uzbakov, Karchilik, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has human rights abuses for sure. They are no threat to the US and we have our hands full right now. Someone else will have to handle this one. Maybe the EU or UN could take care of this one.
Todd, Virginia, USA

I have recently lived in rural Uzbekistan for two years. To cast the unrest there as secular/dictator versus Islamic state is to play into the deceit of the Uzbek government. World Muslims might well not recognize Islam as it is practiced in Uzbekistan. By casting all Muslims, and all discontent, as extremism, the ruling elite can, at will, suppress people who want nothing more than gas in the winter to stay warm and their children to not miss school for two months of cotton picking every year.
Eric, London, UK

The West should do something by helping the Uzbek people rather than the government itself. Another revolution is possible if the Uzbek government does not do something about it. Oppression and human rights abuses are not features of democracy yet Bush is keeping quiet about it by cllosing one eye. Is this democracy by the people or democratic dictatorship?
Firdaus, Singapore

An Islamic state would be much better than the repressive dictatorship that exists there at present
Shafiq, UK
An Islamic state would be much better than the repressive dictatorship that exists there at present - which incidentally is supported by the guardians of freedom and democracy in the world - the US. The regime of Karimov is known to carry out human rights abuses. What will Bush do about this?
Shafiq, UK

The entire region is vulnerable - look at President Bush in Georgia - it is all about oil.
Janice G, Cambridge, UK

I was in Uzbekistan in 2000 to work for a relief organisation. Since my return I stayed in contact with Western relief workers who work directly with and among the local population since. Anti-government sentiments have been suppressed since a long time. Unfortunately, the government does not use its power for the benefit of the people. Since 9-11, the US and other Western governments seem to see the current leaders as their allies in the war against terrorism, although even non-religious people are being held in prison because the are 'extremists'. I can only hope that our eyes will be opened and a peaceful takeover will take place like in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
M van Esterik, the Netherlands

This happened because you, "democratic" Western countries supported Islam Karimov. He knows that he can go to UK or USA and live there till his death without any punishment. This is you who keep the silence when you see thousands of innocently killed people!
Amir Abdulla, Almaty, Kazakhstan

President Bush entered to war with Iraq because he claimed Saddam with tyranny and wanted to bring freedom to Iraq. Where is Bush in Uzbekistan if he really cares about freedom and justice. Does being pro-American and doing things for US interests make it all of a sudden Okay? Where is freedom and Justice in Uzbekistan? Why has Bush not done and said anything about it for years?
Mehmet, USA

I think what is going on in Uzbekistan highlights the hypocrisy of the West in its dealings with Muslim countries. The invasion of Iraq was justified after the event because we were told that a dictator had been overthrown. But we are very good friends with a much worse dictator in Uzbekistan.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

Reports of violence and shooting in Andijan

Eyewitness: Uzbek protests
13 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
What lies behind Uzbek protests?
13 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbekistan's most orderly protest
12 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Central Asia: At-a-glance
13 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Uzbeks protest at court ruling
10 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Uzbekistan
14 Dec 04 |  Country profiles


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