I also talked to the law students again today about the revolution. We focused mostly on celebrating the revolution last week; today we mostly talked about the revolution itself. There were a variety of opinions from those who participated in the revolution to those who supported Akaev the entire time.
We did talk about celebrating revolution day a bit because I wanted to ask them about university students being required to attend the celebration in Ala-Too Square. When my husband arrived at one of his universities last Thursday (the 23rd), he was told all the classes had been cancelled because the students were getting ready for the next day. They all had to be there on Friday to wave flags and hold banners. Two of the students said they refused to go and while they didn't have trouble because of it, they thought it might have an effect on their exams (shows you how fair the exams are!).
The same thing happened last year. Students were told to attend pro-Akaev demonstrations in the days leading up to the revolution. Some of the students wanted to go (like Sandro who has posted on the student blog) and others went because they were forced to. Others, like the one who posted today, was helping with the revolution itself.
I asked about the looting because I've heard all kinds of stories about it- that it was specifically targeted against ethnic minorities especially. The students said they thought not and that it was mostly people taking advantage of the situation. One student whose family owns a container in Osh Bazaar (I'll have to write about the container system in the bazaars here) said the people working there guarded the bazaar in shifts for three days. I asked what happened to all the stuff that was looted and they had all kinds of stories about selling all kinds of things.
The new post at the student blog really is a good place to read more about the revolution if you read Russian. Even though he supported the revoluion. he has not been pleased with the results of the revolution and didn't support celebrating it even though he was one of those in the White House on the 24th. He did say today that a revolution was not planned that morning, only a demonstration.
We also had another interesting discussion about various forms of government. One student (who is writing about bride kidnapping- that should be a very good post) said it is good for people to fear the government. Since the Kyrgyz are lazy, they need the government to make them to things. She was not in favor of a democracy because she thinks rights- people doing whatever they want- are the main focus and that is a bad thing.
I've heard this said a lot, that the Kyrgyz are lazy and I don't particularly agree. Certainly there are lazy Kyrgyz, but I see the people as being more reserved than lazy. But that's just my opinion. I also tried to explain democracy is more than rights, it's the people having a part in the creation of the laws and then having the elected leaders follow those laws. Too many democracies in the world forget about that part.
They did all think communism was bad even though life under the Soviet Union was easier. I was glad to hear that.
As always, it was a thoroughly interesting two hours and I look forward to this every week. They are writing about some good topics.