Thursday, April 08, 2010

More from an Undisclosed Location

By R.B. Moreno

I woke to news this morning from my shortwave radio that opposition protesters took control of the Kyrgyz government late yesterday, likely at the same time footage of the unrest began filling TV airwaves. The BBC reported that the power vacuum has prompted looting and sporadic violence across the country, and it aired an interview with a woman attempting to restore order: Roza Otunbayeva, a former Soviet representative to the UN who played a role in the 2005 Tulip Revolution that swept Kurmanbek Bakiyev to power. Otunbayeva said the opposition has dissolved the parliament, leaving her in charge for six months until a new constitution can be established. Facing arrest, Bakiyev, meanwhile, has fled the capital for yet another undisclosed location. All told, by day's end, at least 70 people were reported killed amidst a chain of events whose horizon remains hazy.

Aside from alarming TV pictures of empty store shelves in Bishkek, life feels little changed in my own corner of Kyrgyzstan. (The city where I'm training can't be named here for security reasons.) Peace Corps language lessons continued without interruption today, save for hurried conversations about politics over tea. It was hard, I must say, to concentrate on memorizing Kyrgyz prepositions with a revolution underway. The Tyiok family (a pseudonym) with whom I'm staying seems worried about last night's events, but by daybreak Ms. Tyiok had returned to her job at a hospital and the clerk at a grocery store where I buy crackers greeted four American visitors with her usual smile.


  1. I hope the State Dept is making sure you all are safe.

  2. I've been thinking of you with Kyrgyzstan in the morning news every day! Good thing your corner of the country seems relatively unaffected. Keep posting those pictures too. Take care! Ana

  3. Good to hear from you. We have been thinking of you since the news broke. Will continue to check in.

    Take care and keep writing,
    Ellen and Paul

  4. Good to hear you are doing relatively fine.
    All the family here is concern about you... we know how things work in those circumstances....
    Please take care. un abrazo Tia Kika

  5. As avid listeners of the BBC news we first heard of the uprising from our bedside radio on Tues. nite. Half asleep I strained my ears to make sure I was hearing right...Kyrgystan...Ben just taught me how to pronounce that word when I met him jogging down our road a couple wks ago. I have been following the news closely ever since and have been thinking about you and worried for your safety. Charly, equally concerned but commented that for a journalist you are in a prime spot to see and report on whats happening. Thank you for your email and keep us informed. Be well.

  6. Keep your head down, man.

  7. Just heard about the happenings there.Good that you are in a safer area.Just give them a bar of goat milk soap and they will not bother you.
    Take care.
    We will be thinking of you
    The Beans

  8. Thanks, friends! We are safe and sound somewhere in Kyrgyzstan -- more so as of yesterday. Let's just say the hot buffet and portable toilets are appreciated, even if they come a little early into our service.

    On a more somber note, the staff here is thinking of people across the country grieving loved ones lost in this week's violence. I understand many of the mourners came together in Bishkek yesterday in a show of solidarity.

  9. The Mantle would love to post a "Letter from Kyrgyzstan" if you're game. See - contact the Editor, (me), Shaun - shaun(at)

    Thanks and good luck!