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Uzbekistan: Domestic violence, a prison for Uzbek Paris Hiltons and “Iran, go home!”

Women are often treated badly in Uzbekistan and domestic violence has unfortunately become a part of normal life in many families. The worst thing is that people are getting used to it, thus creating a big chance for domestic violence to develop into a kind of tradition in Uzbek culture. The role of women and how women are treated in Uzbekistan was raised by Uzbekistan Womens Blog (UWB) in two posts.

The first post is about Mehriniso (RUS), an Uzbek woman with six children (the eldest is 16 and the youngest two years old), who killed her husband and was sentenced for twelve years of imprisonment. The reason for murder was that her husband was unemployed and drank a lot. Being drunk, he often used to beat her and their children, calling it an “educational process”. Unlike most women, Mehriniso approached the problem in a different way that turned out to be fatal for her husband.

One day, her husband came home very drunk, which was usual for him. Barely passing the entrance, he began cursing his wife. Thinking that the “educational process” was not finished, he beat Mehriniso and the children. The wife ran off to another room crying. She was crying and asking herself why she deserved such a fate. Soon enough, she could hear her husbands snoring from another room. Mehriniso quit crying and started looking around until she saw a kitchen knife…

Interestingly enough, the article does not judge Mehriniso or her husband. The article accuses the society which nowadays often neglects such vital problems as domestic violence, and quotes a famous publicist:

Do not be afraid of your enemies. At most, they can kill you. Do not be afraid of your friends. At most, they can betray you. Be afraid of indifferent people! It is due to their silent indifference that the worst things happen in the world.

The second post is a letter from a reader of UWB (RUS), where she tells about the life of a woman with little twin children, who left her husband and house, and had to move to another city. The reason was that her husband didn’t work, drank a lot and beat her. This woman deserves admiration, as not many women can dare to leave their husbands, as it is considered to be against the traditions.

In sharp contrast to the stories above stands Gulnara Karimova, a daughter of president Islam Karimov. The blog For Free Journalism discusses (RUS) the personality of Gulnara Karimova that is becoming an image of deity among the youth. According to the blog, this is due to the government controlled media that is portraying Gulnara Karimova as an idol.

The press in Uzbekistan does not speak about how Gulnara Karimova seizes businesses from entrepreneurs and illegally takes control over profitable companies. It only tells what a beautiful and successful businesswoman she is and how she is so kind that she offers grants to the youth. Gulnara, of course, understands that 60% of the population in Uzbekistan is youth. And it is this youth that can help her achieve her goal.

The blog does not clarify what Gulnara Karimova's goals are, though it can be assumed that one of her goals is to replace her father – Islam Karimov, as the president of Uzbekistan.

The blog Civil Society of Uzbekistan writes (RUS) about a meeting of the international project “For the defense of society”, a project of the World Movement for Democracy, where participants discussed the current condition of civil societies in countries of the CIS and Central Europe.

Uzbekistan was found to be a country where civil society is being squeezed, as there are many cases of “pressing” on journalists and human rights activists, repression of the opposition and religious leaders after the Andijan massacre, and also many international organizations are being closed and it is really hard to get grants and register nongovernmental organizations, etc.

Rowan Wagner writes in his blog about one of the interesting phenomenons in Uzbek culture – “gap” culture, which was also discussed on neweurasia.

Gaps [is] the ancient system of the mahalla or Jamuot (Tajikistan) where selected men would meet to discuss key community issues once a month rotating the place of honor each month, women too would do this as means of keeping informed about other issues such as finding wives/husbands, new births, etc… The practice was expanded during Soviet times to all members of society as means a social cohesion in organized structure such as collective farms or among graduates of schools and universities to maintain the bonds of friendship. My experiences is even today most gaps are gender oriented and built around close friendships from home villages or schools, where people primarily get together and catch-up on the latest news or events that have occurred to the members of the gap.

Jamiyat talks about a prison for Uzbek “Paris Hilton”s.

…a new prison for civil servants with a capacity of 150 inmates was built in Tashkent.

Thus, this category of inmates will be kept away from passing on the national secrets to a “wider public”. Indeed, there should be a lot to keep in secret. Not to forget that one can't put such influential people in cells of Jaslyk. Because inmates there might have either a negative influence, or show no tolerance towards newcomers, who in fact, might have actually put them in these premises.

Besides, one has to secure a better nest, in case things might just go wrong.

Jamiyat also writes about the interesting case which happened in the Asian Football Cup taking place in Malaysia. The young talented Uzbek football player Aziz Haydarov came to the press conference before the match between Iran and Uzbekistan with a piece of paper reading “Iran Go Home”. Jamiyat thinks that the statement of the young football player did not only cause dissatisfaction of football observers, but also politicians back in Uzbekistan.

This mistake was surely also noticed back in Uzbekistan. Because such a statement, in my opinion, in the light of improving Uzbek-Iranian bilateral relations and Western pressure on Iran would sound quite inappropriate and ambiguous of the Uzbek political stance towards this country.

While Jamiyat talks about the possible political reactions to this case, Uzbek football fans are already giving their apologies on the silly action of the Uzbek football player.

Yes, this a fact that our Aziz Haydarov came to the press conference with a piece of paper havnig ‘Iran Go Home’ on it in big letters… He is a very young player, and maybe didn't know what was he doing at that time. So, please accept his apologies dear Iranian friends, I am so sorry for that!

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