Tajikistan: Beating the US

One of the most discussed topics in the Tajik blogosphere recently was the loss of the US U-17s to the Tajik team in the Under–17 Football World Cup.

Although the Tajik players then lost to Belgium yesterday, I want to extend my congratulations to this young team. Many people are surprised in US and ask questions like: Where is Tajikistan? Do they play soccer (football)?

And there are people overseas who know about this mysterious country:

I was in Tajikistan when they qualified, and none of my Tajikistani friends knew anything about it [the qualification]. Even the soccer fans knew nothing, though they could all comment in depth on the Russian and English leagues’ news at the time. I'm very interested in knowing how this is often being received there.

The FIFA ranking seems off, too. Tajikistan has improved significantly since the civil war ended in 1997. They're just about at the point where they could contend for the “octagonal” in Asian WC qualifying. Of course, that in part is a commentary on how poor Asian soccer is.

Those who need details about this match, click here.

Two bloggers made a link to my post about Chinese construction workers and their hunger for turtles in Tajikistan. One came from Ian, our friend from Beyond the River , while the other is from Bonnie Boyd's great Foreign Policy blog. They even noticed a political implication in turtle eating.

I hesitate to draw any strong inferences from what amount to rumors and perhaps unfair stereotyping, but I do think there's a point to be made here: As China's influence in the region continues to rise, the Chinese could face a backlash if they don't tread very carefully.

Ben links to a post on the Russian website Webpark.ru with pictures of a crashed plane AN-24 with the logo of TajikAir on it. I don’t think that it's been a photoshop gig.

This is surprising, as I’ve never heard anything about this crash but it does not mean that there was no news about it in our local media. I guess the administration of Tajik Air will be upset to see the pictures of this plane spread on the Internet. They never reveal any information about Tajik Air planes flying somewhere in Africa rented by African companies. So, here is the evidence!

Madina at neweurasia and a dude at Delhi Planet discuss the new amendments made to Tajik law on media where Internet is going to be put under the control of the state.

Delhi Planet says:

Imagine being put behind bars just because you made a mistake in one of your articles published on the internet. This ruling is surely gonna give all the journalists and bloggers in tajikistan many sleepless nights.

Madina says:

Does this mean now that journalists will be prosecuted for the job they do? I hope not. Otherwise, Tajikistan will gradually take one of the first places in the world among the countries with the lowest level of freedom of speech and get the lowest human rights indicators which in its turn will result in the decrees of the investment flow as well as the overall image of the country.

The other widely discussed topic in the Tajik and Russian blogosphere was the execution of a Tajik and a Dagistani in Russia by neo-Nazis and the video they spread in the Internet. Probably this was the most discussed topic in the Internet about Tajikistan but I did not want to put it on the first place in this roundup.

According to Yandex, the Russian bloggers were extremely interested in this topic. The Tajik perspective on this issue was given at VatanWeb (rus). Those who can understand Russian and Tajik should go read a post with more than a hundred of comments.

And for sure, you should read my post about the execution and all the responses from different perspectives that it collected.

Jamiyat reports that Islam Karimov during the SCO summit raised concerns about huge hydropower projects that Tajikistan is going to realize with the help of Russia and Iran.

Karimov was straightforward and made it clear that water is life and that it is worth struggling for. I hope he is not planning to fight Tajikistan for water. The edited version of this post to be found at neweurasia. And BajaeNergy gives a good information about the rich water resources of Tajikistan.

The water and border issues between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan worsened bilateral relations in all spheres. I think the problem that Joshua Kucera had while obtaining a Tajik visa in Tashkent is somehow related to this…

All the various times I had to visit the consulate, wait for a couple of hours, only to be told to come back the next day, or that I had filled out a certain form wrong. The consulate was a terrible scene. Every day there were between 20 and 50 people waiting for visas, and there was no line and no organization.

Recommendations: Avoid getting a Tajik visa in Tashkent.

1 comment

  • I don’t think a physical struggle was meant in the speech of I.A.K., don’t worry :D.

    It is a problem which can be solved through negotiations, which will not be easy for both sides.

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