In the beginning of the year (2007) I read Akiner’s report on Andijan event. Honestly, I was impressed by some of the facts. The thing is, one reads only two versions of the scenario:
a) Uzbek government is evil, and the rest – innocent victims (thousands of victims)
b) Uzbek government is a hero, the rest – evil (only a hundred-and-something of victims)
Akiner in her report asks herself, why there is such a huge discrepancy between government sources and other NGO sources (HRW, OSCE and etc.)
There is a very good description of an event in Rome when Akiner tries to prove her positions, speaks about human rights organizations acting almost like soviet-style-officials who can’t tolerate anyone who thinks differently. In Registan.net you can read more about it. Very good comments follow the post.
Of course, none of those reports are absolute truths. God knows what the truth is. I am sure if one is going to interview each who has been there, each will have their own version of this truth. It is good to have different versions, the state version (be sceptical!), human rights organizations’ version (still be sceptical!!!!), and Akiner’s version (be sceptical!). I think it would be naive to expect someone to publish a holy truth about Andijan.
There is another interesting article though, written by a former manager of Freedom House Central Asian Programme, Margarita Assenova. It is interesting, because it is written by the Executive Director (herself) of a Washington-based NGO, Institute for new democracies. Usually NGOs write in a different style. She almost supports Akiner, in a way, that she accuses western media reporting for creating a black-and-white picture of Andijan tragedy. Everything that has to do with armed insurgents has been underreported or fully ignored. She makes it clear in her report that “real insurgents have been involved, civilians – used as human shields”.
Back in Uzbekistan, many people don’t know what the Westerners know about Andijan. They didn’t, and I would assume still do not, know, about sanctions. What they know is, “something terrible happened there. Some innocent people died. But who knows whose fault it is. One is for sure, Uzbek government knows no mercy. Maybe this is for the sake of the nation, for its security. But the nation now has to be careful”.