The Andijon Massacre: Ten years later

May 13, 2015 will mark the ten-year anniversary of the Andijon massacre: the day military troops in Uzbekistan shot and killed over 700 Uzbek citizens gathered at a protest in Andijon’s Bobur Square. Those of you who know me for my writing on Ferguson or the U.S. economy may not know I spent the majority of my academic career writing about the Andjion massacre and its impact on Uzbek citizens. It is important we commemorate this anniversary and do not forget the tragedy of Andijon. In the interest of education, here is a guide to my research on the subject:

Inventing Akromiya: The Role of Uzbek Propagandists in the Andijon Massacre. In this paper, I proved that the group the Uzbek government blamed for the massacre, “Akromiya”, was a fabrication. I also analyzed how the myth of Akromiya was propagated by certain members of the international community. This paper rendered me effectively banned from Uzbekistan, but it has been used in UN hearings and in many asylum cases so I’m glad I wrote it.

Poetry of Witness: Uzbek Identity and the Response to Andijon. Political poetry is extremely important in Uzbek culture. This paper analyzes three poems written about the Andijon events and the arrests of their authors and those who dared distribute them or read them aloud. The cases of these dissident poets touch on a number of theoretical issues—among them nationalism, authoritarianism and literary politics—which rose to the fore as a result of the Andijon events.

A Reporter Without Borders: Internet Politics and State Violence in Uzbekistan. This paper is about the life and death of Alisher Saipov, a reporter who covered the Andijon events for the website and was murdered by Uzbek state agents as a result of his public criticism.

Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan. This policy paper traces the history of internet censorship in Uzbekistan, paying particular attention to the websites that sprung up in the aftermath of the Andijon massacre, which sent so many of Uzbekistan’s journalists into exile.

Digital Memory and a ‘Massacre’: Uzbek Identity in the Age of Social Media. This paper, co-written with fellow Central Asia scholar Noah Tucker, compares online media about Andijon with online media written about the killings of hundreds of Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

The Curse of Stability in Central Asia. This is an article I wrote for Foreign Policy on how “peace”, in Central Asia, is often a form of silencing. It discusses the Andijon massacre as well as other instances of state violence in the region that were covered up by government officials.

Can Minor Languages Make Revolution? This 2014 article is my most recent longform popular work on Uzbekistan, and gives a good sense of where things are at now. It discusses the difficulty Uzbek activists have in using the internet to draw attention to their causes, and focuses on two female journalists whose online hunger strike was completely ignored. While not on Andijon per se, it provides important background information on Uzbekistan.

Where following the law is radical. This article for Al Jazeera details the attempts of a group of Uzbek lawyers to explain to their countrymen their legal rights. It is useful for those seeking to understand the justice system (or lack thereof) in Uzbekistan.

I have written a great deal more about Uzbekistan and Andijon, but those are the most relevant works. You can find the rest of them here and here. I will also be participating in a roundtable discussion on Andijon on May 14 at George Washington University, so if you’re in the DC area, come watch.

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