Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kyrgyzstan: Sorrow and Loss - a grandfather's story

Source: Refugees International (RI) - Refugees International advocates, Dawn Calabia and Maureen Lynch are currently in Kyrgyzstan following the violence that began in June. This is the story of one Uzbek grandfather they met who survived the attacks.

We heard gunshots and shouting.

I sent my daughter and grandchildren out the back door and I went to the bathroom to look out the window. I saw a tank and cars with armed men, some with rifles, and others with axes and pieces of metal.

They broke open my gate and shots were fired. They began looting my house of furniture, dishes, carpets. Then they set my car on fire.

I became frightened.

I went out the back door and up onto the neighbor's roof. Shots were being fired. I saw that there were snipers firing from a multi-story apartment house across the street so I did not go on the street but kept to the roofs until I was away from the scene.

I stayed at a friend's house and the next day when I returned I found that everything was destroyed, burned. I had sold a van recently for a lot of money and I was retiring from my construction work and was planning to do some traveling. The money had been hidden in the house but it was burned up along with everything else.

I have only the clothing on my back.

I am seventy-one. I had made this a nice house for my daughter and my grandchildren to live in, now what will we do? Why did they do this? What did they gain by destroying everything? I remember 1991 when this happened, but it didn't really affect us here in Jalala Bad and anyway, we thought those times were gone.

We need peace; we need help to rebuild our houses. This is my country, my ancestral land. What is left for us? I do not want revenge-- I just want to live to be respected in my country.

Please tell people what happened here.