Festival welcomes all who survived riots

Looks like there’s a party going on in Central Asia!

Kyrgyzstan’s southern oblasts are wrapping up the celebration of a goodwill initiative titled “There’s Enough Happiness for Everyone!”

(With a name like that, you just know it’s going to be a success, right?)

The event, which runs through today, began June 21 with a concert in the capital city of Bishkek’s Old Square, according to the press office of the State Directorate for the Restoration of the Cities of Osh and Dzhalal-Abad.

As part of the celebration, government officials, foreign and domestic journalists, performers, youth activists, volunteers, civil society representatives and business leaders have visited Osh and Dzhalal-Abad oblasts.

The two cities were rocked last June by riots between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that killed up to 2,000 people, wounded thousands more and left more than 250,000 displaced.

Festivities have included a day of volunteer work to help restore the two cities, tours of buildings under construction, visits with citizens and leaders, a release of balloons bearing messages of peace and friendship, and a chance for children to draw on the streets.

Despite the initiative’s silly name (Instead of “There’s Enough Happiness for Everyone” how about something like “There’s Enough Bread for Everyone”?) there’s still likely to be some hard feelings.

Ethnic tensions between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, exacerbated under Soviet rule, have apparently been continually swept under the rug by Kyrgyz leadership, which has found political stability elusive.

A few days of singing the Kyrgyz equivalent of Kumbaya may be a nice gesture, but it’s not going to go far toward getting to the bottom of the problems plaguing the former Soviet republic.

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