Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kyrgyzstan part I: A special guest and common values

After I visited Russia, I visited the republic Kyrgyzstan. Many probably remember the country from the bloody conflict with the Uzbecs shortly after a sort of revolution made an end of a dictatorial regime. I was asked to give a training about the basics of Christian Democracy to the leadership of a new party called "7 April" (referring to their revolution last year) and to an informal group with Christian representatives of NGOs and journalists.

I arrived early in the airport. After I arranged the visa an picked up my luggage, I went to the exit. There to my positive surprise I was not only welcomed by our contact person Asel but also by representatives of the party. I was brought to the American pension, got a few hours to sleep (I arrived six in the morning after crossing some time zones) before the training would start.

When I asked about the current situation in Kyrgyzstan, they answered me that the situation is quite but not all stabile. Spring is always a period when riots can start. It was just a bit more than a year ago that there was a war and riots. The country is in a transition period and there will be new president elections at the end of the year with expected new parliamentarian elections as well.

After some hours of sleep, I was invited for lunch in a typical Kyrgyz restaurant. It is interesting to see that the country with mostly Asiatic looking people is on a crossroad and have many influences of the former Soviet Union (most of the population speak Russian, there are still statues on prominent places of Marx, Engels and Lenin), Asiatic and European influences. The home-made pastas and spaghetti were the nicest I ever ate, people very friendly and hospitable. An interesting habit was that I was asked all the time to sit on the head of the table as a special guest.

I gave a course about the basic principles of human dignity, how to build a party structure and about party democracy. It was encouraging to see the involvement and reactions of the people. Someone said that this was alike water put in the dessert. After all the changes last year it was necessary to discuss about these basic principles. It was interesting that most of the participants were from Muslim background (the biggest majority is Muslim in the country) but the basic principles like human dignity were quite accepted and we had many constructive discussions about this topic.

I put an accent of the importance of the freedom of religion as well: that human dignity push us not to persecute anyone based on religious motives and the necessity that Muslims and Christians should live together peacefully. In the evening during the dinner, I explained more about the Christian faith and the basics of Christian values.

It was encouraging that many of the values were also shared by Muslim brothers: especially the respect for the family, protecting of life and the promotion of human dignity. The party was not completely new but already had a candidate for the last elections. They are small but fast growing and focused on building up the party constructively. They have a realistic vision for their future, were quite pragmatic about their ideas.

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