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The Kyrgyz Republic is twenty years old, and the anniversary merits a celebration. Whatâ€™s more, The Times of Central Asia (TCA), the newspaper that I am proud to have founded more than ten years ago and published through today, is part of Kyrgyzstanâ€™s history. This book is not only my opinion and experience but also a travel through national events as I have witnessed them during my more then sixteen years in the Kyrgyz Republic, and how they have been covered by TCA.
From my point of view, the country is still in search of a proper identity and the right governance. The Kyrgyz deserve much more than what has been given to them by their own leaders and politicians; the rule of law is still far from being implemented and prevents the country and its wonderful, multiethnic people from achieving a peaceful and dignified state of living.
It is not easy for a newspaper to stay alive for more than a decade in Central Asia. The technical and financial problems are relentless, and the external pressures are at times immense. My succinct review of the last twenty years is not only the story of the republic and TCA, but also my experience in Kyrgyzstan starting from my first visit in 1994. In reproducing some of the previously published TCA articles, I have tried to fill in the gaps with the mood of these years and the atmosphere that prevailed â€“ sometimes great optimism, more often, perhaps, pessimism â€“ and the way our paper commented on those events.
This book is very much a personal view of the period, with my reaction to what transpired, and particularly in the field of economic development and investment, that which did not happen. In addition, it contains my opinion on several issues and scandals that unfolded during this period which has seen two revolutions, three Presidents, and a multitude of disappointments. I have done this mostly through a selection of the articles from the column â€śPoint of View.â€ť This column has been written regularly for the paper since 1999, when I launched the publication, then and today the only regional weekly English newspaper of Central Asia. I am very thankful to all TCA contributors and employees for their research and support; without them, this book would never have been published.
In Kyrgyzstan I have passed through a myriad of varying episodes and I have greatly enjoyed the country and the people. I have learned a lot in dealing with people of different cultures, but with some surprise and not great joy, I have found myself on various occasions as part of the story.