Friday, March 5, 2010

Protesting the Protest

Earlier this month my counterpart turns to me and tells me that the following Friday I must turn off my phone for an entire day in protest of rising prises for calling units. I resisted the urge to say, "you're kidding me, of all the problems that people face here, Kyrgyzstan is protesting the rise in price for talking on their cell phones?"

I wanted to ask her why they didn't protest last fall when all of southern Kyrgyzstan was without gas, which I would like to add is our main heat source for cooking, for a month because the gas company had fallen US$2m behind in their gas payments to Uzbekistan?

Or what about the fact that on January 1st this year, the coldest time of year, the electricity prices DOUBLED. And still we have regular power outages and electricity cuts from midnight to dawn every day?

Or what about the time honored tradition of bridekidnapping?

But I resisted and I guess at the end of the day its easier to protest a rise in cell phone prices than it is to fight such over whelming battles against machines that don't want to change. That Friday I tried calling my counterpart, just to see if she was really protesting...she picked up.

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