Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, July 10, 2006

Shutting Down Uzbekistan

In last June, I got this email from a friend:
3:15 am Saturday morning.
Kids are dressed. Bags are packed. We're off to the airport.
Goodbye Uzbekistan.
I've held onto it until today, when I received confirmation that he and his family were safe (relatively) in Turkey. Safety is key for him, his family and the Uzbek friends left behind because my friend is a Christian missionary. In the time he's spent in Uzbekistan, he and his wife have been able to bring a few people to the Christian faith, at great risk to all involved.

Things started getting tense a few months ago, when the government of Uzbekistan began systematically denying non-governmental organizations (NGOs) permission to operate in their nation. After a summary, one-sided court hearing, his NGO was closed, his visa revoked, and he was given a few days to sell his belongings and get out of the country.

Uzbekistan's leaders are shutting the doors on outsiders with outside ideas. They are putting a lid on eyes that may watch and tongues that may talk, and are taking the nation back to a classic Islamic totalitarian state.

By booting my friend and his NGO, they also booted the medical organization that served as a cover. That organization was achieving marked success in improving the health of a segment of the Uzbek population that now will go back to the old way of suffering and early death.

All in the stubbornly close-minded name of Allah.

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