Frontline World

KYRGYZSTAN - The Kidnapped Bride, March 2004


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Kidnapped Bride"

INTERVIEW WITH THE PETER LOM
Marriage by Abduction

PHOTO ESSAY:
On the Roof of the World

FACTS & STATS
Economy, Government, Bride Kidnapping

LINKS & RESOURCES
Society and Culture, Women's Rights/Human Rights

MAP

REACT TO THIS STORY
Should the international community intervene when cultural traditions clash with modern notions of women's rights?

   

Photo Essay: The Mountains at the End of the World



Ringed by snowcapped peaks thousands of miles from the nearest ocean, an aging, Soviet-era beach resort sits along the sandy shores of Lake Issyk-Kul. In the summer months, vacationers arrive from all over the region to enjoy the blue waters of the world’s second-largest high-altitude lake.


An Uzbek WWII veteran, who fought for the Soviet Union, proudly displays his medals. Most Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan (they comprise 14 percent of the population) live in the southern city of Osh and neighboring areas. Numerous conflicts between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the past decade have created a degree of ethnic tension.


A colorful bus stop resembles the unique domed shape and embroidered wool design of a kalpak, a traditional men’s hat whose look defines Kyrgyzstan.


On a major country road, vehicles share the right of way with herding cattle. Animal husbandry has deep roots in the country; meat and wool production still make up a large share of the agricultural economy.


Osh’s strategic importance along the ancient Silk Road trading route remains evident in the array of colorful and fragrant spices displayed in the city’s teeming bazaar. The free-market atmosphere of today contrasts with Soviet times, when goods were price-controlled and sold mainly in government stores.


A modestly dressed woman purchases goods from a newsstand kiosk displaying risqué magazine covers. The more conservative traditions governing sexuality in Kyrgyz society, along with a renewed attraction to more fundamentalist Muslim values, conflict with a climate of growing modernization.

 

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