More than a week had passed, and still Andrew Stroehlein waited
. On December 13, the communications director at the International Crisis Group (ICG) penned a detailed letter
to Gulnara Karimova asking the daughter of Uzbek President Islam Karimov to respond to allegations of torture, corruption, and worse in Uzbekistan.
During a long and sometimes heated exchange
on Twitter, Karimova had promised that, if presented with detailed data, she would respond to the charges.
Two weeks, no response, and a flood of Instagram glamour shots later, Stroehlein's patience apparently ran out.
almost instantly, but not to the litany of charges of abuse by the government. Instead, she posted four images of the e-mail exchange between her and Stroehlein from December 13 in the interest of "transparency" as she called it. She still has yet to respond to the ICG note, but the exchange between the two is interesting. Read the full exchange (as released by Karimova) here
. Below are excerpts.
On December 6, Stroehlein wrote
In short, labels like "dictator's daughter," "most hated person in Uzbekistan," and others are difficult to avoid internationally, because you are a recognized face associated with the government. These labels leave a stain on every other activity you engage in abroad.
The first option would be to distance yourself from the state symbolically and substantively....The second option would be to promote yourself as someone trying to reform the government from within the system. To do this, however, you would need to show real results on the ground -- political prisoners released, freedom of expression respected, children not forced into cotton fields each year, etc. Your new willingness to engage your critics is interesting, but no one will think it means real change unless there are results within Uzbekistan.
On December 13, Karimova responded -- although Stroehlein claims he never received any such thing -- with a long e-mail detailing her many humanitarian projects.
If you would analyze my work and projects you could see that all of them are very logically fitted in one line worth to be trusted in....I work firmly and gradually building projects that I have chosen outside of any state programs and so on (without state financial aid even for functional part of Fund Forum). I try never to get involved in something I don't know well about or don't have professional interest in.
I believe in civil society and in changing mindset of people on all levels and all age segments. A lot can be done in any free society by consolidating thoughts and activities of people through NGOs and other organizations from the bottom up. Most of my projects are built through the needs of women, farmers, small business and kids education and creativity.
Regarding your ideas I think that I do try to make a difference every day of my life as you said: "to show real results" on the level of my work....Nevertheless for some reason you are trying to put on my shoulder "reform the government from within the system", which is very much new offer and responsibility for me!
She then adds:
On your line about my "now willingness to change your critics" and surrounding by "yes men" I could just smile as I always look for different colors around me, different way of expression around us and there is nothing "new" in willingness to communicate and hear different opinions also as long as it's going with open ears from both sides.
I appreciate your openhearted letter and points in it. I'll give it a thought, but also will try to translate your topics into exact activity I am interested in and spend most of energy of my life.
Judging from the most recent exchange, it's unclear whether Karimova thinks her initial response is enough. What is clear is that Stroehlein doesn't think so.
-- Zach Peterson