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In Uzbekistan, The Kids Are Not Alright

A student purported to be the daughter of an Uzbek prosecutor beats and humiliates a teacher at a university in Uzbekistan.
Corruption in Uzbekistan's education system -- specifically, how teachers and faculty accept bribes to give students passing marks, or even to allow them into schools and universities -- is a trending topic worth watching.

So, too, are the rising number of amateur videos shot from the student POV that provide a rare window into the modern classroom environment in Uzbekistan.

Videos appearing on YouTube reveal that teachers there are contending with an increasingly brazen student body.

One video that has Uzbeks talking right now shows a person who is allegedly the daughter of a prosecutor verbally and physically abusing her teacher.

"Hey, professor, don't tell me what to do. I swear I'll strangle you, kill you here. Get up! Get up, I said!" she yells repeatedly.

As the tirade continues the teacher tries to calm his student by begging, "Please, please, let's talk after class." The girl switches to the rude form of addressing adults in defiance of Uzbek tradition and says, "I don't give a shit about your class."

The teacher attempts to leave the room but is continually intercepted by the young woman.

Another video shows young men waving money (U.S. dollars and Uzbek soms) in the face of their teacher as loud music plays in the room. One young man dances as his friend tries to give money to the teacher, who is clearly aware he is being filmed.

Several times the students try to put money into the teacher's shirt pocket. "He doesn't want dollars. Maybe soms will work" one says. "No, this singer does not sing for soms, give him dollars," another one says. At one point, when the young teacher tries to resist, one student says, "Scatter it on this mother @$*#%*!" as his classmate makes rain.

These videos are being held up as evidence of the impunity children of the rich and powerful believe they are entitled to because of their family connections. Whether this is actually the case is difficult to tell.

But they do show that Uzbek students, armed with cell phones, are in lock step with worrying trends documented in other countries' halls of edification.

Videos of physical abuse doled out by teachers against students have gone viral worldwide (see this example from Russia or this Russian news report of an infamous U.S. case) -- or vice versa.

And now, thanks to the wonders of video voyeurism, we can see that punk is not dead in Uzbekistan either.

-- Farruh Yusupov and Bruce Pannier