There’s no such thing …

April 5th, 2017 Sections: News

There is an old adage that “there’s no such thing as bad news …” – but although publicists might argue the point strongly, not everyone would agree.

Kyrgyzstan is not often in the news … and, most of the time, we (those of us working in tourism and eager to attract visitors to the country) would be more than happy to see items featuring the country – if only to get the familiarity and name recognition that such articles would bring.

Yesterday, however, we awoke to find a less than welcome story in our news feed …

On the April 3rd, in Russia’s second city, St Petersburg, a suicide bomber exploded a device in a subway, killing some 14 people and injuring dozens more … not to mention the damage and chaos caused.  A second bomb was also discovered.  At first we were told that the perpetrator was from Central Asia … and an easy feeling began to enter our consciousness: “… could it be? … could it possibly be?”

Yesterday we woke to be greeted by the revelation that, “Yes, it was …”; the suspected bomber turned out to be someone who, (although he held a Russian passport and lived there for many, many years), was originally from Kyrgyzstan.

Details were given by the Russian authorities, confirmed by the Kyrgyz security services, and headlined by news agencies around the world … naming the suspect along with photographs and other ancillary details.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time such a thing has happened … although the bombers who created carnage and havoc at the Boston Marathon (now the subject of another Hollywood – to use the word in its widest sense, meaning the film industry in general – blockbuster) were Russians from Chechnya, they spent several years while growing up in Tokmok – about 60 kilometers East of Bishkek.

Maybe I am just being despondent, but I fail to see how a marketing mogul could possibly say that this doesn’t represent ‘bad news’ … how they could ‘spin it’ in order to cast such a news item into a positive light and turn it into ‘good news’.

Perhaps it is too early to see if the news will bring a backlash against Central Asia in general, or Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz in particular, but I suppose that we have to prepare for the possibility.

It is sad to think that the actions of one individual – OK, maybe a small group of individuals – committing a criminal act that is intended and designed to bring about death and destruction, injury and mayhem, chaos and fear, can result in consequences for thousands, (no millions), of other people whose only ‘guilt’ is one of association in some way with the perpetrator.

The innocent victims of this man’s action are not just those who happened to be the subway at that fateful moment …

Those victims caught up in the actual events will have experiences and traumas which are particularly severe, dramatic and immediate … but there are also those, (who might, in other circumstances, be classified as ‘collateral damage’), who will also suffer … simply as a result of prejudice based on an association.

Sadly, this ‘knock on effect’ is presumably something that the terrorist wanted … to introduce more uncertainty and instability into society (… isn’t that the implied in the name given to this particular type of criminal act – terrorism).

Fortunately, the news reports and analysis, (at least, in the coverage that I have seen, so far), has avoided the temptation to stereotype based on the identity of the perpetrator … but, instead, to concentrate on the heroism and stoicism of those directly involved in the immediate events.

So, it turns out to be ‘unwelcome news’ if not exactly ‘bad news’.


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