Welcome to Tajikistan in 2010: can the search for truth be unethical?

Is corruption or survival the elephant in the room in Tajikistan?  Image by Flickr user David Blackwell (CC-usage).
Is corruption or survival the elephant in the room in Tajikistan? Image by Flickr user David Blackwell (CC-usage).

Editor’s note: neweurasia readers will already be well-acquainted with the ongoing Roghun project and the controversy surrounding it, as well as the news, announced first by our network, of a massive lawsuit by a trio of judges against a trio of independent newspapers. neweurasia’s Averroes sees a potentially serious ethical conflict between the government and press in Tajikistan and wants to know your opinion: whose side is right?

Imagine if you were the government of one of the world’s most economically vulnerable countries. Every winter millions of your citizens go cold as nearly limitless hydro-electrical potential goes untapped. Developing this potential would require an engineering feat.

Determined to rectify the problem once and for all but with little support internationally, you embark upon a radical course of action: compelling your citizens, 60% of whom live below the international poverty line, to hand over their personal savings for a massive fund dedicated to the construction of hydroelectric dam.

Now imagine if you were this country’s media. Everywhere you look corruption is to be found, especially in the judicial system, among those who are supposed to protect the nation from exploitation. You support the hydroelectric project but you can’t trust the government’s claim that the fund will only be used for the purposes of construction?

Welcome to Tajikistan in 2010. The country is in the grips of a drama with ethical significance for the larger journalistic world.   We here in neweurasia have been very critical of the Roghun dam, but we want to hear your opinion. 

Should the government of Tajikistan have a carte blanche to do what is necessary to save the physical lives of their people?  Should the independent media of Tajikistan uproot every possible act of corruption to save the country’s moral integrity?  What is the most ethical thing to be done here?  Leave a comment below!

[Correction 16.03.2010: This post was incorrectly filed under “Schwartz” due to a technical error.  We apologize to our blogger for the problem. ]

1 Comment

  1. Some people believe that our country will one day be prosperous. I am one of these people. However, I also believe that it will never develop with this regime of bandits at the steering wheel. I have interacted with a lot of rich and influential people of South East Asia, Middle East. They are ready to invest money into any project in Tajikistan, especially the Rogun Dam. But, they didn’t become rich and influential by chance. They know that investment into Tajikistan is a fool’s dream. The problem being that the Top Family wants to control everything and have a slice of every pie baked within its national boundaries. Keeping aside all the politics, the government could invite any willing foreign or, keeping in mind the tales about the fabled riches of the Top Family,local investor to build the dam. Make it a jointly owned company with a 60% share of the Government. Put in a clause – The private company/corporation has the use of the Power Plant for 10(requires calculation) yrs, during this time it is to recover the investment+ earn a profit. After this period the power plant will be completely transferred into State ownership. However, our Top Brass lives only for today. They do not think of tomorrow. And they rightly do so. They know that their chairs are quite wobbly and can collapse at any minute. They can’t afford to wait for 10days, let alone 10 years. Who knows what will happen then? I’m sure that if, hypothetically, The President’s (or any ministers’ /Governors’/ politicians’)car breaks down in the middle of a desert and he will be dying of thirst, not one person will give him water to drink and will look onto at him dying there like a vermin with a sense of deep satisfaction.
    I personally do not understand such a lust for money. Yes, we all need money to live. I, like everybody else, would like to have enough money to live comfortably. I support most western billionaires – they live and let other’s live. They do a lot of charity work. I do not understand what Rahmon will do with all the money he is making (not earning.you work hard in order to do that)? I for one think that 1 million USD/EUR is more than enough. Such a sum is a wealth re-generator. It can be invested or just deposited into an account and a family can live comfortably on the interest generated. So, why, then, these people want to make hundreds of millions or even billions at the expense of other people? As far as I know, we come naked into this world and go out naked with nary a cent on our person. Do these people think that once they are out of power, someone will permit them to just live and enjoy the money? Wasn’t an example of Gaddafi a good one? Where was the Jamahiriya leader found? Where did they find the person who was reputed to have about 20 billion usd in his name, which he earned by making his people suffer? Why, they found him in a sewer. Even 20 billion greebacks didn’t help him to stay alive. He was shot out of hand like a rabid dog.
    Please don’t get me wrong. I myself would also have made a small amount off the country, if I were in our President’s place. Who wouldn’t? But would I make an obscene amount of money knowing that every winter my country is shuddering from cold? No. Would I allow my son to act like young master Rustam does now? Never. I would send him out of country on a small allowance so that he doesn’t humiliate my name. Would I allow my daughter to coerce other businessmen and dominate business? No. I wouldn’t allow the first and would ask her to work towards dominating national business fairly using only commercial methods. Would I be afraid of going out for a walk in the street and have countless snipers on the roofs along the path? No. I would take my billions and “make like wind and run”. Because if there is a danger of being killed in my own house, I don’t want to stay there and be killed at any moment. As i don’t really work, which can be seen by the level of development of my country, it means i am doing something else. Maybe this something else is a jigsaw puzzle. And i really want to see what picture turns when i put all the pieces together. Thus, i really would mind being shot in the head before finishing my puzzle. The logical solution would be to flee the country before the people start to revolt and close off any exit routes.
    From our trips to a doctor, we all know that most of the treatments for diseases are painful. An injection is painful, a tablet or syrup is sour. Thus, treating a country from a cancer will need some endurance from our people. There will be a revolution. Innocent people will probably suffer. But is it not better to suffer hard for a year than suffer these bandits forever?

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