Natan Sharansky: Stop ‘Slandering’ ‘Courageous’ Uzbekistan

Natan Sharansky, author of The Case for Democracy — which President Bush has said he read with admiration — certainly can’t be accused of consistency. When confronted by Pat Buchanan on the kind of “democracy” he envisions for the Palestinians, Sharansky balked:

“BUCHANAN: Mr. Sharansky…

SHARANSKY: We appeased Yasser Arafat.


SHARANSKY: And then we are paying price for this.

BUCHANAN: If you believe in democracy…


BUCHANAN: …that much, would you allow the fate of the settlers in Gaza…


BUCHANAN: …to be decided by all the people of Gaza?”

Sharansky paled, and muttered that the Palestinians are out to “destroy us.” If the case for democracy in his own part of the world is vague, at best, it dissolves into mist when it comes to Uzbekistan, however. The Forward reports Sharansky’s outlandish praise for the regime of Islam Karimov, the mass-murderering dictator of Uzbekistan:

“In an interview with the Israeli daily Novosti Nedeli last August, Sharansky said that terrorism threats were a reminder that Karimov’s uncompromising stance against extremists was justified, according to the BBC monitoring service.

“‘The Uzbek government adopted such an uncompromising position because it is understood in Tashkent, in the same way as Jerusalem, that the battle against terrorism is not some sort of tribal conflict; it is a world war of the forces of democracy against international terrorism,’ Sharansky was quoted as saying. He added, ‘It goes without saying that the strengthening, development and defense of democracy in Uzbekistan are an important part of the struggle for human rights all over the world. However, it would be a mistake to believe that the democratization process could be speeded up by way of slander and defaming the courageous struggle that Uzbekistan is waging against terrorism.'”

That was before Karimov the Crazed ordered his troops to mow down over 1,000 protestors in the Uzbek town of Andijan last month. However, The Forward reports that, in the wake of the bloody slaughter carried out by the “courageous” Uzbek regime, “Sharansky could not be reached for further comment.”

Will this phony icon of “democracy” even bother to retract his fulsome support for what has proved to be one of the most odious governments currently in power?

Don’t hold your breath….