Looking inside the Dordoi bazaar

by Philippe Rudaz

Stuck between China and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan is located in one of the main arteries of globalization. The Dordoi bazaar in the outskirts of Bishkek is absorbing all kind of goods, most of them from China, and reselling them to Russian, Kazak and Kyrgyz intermediaries or retail clients. The bazaar is a giant maze, made of approximately 40’000 containers with alleys that can stretch along 1 kilometer. Continue reading

Altyn Saat – The Social Life of Gold Watches in the Afghan Pamirs.

by Tobias Marschall

The “Seiko Panj”, as Afghans renamed the quartz wristwatch produced in Japan, is sold cheap on Afghan markets. “Seiko” stands for the Japanese manufacturer and “Panj”, the Persian word for five, hints to the five years guarantee logos that accompany the product. “It was hip to wear one ten years ago,” as an Afghan friend told me, “now, everybody has a Seiko Panj in Afghanistan.”  Continue reading

IS in Central Asia: A Myth?

by Gulrano Ataeva

Gulrano AtaevaSince I hail from Osh, which is known as one of the most religious cities in Kyrgyzstan, the news stories about hundreds of men and women from Central Asia leaving for jihad in Syria make me wonder what these news stories have to do with my own city? Since Central Asia is repeatedly portrayed as a fertile ground for religious extremism in both local and Western media, it is worth to have a look at how Islam is actually lived by those who are too often collectively suspected to conspire with extremist movements such as IS. Continue reading