On the evening of the 7th July, exactly 3 months after the terrible events in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Open Central Asia Magazine hosted a splendid evening to raise money for its own offices that had been looted during the rioting. Some 50 guests enjoyed a fine Central Asian menu at the Pasha restaurant in Camberwell, as well as entertainment from Central Asian Musicians.
In his speech, Nick Rowan, Editor-in-Chief of Open Central Asia magazine, highlighted the opportunities that now presented the Kyrgyz people to take the lead in realising the potential of this small nation in playing a significant role in the geopolitical future of the region. The Kyrgyz Ambassador, His Excellency Kuban Mambetaliev, offered his condolences after the events and expressed his good wishes for the work that Silk Road Media has carried out in the region. A final, heartfelt, speech by writer and head of the BBC’s Central Asia service, Hamid Ismailov, called for generous donations and announced the donation of two computers for the office.
The entertainment offered varied from the traditional to the modern. Razia Sultanova offered a taste of the dhutar, a traditional Uzbek instrument. Sardor Mirakojaev offered a delightful set of classical Uzbek numbers before Sabina Saidaminova performed for the first time some more modern pieces that would have had Simon Cowell reeling. Doniyor Ismailov played wonderfully the classical music.
The event was attended by no fewer than ten different nationalities, with representation from all five Central Asian states. The evening closed with a raffle of excellent prizes, including a hamper donated by Nelson Thornes, and some traditional dancing. In all over twelve hundred pounds was raised and this will go a long way towards restoring operations in Bishkek and ensuring the good work ok Silk Road Media continues.