25 June 2010

A man is burned alive

I'm going to alter my normal formatting for this post to put this warning at the top, and embed the video below, in hopes that everyone will read this text before clicking (or not clicking) on the video.

The video comes from the Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan conflict area.  It is low-resolution (probably camera phone), but sufficiently clear to show a man being burned alive after having been soaked with some flammable fluid.  This event takes place in a street or plaza with a group of people standing by, watching, and seemingly cheering.

I'm not going to identify the Kyrgyz-or-Uzbek affiliations of either the perpetrators or the victim.  To my mind that's not the important take-away message.  I've tried to do a little reading (maps here) about the Kyrgyz/Uzbek conflict, but I can't hope to understand it well.  The knee-jerk explanation of events like these is that they are the result of "ethnic tensions," but I think we grossly oversimplify world geopolitics by using that phrase, because many of these wars/conflicts arise from simple economics, greed, political power moves, resource access etc., and although different ethnicities may be evident, they have probably coexisted for generations and have no reason to fight now until/unless some other trigger was activated.

In any case, the important thing to know about the video is that it is ruthlessly and disturbingly graphic.  Decide for yourself whether viewing such an event is appropriate for your mindset and your emotional well-being.

Video source link. Via Reddit, where there is a discussion thread.


  1. The only person I could imagine dousing in fuel and setting on fire is a person who did douse someone else in fuel and set them afire.

    It's seemingly two people set on fire by the way. How far we can sink with so little provocation is horrifying.

  2. Registan.net's one of the best sources of news and analysis about Central Asia. The author of this post is a grad school friend of mine who specializes in Uzbekistan and Uzbeks in diaspora. Truly horrifying stuff.


  3. Saw this disturbing video yesterday, and had to turn it off. It leaves you with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. It rendered me rather despondent for quite some time.

  4. I especially liked the Hero who came up at the last minute and kicked the burning man. I can't imagine looking at myself in the mirror ever again after doing that. Isn't bigotry great?

  5. I decided against viewing the video. I wonder how many others chose to do the same (or is the macabre pull too strong?)

  6. Mike:

    It wasn't easy, but I decided to view the video, for various reasons.

    Your insinuation that those reasons include some "pull" to the macabre is extremely insulting.

  7. After view the video here, I can think of two reasons for the inaction of the crowd. Either the individual (and JD, I agree that it COULD be two people, but it could also be only one as well, along with something else) was attempting to commit suicide, or it was a crowd of inhuman bastards, and that individual who ran in and gave that final kick was far lower than a snakes belly.

  8. Thanks for the warning, Minnesotastan. I decided not to watch.


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