I got out of bed at 6 AM this morning to watch the election results with my colleagues. Turns out I woke up into a nightmare. I haven’t felt this numb in a while. In the midst of all the absurdity, perhaps it was only slightly comical that when it became clear that the poor excuse for an orange spray tan was actually going to win, I ran off to the ATM to withdraw tens of thousands of Kyrgyz soms, anticipating a drop in the value of the US dollar. I’m still not sure if I should be more or less disappointed that the election wasn’t even that close.
I don’t know what more I can add to the many sorrowful, disappointed messages that I saw from my friends on Facebook. Nor am I much of an encourager, so I can’t give a message of encouragement or cautious optimism.
But as a staff member of a Central Asian university with a majority Muslim student body, it’s going to be tough to tell my Kyrgyz, Tajik, Pakistani, Afghan, Kazakh students that there’s a good chance they won’t go to the United States in the next few years for internships, studying, or cultural exchange. That for some reason my country seems to have a rapid, irrational fear and hatred of people like them. They’ve seen white rage in action and they’re only going to learn more and more that the places they dream about- the US, Europe- are pretty damn backwards and maybe no better than where they currently reside. It’s going to be hard when I have to look into their faces when as they realize and internalize all of this.