Friday 15 March 2019

Beyond Samarkand

I wrote this piece with Steve Swerdlow for Los Angeles Review of Books.


Yesterday, it rained forever; today, the mud is deep and treacherous. We’re in Uzbekistan, two years after the death of the dictator.

It took us about a half hour to drive to this small village from Qarshi, a district capital in the south of Uzbekistan, a small city with a big reputation as a military and security services stronghold. That’s after a three-hour drive from Samarkand and two-hour train journey from Tashkent. This place is not exactly the end of the world, but it is pretty remote – the next-to-last exit on the road to Afghanistan.

We’re getting a bit lost in the warren of sloppy dirt roads in the village, our phones have no signal, and in the low mist and gloom of a freezing November morning, it’s impossible not to think back to where we were just 36 hours before.