Unintended Information

Every so often, I’ll visit the websites of newspapers published in other countries, just to get a flavor for what’s considered news in other places. The “snark” one finds in some of these newspapers is on par with Fox News, though the topics run far afield of anything Fox would produce. A day or two ago, I opened the site for the Moscow Times, an English language newspaper published (as one would guess) in Moscow, Russia.

A leading story dealt with the flourishing fashion industry in Uzbekistan, now that the former darling of the nation’s fashion industry, Gulnara Karimova, has disappeared from the industry. Karimova, known best in the industry for her eponymous luxury brand of Guli fashion accessories, is said to be under house arrest on suspicion of involvement in organized crime and corruption amid rumors that suggest she is a key figure in real estate and money laundering schemes. Though she has not been formally charged, those in the know are certain she will be.  However, rather than prison time for her misdeeds, it appears the Uzbek parliament is working overtime to make house arrest, rather than prison time, an option for persons convicted of crimes that “do not present a great danger to society.”

The fact Gulnara is the daughter of Uzbek strongman president Islam Karimov adds strength to the speculation that the amendments to the criminal code are being prompted in connection with her detention. I mentioned snark earlier. The Moscow Times report makes heavy use of such phrases as “the disgraced daughter of strongman leader” in its reporting. I wonder where the paper falls, politically, in relation to Uzbekistan and its leadership? 😉

What attracted my attention to the article in the first place, though, was not the detention and rumors surrounding the house arrest of Gulnara Karimov. Rather, comments about the resurgence of the fashion industry in Uzbekistan piqued my interest. I had no idea, did you?

I learned, on further reading, that the industry in Uzbekistan is in a growth mode and proudly pronounces that much of the best  products are made from pure silk from the cocoon.

According to the article, sourced from EurasiaNet.org, “Many designers source their silk from the celebrated Yodgorlik factory in the silk-weaving center of Margilan in the Fergana Valley, where sericulture – the rearing of silkworms and production of silk – has been practiced for well over a millennium.”

Looking at the CIA’s World Factbook information on Uzbekistan, I learned that the country is eighty-eight percent Muslim, mostly Sunni, and that the CIA classifies more than fourteen percent of the adult population as obese.  Hmm. I wondered what the CIA would say about the percentage of the US adult population classified as obese; thirty-five percent. We (and I mean I) have some work to do. As to religion, the CIA claims the vast majority of us are Christian; only sixteen percent identify as unaffiliated or having no religion.

All right, now that we can see some comparisons between Uzbeks and us, I wonder about causation. Is it the religion that causes the obesity, or is it the obesity that causes the religion?

I think a story about an overweight Uzbek fashionista taking the US fashion industry by storm may be in the offing. She feels alone and abandoned among the majority-sleek Uzbeks, but she will feel solidly aligned with more than a third of her new countrymen, which will make all the difference in her life.  Plus, she’s bringing silk back into the US fashion mainstream. How could that be bad?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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