Archive - April 12, 2021

A Writer Writes — “The Cotton Trenches of Uzbekistan”

A Writer Writes — “The Cotton Trenches of Uzbekistan”

    by Beatrice Grabish Hogan (Uzbekistan 1992-94) Dispatch from Uzbekistan’s cotton campaign November 1993   On the fifth day of barf (Tajik for “snow”), the troops surrendered. The war, a.k.a. the cotton harvest, lasted eight weeks this year and yielded (only) 87% returns. I had watched my students pile into a 25-vehicle motorcade and wind around the mile-long university boulevard amidst handkerchief waving and cheers from teachers and other onlookers. Two days later, much to the horror and surprise of my women colleagues at Samarkand State University, I joined the students’ work camp. On October 5, I arrived at the collective farm called Guzelkent, about 40 kilometers outside the city limits. The place was a collection of brown-streaked, whitewashed houses made of mudbrick, rising like Oz out of acre upon acre of cotton fields. It was a scene framed by purple mountain peaks and a flawless blue sky. At . . .

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