In a fiery response to accusations of insensitivity, Ornery replied: “Flubug is known for its welcoming attitude, but let me be clear on this: these folks are weird. They’re criminals, most don’t know English and their customs are downright bizarre. God only knows what they’re plotting in there!”
It all began with a State Department decision to allow Uzbek felons to be exchanged for select Guantanamo detainees. Since then, Down County has been inundated with hundreds of Uzbeks who’ve clustered around the Naf Ta Inn. On any given night their fires and temporary encampments can be seen from the Nafta Superhighway and have been a bone of contention with local residents.
“If the government wants ’em,” says Gabby Hindes, nearby resident and home schooler. “Let ’em have ’em! Either that or ship ’em back to South America where they came from.”
When handed a map of Uzbekistan, Ms. Hindes remained unapologetic. “Same difference.”
At the groundbreaking ceremony Uzbek leader, Vilca Duofka, hinted at renovating the club (recalled by most as the abandoned Elk’s Lodge on Old Road) but stopped short of anything like a commitment. “We are not these men of the night, as some suggest. It’s true we have no women, but that will change. When the women see our hard work and painting they will know we are a people who need to dance and sing.”
His references to dance and song recalled an earlier promise that “Vlady the Wolf,” the famed Uzbek lounge performer who once sang with Perry Como in Rhode Island, would be among the first to make a scheduled appearance. During that performance, Duofka relates that Como and The Wolf sang a mournful rendition of “U Slotvy Dashu” (My Little Furball) to a previously-enthusiastic wedding throng who, according to Duofka, left “without a dry eye in the house.”
Barring any permit infractions, The Uzbek Social Club will be open every day of the year except Salim Abduvaliyev’s birthday, observed by most Uzbeks by hiding valuables.