Let's try it in the key of 'E'

Owing to vast cultural differences, the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan wouldn't seem to be a place where rap musicians could find much of an audience. But that hasn't stopped a group of human rights activists there from appealing for their help in a campaign to oust the US military from an air base that supports anti-Taliban operations in neighboring Afghanistan. The base isn't popular with a wide segment of Kyrgyz society, and anti-American sentiment peaked after the shooting death of a Kyrgyz truck driver two years ago. To the activists' chagrin, however, their government has tuned out all demands that it order the Americans home. So what next? Well, the antibase movement has come up with a new strategy – a prize for the best original protest song. It will, spokesman Igor Trofimov announced, hold a contest that's open to "rockers and rappers," and the winner will perform his or her composition at a mass demonstration outside the base. The payoff: $200. Then again, it could be as much as $1,000 if the judges are absolutely blown away by the effort. Alas, entrants are going to have at least two challenges to overcome. One will be to work the name of Trofimov's group – Sergius of Radonezh and Manas Generous – into the lyrics. The other? Finding words that rhyme with Kyrgyzstan.

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