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A HISTORY WRITTEN IN CHECHEN BLOOD

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  • ummyakoub
    A HISTORY WRITTEN IN CHECHEN BLOOD Khassan Baiev, Washington Post, 2/24/04 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A802-2004Feb23.html Yesterday was
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2 7:50 AM
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      A HISTORY WRITTEN IN CHECHEN BLOOD
      Khassan Baiev, Washington Post, 2/24/04
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A802-2004Feb23.html

      Yesterday was Armed Services Day in Russia, so, of course, there were
      observances in Moscow. But yesterday also was the 60th anniversary of
      a Soviet crime perpetrated against the Chechen people -- and, of
      course, there was no official observance in Moscow. In fact, a
      proposed ceremony was banned, and the small number of people who
      nevertheless gathered to solemnize the event were dispersed by the
      police. But the past will not be so easily dispersed -- it must be
      dealt with if there is to be a political settlement of the cruel
      Chechen conflict.

      The crime was Joseph Stalin's deportation of the Chechens on Feb. 23,
      1944. This event is to Chechens what the Holocaust is to the Jews or
      the genocide is to the Armenians. That day, when Stalin packed the
      Chechen population of 1 million into cattle cars and shipped them to
      the wastes of Siberia and Central Asia, lies in our collective
      memory. One-third of the population died on the journey. Many others
      perished under the harsh conditions of exile.

      During Soviet times, the deportation was a taboo subject, talked
      about behind closed doors. As a small boy, most of what I learned was
      from old women gathered in our kitchen. Once, when they thought I
      wasn't listening, I heard my mother tell my sisters how women were so
      ashamed to relieve themselves in the railroad cars in front of men
      that they held on until their bladders burst. Only when I was 14
      years old did I understand the true horror of what had happened. That
      summer my father showed my twin brother and me the cliff near our
      ancestral village of Makazhoi, over which troops of the NKVD (the
      secret police of the time) pushed resisters, including some of our
      relatives...

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