Friday, January 20, 2006

Coca the Dove

Russia won't be put on trial for Chechnya - a column by Leopold Unger

from Gazeta Wyborcza, Warsaw

Leopold Unger 15-01-2006, last update 15-01-2006 17:16

There is no such address in advertisements and travel brochures. This is not Thailand, where the memory of the tsunami has become one of its tourist attractions. Chechnya is a country and nation that have disappeared from our TV screens, and that means from our conscience.

Chechnya has returned to our screens, probably for a short time (whether to our conscience, it remains to be seen). The film is called "Coca - the dove of Chechnya", was made by Swiss director Eric Bergkraut, and its pre-premiere took place in the presence of Ms Zainap Gachayeva, a 52-year-old Chechen woman who has been living in Moscow. It was she who gave this film its title, - because "Coca” (the dove) is her Chechen pseudonym.

The movie is the diary of this Chechen woman’s struggle to film, preserve and later show to the West the truth about this terrible war and the fate of her nation, which as French philosopher André Glucksmann says, has been "buried alive". Ms Gachayeva hopes that this document, which has been made at such cost - also in human life – "will become evidence at a court trial, after the creation of a tribunal to judge the crimes committed in this war by Russians and Chechens.”

Ms Gachayeva is deluding herself. There will be no such tribunal, it might never be created... It's not even needed – there are enough tribunals in the world. After all, we already have the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the OSCE in Vienna, the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, etc, etc. It's true that the latter was particularly discredited and ridiculed, when it allowed Libya to chair it. These three and all other similar organisations are able to exist and have as their main goal the defence of human rights, they are all paid and live well from our taxes, and they all shed tears over the fate of Rwanda or Guantanamo. Also, as soon as Chechnya is mentioned, they are all paralysed and unable to solve the tasks for which they were created.

Of whom and what are we afraid? Of a Russian invasion? Of blackmail, which calculates that if the West takes a closer look at Chechnya then Russia will leave the anti-terrorist alliance, or refuse the sale of some gas. That's a joke. We need Moscow just as Moscow needs us. We buy gas, Russia buys Boeings and airbuses. The Kremlin always retreats when its adversary will not. How can this be? Victor Yushchenko stood up to Russian blackmail; Putin blinked before the Ukrainian, but all the planet's democracies together are unable to withstand the Kremlin's stare?

Dear lady, dear dove, please don't delude yourself, today no one will take Putin’s Russia to court, and no one is able to. Above all, they don’t want to. They don’t want to abandon this state of mind which a historian calls “an era of blinded indifference", they don’t want to quit fleeing from the truth, to stop what someone has described as a "crime committed with common premeditation". Dear lady, there is no lack of new laws and special judges, but there is a lack of statesmen, of intellect, dignity and courage. And also of honour.


The dove from Chechnya

Europe in Denial of a War

A film by Eric Bergkraut

Her parents called Zainap Gashaeva "Coca" - the dove. Born in exile in Kazakhstan, she became a business woman and reared four children. Zainap has been documenting what have become daily events since 1994: abduction, torture, murders.

What has been declared an "anti-terrorist operation" by President Putin has taken on features of genocide. Up to thirty percent of the Chechen population may have been killed. The world is looking away; be it out of ignorance, helplessness or opportunism.

Together with other women, Zainap has been hiding hundreds of videotapes. She is now bringing these tapes to Western Europe to serve as evidence so that the guilty - on whichever side - are punished. Is she tilting at windmills?


Die Taube aus Tschetschenien

Europa und sein verleugneter Krieg

Ein Film von Eric Bergkraut

„Coca" nannten ihre Eltern Sainap Gaschaiewa - die Taube. Geboren in der Verbannung in Kasachstan, wurde sie Geschäftsfrau und zog vier Kinder gross. Seit 1994 dokumentiert sie, was in ihrer Heimat täglich geschieht: Verschleppung, Folter, Mord.

Was Präsident Putin zur "antiterroristischen Aktion" erklärt, hat Züge eines Völkermordes angenommen. Bis zu dreissig Prozent der tschetschenischen Bevölkerung könnten getötet worden sein. Die Weltöffentlichkeit schweigt, sei es aus Unwissen, Hilflosigkeit oder Opportunismus.

Zusammen mit anderen Frauen hat Sainap Gaschaiewa hunderte Video-Kassetten versteckt. Jetzt will sie diese nach Westeuropa schaffen. Sie hofft, dass es zu einem Tribunal kommt und die Schuldigen bestraft werden – auf welcher Seite sie auch stehen. Ein
Kampf gegen Windmühlen?


La colombe de Tchétchénie

L'Europe renie une guerre

Un film de Eric Bergkraut

Ses parents l'appelèrent „Coca" - la colombe. Sainap Gachayeva est née en exil, au Kasakhstan. Devenue femme d'affaires, elle éleva ses quatre enfants. Depuis 1994 elle documente les maux que son pays subit au quotidien: les enlèvements, la torture, les meurtres.

Ce que le président Poutine nomme „une action antiterroriste" a pris les traits d'un génocide. Près de trente pour cent de la population tchétchène pourraient avoir péri dans cette guerre. Le monde se tait, par ignorance, impuissance ou opportunisme.

Sainap et ses amies de combat ont caché des centaines de cassettes vidéo. Elle a décidé de les transférer en Europe occidentale: Elle espère en un tribunal qui punirait les coupables, de quelque bord qu'ils soient. Se bat-elle contre des moulins à vent?

(via Marius)
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