Written by Said
Are The Times Really A-Changin ?
No Plugging The Leak, No Taming The Monsters...
Just over the last decade, to name a few of the major ones, there was Kuwait
and Iraq, then Bosnia, then Rwanda, then Angola, then Kosovo, then Ethiopia, then Sierra
Leone, then East Timor and now Chechnya. The rampage and the rage continues, stopping
momentarily in one location and erupting in another location, like volcanoes and
earthquakes rumbling round the earth, sometimes repeating itself in the same place, but
always killing, maiming, brutalizing and causing miseries untold. Some have been loose for
centuries already, some just starting to wake up, some just waiting to blow hot again. God
knows when and where the next monster will rear its vicious head, even before some of
these are put back to their reins in ancient caves.
The entire population of Chechnya, today,
has been branded a terrorist and is getting a beating of bombs and mortars from Russian
forces who could only kill fleeing women and old people and babies barely out of their
cribs, not one or two, but in hundreds by the day. The Chechen resistance fighters are
waiting it out in the hills and mountains of Chechnya, knowing that they are of no match
to the modern techniques of marauding bombers from the air, but that when the fighting
buckles down to eyeballing each other, then they are ready for the long haul.
This war, that Russia claimed was provoked
by the bombing of civilian buildings in the heart of Russian cities allegedly by
terrorists believed to have originated from Chechnya, seems everything but an honorable
In the first place, Chechnya does not have
any need to provoke Russia and gains nothing from such a provocation. Just before this
war, it already was enjoying an existence that was more than autonomous since it
successfully resisted a Russian onslaught in 1996. And indeed Chechnya denies that it has
anything to do with the Russian city bombings. To date, Russia still does not have any
evidence pointing to anything Chechen about these bombings. The sheer size of the blasts
and the necessary logistics to prepare such devastation, not just one but at least five,
could not have easily been done by rag-tag terrorists from a distant place without
alerting Russian military authorities about it. And even if Chechens were indeed trying to
start a war with Russia, why target the civilian populace, especially the depressed areas
which more likely would be housing the likes of them, poor immigrants and the
underprivileged, and not some strategic military installations? On the contrary, prior to
these blasts, the Russian media was actually a-buzzed with rumors and speculations about
some drastic actions that the Yeltsin government was planning in order to take back the
political initiative and strengthen its sagging popularity.
excerpts of a dispatch by a German journalist reporting from Russia in early December
1999, and clear-headed enough to call a genocide a genocide:
RUSSIA'S MORAL BANKRUPTCY
by Florian Hassel (GNNS)
MOSCOW - Igor
Malashenko, chairman of the broadcaster MediaMost, ... last week, ... appeared on his
company's radio station Ekho Moskvi to assert: "Just as five years ago, the war in
Chechnya is not being conducted as a military exercise but as a political one... Its true
aim has little to do with priorities in Chechnya itself. The central goal of the campaign
is power in Russia, leading all the way to the Kremlin."
In Russia, Malashenko is
not just a company director. He organized Boris Yeltsin's 1996 campaign so successfully
... (that) Yeltsin offered him the job of boss of the Kremlin administration. Although
Malashenko declined, he has ... retained his position as one of the most
influential members of Russia's political elite.
Normally, remarks such as
Malashenko's would be immediately snapped up and run by other media outlets, but not this
time...all the Moscow papers were silent, as was the leading Russian press agency,
Interfax....(preferring) instead to relay Yeltsin's declaration on the "successful
conclusion" to the (Chechnya) war's second phase and heap praise on the "heroic
Russian Army" in their "battle against international terrorism".
warmth" will soon burn in Chechen houses, said Czar Boris..."the terrorists have
left a completely burned land behind them" and destroyed the tiny republic's
infrastructure. Here, Yeltsin and his army chiefs employ an age-old tactic: tell a lie
often enough and it will be believed.
Unfortunately, the West
has shown itself incredibly receptive to Russia's one-sided reporting of this horrendous
war of destruction... calling it an "internal matter for Russia"...The stark
fact of the matter is that Russia is committing genocide in Chechnya.
Under international law,
the definition of genocide is quite clear: it is ... committed whenever a national, ethnic
or religious group is destroyed partially or completely, dispossessed or forced to flee,
when its members are deliberately killed or subjected to severe physical or mental
All these criteria tally
with Chechnya... The Chechen genocide is no more Russia's "internal affair" than
the Serb genocides in Bosnia and Kosovo were Belgrade's. ...
former human rights commissioner, Sergei Kovalyov - one of Russia's few remaining
liberals, he resigned because of Russian behavior in the first Chechen war - has called
for the imposition of a range of sanctions against Russia. His proposals include its
suspension from the Council of Europe and the recalling of Western (government)
ambassadors from Moscow....