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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

32CSM Urges Russian Government: Recognize Chechen Independence

Sean Burns, 32 County Sovereignty Movement • 5 September 2004

It is very difficult to put into words the feeling of sheer devastation at the loss of life regarding the Beslan school siege. For myself, the scene of running half naked emaciated children running from the scene reminded me of similar TV images from the Vietnam conflict or archive footage of holocaust victims. Going by the reaction of ordinary people, many feel the same way and express confusion at how anyone with a conscience could possibly inflict such pain upon perhaps one of the weakest and most innocent sections of society.

If we so wished we could perhaps limit ourselves to voicing condemnation at the perpetrators of such acts. Comfortably convincing ourselves that those who do such things are simply 'murderers' or 'evil people'. However, if we did this I feel that we would be not only failing ourselves but failing all those who are victims of such events. Fundamentally this limited view brings us no closer to understanding how and why ordinary people (those with families, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers - those who love and are loved in return) can be driven to carry out the most horrible of deeds.

What was obvious amidst the explosions and gunfire of Beslan was that the Chechen fighters who came to spill their own blood (and the blood of others) on Russian soil were desperate. Indeed this was something repeated a number of times in coverage provided by the western news media, unfortunately it was little elaborated upon.

The reality of life for the Chechen nation is in itself desperate. One woman hostage who struck up a conversation with a female militant in the Moscow Theatre siege said that through her she learned of the terrible atrocities committed by Russian troops in what they called 'cleansing' operations. She spoke of summary executions, the abduction, rape and mutilation of Chechen women, of whole families being butchered by drunken special forces or 'Spetsnaz' troops. The female militant said to her that "either we die here in Russia, or we die in Chechnya" finally commenting that at least to die in Russia would mean the world would take notice.

The tactic of the Chechen resistance appears to be one of turning the Russian homeland into a parallel version of Chechnya, a place where death stalks the land and life (no matter how innocent) has little or no value whatsoever.

We here in Ireland, and throughout the history of our own struggle, have probably no experience of the intensity and savagery of such a conflict. But we can understand how the brutality of an enemy in its own perverse way brutalizes and dulls the nobler aspects of our human nature. For the pain and suffering we ourselves witness, we can at times be filled with such an anger and frustration that we wish it sevenfold upon those who inflict it.

Like all such conflicts the heart of the problem lies within the institutions of a state that deems it necessary to deny the reasonable and just demands of an oppressed people. Instead, as Russia and its president Vladimir Putin acknowledge, to recognize these demands would portray 'weakness'. Therefore the only way to measure 'strength' in their minds is to make sure that their hands reek of the blood of the slaughtered.

Hopefully, one of the positive things to come out of the carnage of the last few days will be that the Russian electorate may finally feel the imperative to deny control of their country to successions of 'Russian Strongmen'. In Putin's live address to the Russian nation it was interesting to note that he talked of "the difficulties of reform" and the "problems encountered in establishing Russian democracy" - failing to note with any irony that he himself is one of the biggest obstacles. The Russians need a government that can establish true democratic institutions and at the same time understand and deliver upon the democratic wishes of the Chechen people. This will be the only guarantee of a safe and peaceful existence for both nations.





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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

6 September 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Not In Our Name
Fred A Wilcox

Child Murderers
Anthony McIntyre

32 CSM Urges Russian Government: Recognize Chechen Independence
Sean Burns

Who is Really to Blame?
George Young

Resistance, by ANY Means.
David A' Gardner

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

Fairy Cleansing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Culture of Lies and Deceit
Liam O Comain

Labour Steps Up Pressure on IRA to Disband
Paul Mallon

30 August 2004

The Knackers Yard
Anthony McIntyre

Spin Cycle
Mick Hall

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

32 CSM Pays Tribute to Memory of Republican Socialist Volunteers
Marian Price

Let Them Stay
Davy Carlin

"Fine Words"



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