Have altogether been feeling pretty dreadful about Chechnya. Partly because I’ve been reading Åsne Seierstad’s Angel of Grozny but mainly because of the murder of the Human Rights activist Natalya Estemirova last week. There have been loads of eulogies to her in the IHT over the past couple of weeks – I found this one quite moving.
‘She wandered the ruined republic wearing a skirt, blouse and heels, lipstick on, carrying her purse and presenting a straight face, perhaps warmed by a slight smile, to masked gunmen and victims alike. She could seem as proper as a chief librarian, ready to add to her archive, both on paper and in the mind, which revealed the Chechen wars for what they really were. How did she dare?… She was, improbably, a one-woman parallel government, providing services that the real government was unwilling to offer. She found the incarcerated. She hunted for hidden graves. She built cases against perpetrators, even when she found, as she often did, that they wore government uniforms.’
In the wake of her killing (probably at the hands of the Kadarovski the armed police force of Chechnya’s Russian puppet dictator Ramzan Kadyrov) Memorial, the human rights organisation she represented, have now pulled out of Chechnya, which I think will effectively end independent reporting of this kind from Chechnya. Somehow I don’t think Gordon Brown’s TED vision for connected digital technologies linking up with human consciousness to create a global society can really apply without people like Estemirova. Fact’s are subversive, but they are also ‘expensive’.
I have been trying to find a nub about Chechnya, but annoyingly there isn’t a great deal out there – the silent video I have posted here, is the nearest nearest thing I could find. I guess technically it’s nubaganda, but as everything pretty much checks out with Estemirova’s reporting, I’d rather call it a teachnub.