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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Dr. Khassan Baiev on the Beslan Tragedy

This is what Dr. Baiev, a Chechen surgeon who worked in the frontlines of both Chechen wars, has to say about the tragedy of Beslan. While there are some inconsistencies in the article,- for instance, ex-Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent the troops into Chechnya in 1994, not 2003,- a lot of points Dr. Baiev makes certainly make sense.

I am not sure why Dr Baiev refers to the latest events as "the recent 10-year war with Russia". I believe for three years, between 1996 and 1999, there was no active warfare and Russian troops were not in Chechnya. However, there was never real peace, and Chechnya, destroyed in the first war, was never rebuilt and remained a violent and lawless land. However, Dr Baiev is probably right when he writes,
I fear for the future of Chechnya - and of Russia, too - as President Vladimir Putin vows to place his country on a wartime footing against terrorism. Violence begets violence. If there is no peaceful resolution to the Russian-Chechen conflict, terrorism is likely to increase. More young women will strap on suicide belts, women who are not the puppets of Middle East extremists but mothers, daughters and wives driven mad by loss. Increasingly Chechnya will become a cause for extremists who have declared war on the Western way of life.

Dr Baiev is Chairman of International Committee for the Children of Chechnya. He is also the author of The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire.

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