From now on you will know fear..
Musing after the Moscow bombings.
Moscow is in mourning. The names of those who died in the metro bombings are published and their families are promised compensations. People donate blood, bring flowers, prepare for funerals. Russian government speaks tough, promises to 'scrape the terrorists from the bottom of the sewers' (for some strange reason Putin cannot rid of sewage in his references; he started his presidency by promising to 'wet the terrorists in the toilets' and now he still scrapes the sewers- MS). There are talks about special, accelerated way of prosecution, talks of special laws and issuing a Bio Id cards for all Russian citizens. Other countries, including the US express condolences and solidarity. We are all Russians now, said one OEN author in his article. Chechen separatists acknowledged their responsibility; the war on terror is afoot.
I sympathize. I am horrified. But I also remember. In the early 1970s I was a teenager and we lived in the city of Kiev, Ukraine. I remember that I was rather funny, optimistic boy who loved to play chess and walk around the city alone. I remember that I was not afraid and laughed a lot. That's when I saw Baby Yar, the place where Jews were massacred in the German- occupied city in 1941. It was a barren ravine at that time with a lonely stone in the middle.
-It was a bright, sunny day, just like we have now,-said the man who brought me there.
- Jewish people were told to go by foot to this place,-he continued,'-so they went down the streets- men, women, children; other citizens- they just stood there watching.
-They stood there watching? Did they cry? Did they do anything at all to protest?
- No, they just stood there. Some even booed. It was like an entertainment to them.
Entertainment. At that very moment an eclipse took place over my head and the whole terrain went dark. It was for the first time when darkness crept into my heart and I felt hate. It was not anger; it was something much more sinister- I wanted them all dead. I wanted my smiling neighbors dead, their kids dead, their dogs dead. At that very moment I would have poisoned their water supply if I could. And if you are a teenager when it happens darkness never leaves you. It accompanies you to the adulthood. So easy it was to avoid it. If only they could tell me that every year they prayed in the Church to atone that day. Or that they made that day a day of silence. Or that they defined that day as a day of decency in memoriam of that unbelievable barbarism. But nothing like that took place and hate never went away. It paired with disappointment: nobody cares.
The Soviet Government declared the Revolution to be the birth of the one new nation out of about 100 nations and nationalities of the Empire. Internationalism was the pillar of the new order; the Communist anthem is called "The International.' It was proclaimed that from that very moment on the vast terrain of the former Empire, the "prison of nations' all people of all origins would be totally equal and treated the same. It was proclaimed that the dignity of a citizen was as sacred as the fate of the state and that everything in the state's activity, whether economical or ideological had a purpose of making an individual citizen happy and secure. ALL citizens were proclaimed equally precious and no one would go away abused or disillusioned; that we all were one big family. That's what was proclaimed. And then I found out about the entertainment. Nothing changed. One group was spared; another led to slaughter. That's how it was before, how it always was, how it always will be. Nobody cares. It was all a lie.
Nobody cares. In 1980s we first heard about the massacres in the Karabach region of Armenia and in Sumgait, Azerbaijan. Armenians were killing Azeris and vice-versa. There were unbelievable atrocities: people dragged out of their apartments, burned alive, children slaughtered, women raped. In the country which officially proclaimed the brotherhood of all people such behavior seemed grotesque. Hope was still alive in my soul and I expected a swift reaction from the government accompanied by the total outrage of the people. I expected a mass troops interference, declaring martial laws on those territories, strict investigations, trials. We had the best army in the world after all. I expected mass demonstrations expressing support for all innocent victims, offers of shelter, permanent relocations, safe passages, compensations. I expected a mass response; blood donations, volunteers, etc. Nothing like that happened. During the atrocities only local troops were engaged; no mass operations were commenced. The government officials declined to acknowledge the scale of the events and stuck to "the actions of some bad apples' theory. There was no outrage; people continued their business as usual; you could have a situation when in one part of the country there would be bloodshed and in another one there would be a wedding season. The very fabric of the international state was torn into pieces; everyone was for himself again. The ghosts of the Caucasian 50 years' war, the deportations of the 30s and 40s, the purges, the resettlements, the abuse, the deceit- all those messengers of the Apocalypse suddenly re-emerged and became driving forces. Disillusionment and Disappointment very quickly transformed to Desperation and Hate. Thus when the first Chechen war took place and then- the second one- the Chechen rebels for some strange reason turned out to have the modern armory, some of which was not yet delivered even to the Russian Army. I wonder how many disillusioned souls sold themselves for money to steal those armored vehicles from the Russian military plants, to deliver the tools of death to the enemies just due to rage, hate, total 'pofigism'- who cares? Russian Empire betrayed its minority citizens like all Empires did- and those betrayed resorted to violence as their last resort. Or at least they thought that way. The true proper approach would be quite the opposite-to seek even stronger alliance with the equally abused and oppressed Russian nation, to acknowledge that they all were in the same boat of misfortune- but that approach was carefully hidden from the people by the forces of evil both in the country and from abroad. No one gave a damn when I was leaving the country for good in 1989 and no one gave a damn that with me thousands of Armenians and Germans were leaving also. If only there were people out there standing in front of the airport asking us not to leave we most likely won't. But there were none. And many of us left and many of them grew up in disillusionment and became suicide bombers. Those girls who blew themselves up in the Moscow Metro they were very young. Someone else, cold-blooded and cold-hearted used their emptiness, their tragedy and their helplessness and transformed them into a deadly weapon. Fear was the only message they were to deliver and deliverance did take place.
We here risk the same thing. Our country more and more becomes a bogey-man of the world. In the far corners of the world people quickly get disillusioned. Imagine yourself an Afghan farmer boy or a Pakistani youth who celebrates a wedding with his family. Suddenly a horrible machine of death, a drone appears out of nowhere and kills everyone around you. Imagine it kills all your family. And then imagine that someone shows you how the good people of America build those machines of death and celebrate Christmas. Just imagine the rage. Imagine what kind of a deadly weapon we here unleash upon ourselves by doing what we are doing regularly-abusing the people of the world. And we here beat ourselves in the chests and shout that 'we do not apologize?' The time for apology had long gone, people; it is the time for atonement if there is still a chance.
Why don't we mourn? Why don't we mourn the Wounded- Knee massacre and the Mai-Lai killings and Philippine carnage or even Kent shootings? Why don't we mourn Waco, TX atrocity like we mourn 9/11? Those were our people, our citizens who perished in that fire. Why don't we mourn? Why is that we have all those Holocaust museums dedicated to the events which happened not to us but we ignore our own atrocities and our own injustices? WHY DON"T WE MOURN THE NUCLEAR BOMBARDMENT OF JAPAN? We did it, our people "did the Devil's work' and now we are genuinely surprised that some people want us dead? What's so surprising?