Chechnya--a war-torn land
of devastation. At the hands of Russian officials, the Chechen
people are bombed, beaten, raped, tortured and shot. Hundreds
upon hundreds of people have been killed.
The only reason given for the cause of the war is ethnic cleansing.
The Russians want Chechnya without the Chechen people.
Memorial to the victims of
The tension goes back to 1994, the first Chechen war. Russia
wanted control over an oil pipeline running through Chechnya.
When Chechnya resisted, the Russians attacked.
"From 1996 (the end of the first war) till now, we lived
through a period that was neither war nor peace," says Adam,
a Chechen refugee.
People are fleeing the country as fast as possible. There
is no place within its borders that remains safe. The previous
war is looked upon as "paradise" compared to the torment
Refugees travel through the night, many kilometres on foot,
through the snow. When they reach the border, they must hand
over all or most of what they have left to pay for an overpriced
Many refugees criticize the indifference of the West, namely
Canada and the United States. As free people, it is important
for us to inform ourselves of the circumstances of those in other
countries, and to help where we are able. These situations are
also a reminder of the freedom we possess and that it should
not be taken for granted.