Friday, September 03, 2004

I was too overwhelmed with all the baby images to pay much attention to this piece of news:

Two journalists, Anna Politkovskaya and Andrei Babitsky, have not been able to make it to the town of Beslan today.

Politkovskaya landed in Rostov-on-Don and was hospitalized with an acute poisoning there - lost consciousness, was put on IV and all - someone must have thrown something nasty into her airplane meal to prevent her from unearthing the more profound reasons why a tragedy similar to 10/23 has happened again. Politkovskaya is an amazing person who has a long long history of pissing off the regime and everyone else involved with her stories about Chechnya, in which she really manages to show all sides of the story: corrupt Russian and Chechen officials, poor Chechen civilians, Chechen thugs and kidnappers, sadist Russian soldiers, poor elderly Russians in Chechnya, miserable and underfed Russian conscripts, etc.

Babitsky is a Radio Liberty correspondent; at the airport, they started by searching his bags for explosives, didn't find anything; he was released after an hour and a half, but then two guys tried to pick up a fight with him and he was detained again; allegedly, the guys later told him they were the airport employees and had been ordered to provoke him. Babitsky also has a good deal of Chechnya-related notoriety with this regime (it's 3:30 am here and I'm too lazy to try to remember what happened to him a few years back when he was kidnapped and then exchanged, something very murky, I need to go back to some of my notes to remember; but what I do remember is his confrontation with the late Akhmad Kadyrov during a live political talk show shortly before Kadyrov's death this year: in that episode, Kadyrov revealed himself as a very dangerous man as Babitsky was recounting his experience among the Chechen fighters somewhere in the mountains... I know I'm not making much sense to anyone but myself - but I also know that all this stuff that I'm writing here is more like a personal diary than anything else... It just feels nicer when I can pretend that someone hears me screaming.)

Anyway, these two journalists have been barred from entering the scene - and no one seems to have noticed. Even I have almost missed the significance of it.

There must be a million things that they are willing to hide.

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