"One on one with a world that does not want you"

The one-year anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya's murder took place over the weekend. Yesterday, the New York Times passed along a report from her old paper, the Novaya Gazeta, that Russian prosecutors know the identity of her murderer, but have not yet arrested him. They do not, reportedly, know who ordered the killing.

PEN has been following the case since the news first broke, and, in December of last year, held a tribute to Politkovskaya called "The Writer's Conscience." There, Katrina Vanden Heuvel read a piece titled "Conversations in the Kitchen" from a collection of Politkovskaya's writing translated by Alexander Burry and Tatiana Tulchinsky and called A Small Corner of Hell. In "Conversations," Politkovskaya talks with a group of women in Grozny enduring the second Chechen war.

Here is the end of that piece:
The women at the table do not cry, although they would like to. You rarely hear crying in Grozny. They've all cried their eyes out long ago. Whether or not a woman cries indicates how long it's been since she returned to Grozny from the refugee camps.

Outside, it is dark and quiet. Even the dogs haven't been barking for a long time.

Somewhere far off, there is a glow from sporadic, noiseless bombing. It resembles thunderstorm lightning a bit. After midnight, the armored vehicles start screeching again. Everyone bends down and hunches over, making herself smaller. Is it coming for you?

In five minutes, there's a feeling of relief. It's not for you. The armored vehicle rumbles past.

"This is what we've come to: we're glad it's for someone else," Fatima concludes.

It's five hours until the next blockade dawn, and we need to survive them. This is a very intimate affair. You survive as you are born, alone. You need to part company, so you can lie down, close your eyes and remain one on one with a world that does not want you.
Listen to the rest here, and read more of Politkovskaya's writing here.

1 comment:

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