Karabas’s notes: I hate you, Pinocchio!
Then, in 1990, at the school holiday “Farewell to the abc-book” I was playing as Karabas from tale-story “The Pinocchio”. They promised me to give Buratino’s cap and book. The promise has not been keep. So happens that adults sometimes deceive. And I took a dislike to Pinocchio.
Ten years passed.
March 1, 2000
I envy my brother whom we lost in the first war. Our grandfather says that I am not to use these words. The first war appeared rehearsal, not war. Daily “cleanings”. Today I learned that the best Chechen – the dead Chechen. The concern doesn’t pass. Heart grew dumb with fear. We sit in a cellar. Helicopters treat us with rockets.
March 2, 2000
At sunrise we took packages and run out the village… We have no car since my father died because of road accident. My grandfather stayed in a cellar. In a hurry we didn’t take anything to eat. It is cold, hungrily, terribly. At last helicopters got tired. We could come back to our house.
Barbarians have plundered our houses. They took out everything that counted valuable on their armored vehicles. The rest things were shot, dirtied, broken, they celebrated the need directly on my praying rug Moreover, and they profaned each corner of the dwelling.
We collected products and went down to a cellar. The granddad kept silence
March 3, 2000
My granny died in his dream. Neighbors came and buried him under an apple-tree. Tusik refuses to depart from a sepulchral hillock.
March 4, 2000
The villagers leave their place. We like to invite people for commemoration. There is nothing to feed them. It is shivering. Our souls are too cold. There aren’t tears. I don’t believe that my granddad died. How did he spend the first night under the crude earth? Did Munkar and Nakir visit him – huge black-eyed angels with hammers what none of people are able to shift?
I know my granny will answer all their questions correctly. The just believer will spend days of expectation of the Doomsday in peace and tranquility.
March 5, 2000
Under the screen of night we decided to go to the neighboring village. Halfway. Mother remembered that she has forgotten our passports. There is heavy fire. They aren’t stars falling down. There is killing fire to defeat and a cellar to spend our time. Tusik is waiting for us there.
March 6, 2000
It is necessary to leave. There are a lot of people. Tusik follows us step by step. We go and fall, and get up, and more we fall, then we throw out hand luggage. We help each other. There fragmental wounds and mortal wounds.
They land children and women from cars and take away the wounded. People lose each other in huge crowd.
We throw nobody. Even killed. Heart-breaking crying of children and women. Look for each other. One more dog with puppies follows us. Helicopters hang directly over our heads. Here are rocket and machine-gun attacks. Here are not only sleeves, but also ashes from the silver platter. It is too cold to lie on the earth. Fire abated a little. We rose and continued the way. Hands freeze. Mother asks to take away my notebook and pen. But how will you know how they killed us? People say that the Hawk Female from the Moscow Kremlin threatens to cut down the woods to prevent native fighters to hide. And Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov is put on the wanted list.
A Russian federal Army’s general died because of a heart attack. But I thought in the war beings die only of war horror.
Men don’t pass. They are collected to X-ray in theplots of sites protected with a fence what the local administration has distributed to villagers just before the first war. Our nine-year-old neighbour followed his father, despite the forced attempts of women to stop it. He has lost his lovely mother during the first war.
On a cart, and tractor carriage, and stretcher the chained people lie. On the evening eve they fenced all of us. We hope that fire will abate, and they permit us to go home. There is nothing to plunder. People start destroys a fence to get fires. It is Tusik there! I’ve taken it and press to my heart. We heat each other.
March 7, 2000
Infernal cars open fire and there are only ashes.
Men say that Russia tests some new superconfidential weapon in Chechnya. And women say that fire military criminal elements burn out places they infected with the biological weapon. Chechnya becomes the big range for Russia. At last they allow women, old men and children to be free leaving that fencing place.
“We’ll never do it without our men”, – women declare. What can they do in completely burned village without knights’ shoulders? We nestle to each other, warm at fires, and share our food and clothes removing from ourselves. We interchange the position at fire. Listen! There are hard coughs around. Women sometimes sing abstruse songs lowly, instead of lullabies. Help! It is a great catastrophe because there is no water. At last defenders of Russia integrity allow ten women to go for water. Gunned men check each capacity.
In the face of danger of death all became native. Women left for water were late. Children cried, asked to allow them to meet their mothers. “Nobody more will go for water! ” –a crazy officer shouts. As ill luck would have it, the next attack of the village began. “Here sweets for you! ” -the same madman goes on.
Thirst torments. Cough fists. Fever. I groped in my pocket little pieces of bread. And I gave them to a little boy of the about five-year age. But he presented me a shell slice.
Here are noise, shout.
Soldiers drove six captured fighters who a barefoot. They have been exchanged for the federal colonel. On a face of the weakest we watch a seal of death. He has a gangrene of the left foot. He is too weak to want to live longer. He can’t make a step without somebody’s help. We haven’t even time to feed them. The crowd of fifty-sixty federal soldiers armed cap-á-pie rushes to us. And try to take away these unfortunate ones. Federals surround women and children, having directed on us their weapons, then narrow a circle. Again and again they come back to us. At last they open automatic fire over us and took the captures away. Having seen that one of them is died, soldiers dropped the sick old woman from a stretcher, loaded a dead and carried him away. None they said a word. Probably, they did not have physical forces. We could facilitate nothing their sufferings. Neither tracer bullets nor a cannonade of shelling could kill our humanity. Crowds approached to federal soldiers and asked to give back those unfortunate young men whom they kept in a hole. Suddenly a guy of seventeen years climbed up a wheel of a tractor and cried: “Let’s ask The Lord to help those who remained in the village.”
Someone pulled him down and dragged took somewhere away. Nearby there was a car. There was a dying girl in its salon. “Allah, where have I to bury her? O! Lord, give me mind and reason”, – a woman asked. Perhaps, she was a relative of dying girl, maybe they met in that place in the first time.
The old man – Khamzat (Ruslan) Gelayev’s native uncle died. He was confined to a bed. Some people spoke that before withdrawal from the village that man asked his nephew to visit him. Khamzat answered: “Now I have no opportunity to visit you. Let’s meet in paradise”.
The death not only flies over us like splinters and the fragmentary clouds impregnated with any muck that settles on our clothes. People, cattle come running of the village, perish. Federals mock: “Silly women, Decembrist, staying here because of the men. Your men have to burn in the village fire, instead of hiding behind your skirts!” It was too hard to keep our knights not in forces to suffer insults. The helicopters hang over us and open fire to destroy the village. Suddenly two armored personnel carriers opened fire directly over our heads. It seemed that shots were going from your brain. Whistle, noise, roar! Oh! Allah, bless us! Why wasn’t I born deaf-mute? How can we sustain children crying? We lost count of bombers arriving in each five minutes on six – eight jets. Dump killing freight on the village. Children stick to mothers as if ask back for a womb. Tusik is gone.
The night passed in disturbing expectation. We got used to an automatic and machine gun fire.
On the tractor trailer they lifted the next corpse. “Natural death”, – they will write down in the certificate because there is no wound. The death of war horror isn’t taken into account.
March 8, 2000
Tusik gave me a gift. It came back with two puppies.
Federal soldiers surrounded us with a dense ring. Suddenly a plane appears just over us. It draws the air eight and flies away. Then other one comes. And one more. One by one. It is just about burst ear membranes. Children die on hands of mothers. And those continue to press more strongly their kids to themselves. What kind of life do they want for their darlings? Is it easy to transfer all this horror?
Allah, take away us to Yourself! Oh, Allah All-where! All-seeing! Do You hear me?
March 9, 2000
Yesterday was simply a gift if to compare with today’s occasion. They surround us and make a dense ring. New federals come. A reinforcement arrange “cleaning” between our men: they check hands, force to remove footwear, undress to a belt. If they like, officers take away anyone and transfer to contract employees. Heart beats without restraint. My nose bleeds. Hands shiver. I need to find a pencil. Pen ink doesn’t like to leave a step. It is cold for it.
I pull out my notebook from a jacket sleeve. Someone heard that they look for the record-writing girl. I am lucky. Nobody betrayed or inform on me. My mother found the Tusik. It is killed, a woman whisper something, hardly opening her bloodless lips. I hear: “Oh, my God! I wasn’t one year when my father was killed in Russia where he leaves to earn. I wasn’t two years old when my mummy married the second time. And the orphan grew up in poverty. In this heavy hour for my people, I ask You, to take me only away, but protect children – the future of our people”.
Federals snatched out men with dirty hands (there is no water to wash), with spots on their clothes what remained because of flying firedrakes, and them who had bags under eyes (no sleeping during some days and nights).
Eureka! There is an idea! “Mother, I have money in a pocket!”
– You are right. My daughter, take off your earrings and ring! Stop tearing! They came to kill us. We are to help our men. Nobody will help us, except ourselves.
Someone stretched hundred rubles. More and more… Money, gold and silver jewelries.
Some of our men were taken out by helicopters to Urus-Martan, and we were late to redeem hostages.
March 10, 2000
Fights go on. I try to false myself with the help of thoughts that outside this field – there is another world, the world so do we need. Justice world. There is a terrible mistake. Intelligent generals will come. They will understand that Chechens are human beings, as well as generals’ relatives. Also we are born to live, to love, to dream, to sow corns, to trust in fairy tales. And I haven’t fall in love yet. Here, in the field there is a boy. Handsome! He has bright burning black eyes. He was sitting at fire when I caught his look on myself. Probably, he came from other village. He was too nice! I never met him in our place. One day soldiers will leave, war will end. Earth will start smelling. You know the smell of HOMELAND? And I will dive into his eyes. H-mm… I dream… My hope cannot die. Never.
March 11, 2000
Where can I get a piece of pencil? Hands shiver. I am in feeling feverish. My God! Am still alive? Why? Allah! Open Your heaven gate. I can’t live more on the earth!
March 12, 2000
I am too weak and thirsty! Let me drink! Land quakes and everything is burning inside me. Just a drop of water, please!
March 13, 2000
There are the most beautiful eyes! I am giving my look. He is nodding modestly and. taking place at low smoldering fire.
Our village is destroyed to the ground. I’ve got a painful throat ace. My ears are stuffed up. They allowed starting to Olkhazurovo village. At the intersection there are women from that village hoped to find the relatives. Suddenly the armored personnel carrier appeared. There is a cable blinded boy. It is too hard to stand on his feet. Allah! These black eyes! Women moved to the vehicle. Opened fire over our heads and, having gained speed, departed towards our village. He is someone’s son, brother. He was born in Chechnya. There is a Chechen couple. If his mother saw what they that did with her son, she’d take death for him. And what about me? I didn’t manage to tell him my name. Will he wait for me in paradise?
It is better to die in the field, than to look for a shelter in other village? How to live further?
March 20, 2000
Where am I? Am I alive? Is it really? Why, Allah? You didn’t take away me. Where is my mother?
The transistor hisses: “From Sochi on SU-27 V. Putin arrived, set military tasks and civilians are to restore Grozny”.
My destroyed, wiped out native village is considered won.
March 21, 2000
I read the fairy tale “The Pinocchio’s Adventures” to the daughter of my hostess in their house. But Karabas-Barabas appears a lovely creature in comparison with federal soldiers.
March 22, 2000
Where is my mom?
They say a mad woman was taken away to Urus-Martan.
January 23, 2010
The Pinocchio, I hate you! Do you hear me? Deeply hate you!
It is you! You have burned my village.
What for, the Pinocchio?
P.S. “Buratino” (Russian Pinocchio) is a heavy fire-throwing system. It destroys all live in a radius of 3 km. It was applied in fights for the Chechen village Saadi-Kotar (Komsomolskoye) in March 2000.