New Racist Attack to Chechens in Poland
According to Gazeta Wyborcza, Bialystok edition of Gazeta Wyborcza, Radio Bialystok and a local Lomza news agency, Two Chechen women were attacked by a man with a hood in the streets of Lomza, Poland. Chechens believe that the racist attack is connected it with a speech given by Lech Kolakowski, a MP (PiS), who wanted to liquidate a refugee camp in Lomza, Poland.
Ayzan Nukaeva and Larisa Ismailova were walking down to the bus stop in Pilsudskiego Street near Stokrotka shop in Lomza around 7 pm on September 25, 2009. A man in black tracksuit and with a hood on head approached to Chechen women and hit to face of one of them. Right away the Chechen woman collapsed when the attacker sprayed her with a tear gas. The second woman tried to pull away the attacker. He also knocked her down and sprayed with tear gas.
“They were in so big pain laying in the street, he tried to take their chusty from thei heads. He shouted they are Talibans and must go back to Chechnya”said Satsita Khumaidova, the representant of Chechen society, who has lived in Lomza for many years, and added “They are very decent women. One has four children, the other one has five kids”.
The attacker run away when two young Poles appeard. They called for help and waited till the police and ambulance came there.
“The atmosphere is very tense. We try to calm it down. The factor that Polish people helped them restrains young Chechens who would go into the streets and we could have real problems” says Kamil Kamiński from Foundation Ocalenie, which takes care of refugees.
Slawomir Dabrowski, the spokesman of Lomza police department, confirmed that the situation is very serious. He also said that it was a racist attack, the first one in quite a few years.
From police investigation they know that he was about 180 cm tall, medium body type, dressed in a dark blouse and wearing a hood. Police is asking for contact them any person who saw the incident and can help in determining the perpetrator of the attack. According to Polish law perpetrator can go to prison for a period from 3 months to 5 years.
“We want to catch the attacker as fast as possible. We talk to witnesses right now” said Slawomir Dabrowski.
“We have to calm down our youth so they won’t go into the streets” said Chechen elders. The Chechen society sees the link between this accident and a speech given by Lech Kolakowski, a MP from PiS (brothers‘ Kaczynski party). He asked the Refugee Bureau to close down the camp in Lomza. He had said that Lomza is too small and local society was not able to handle it. Kolakowski also said that refugees had problems with law.
Journalists tried to contact with Kolakowski but he does not answer the phone callings. He is also not available in his Office after the attack.
The police does not confirm the Kolakowski’s statement. There were only three accidents since July 2009 and all of them were connected with drinking alcohol.
“We have organised a meeting in the refugee camp to calm down people.” said Satsita Khumaidova. She added: “We really want to solve that proplem in a civilised way. We have prepared a letter to the MP Kolakowski. We want him to understand that by saying such things he can destroy something very important. Together with local society we have been building our relationship for a long time. We are living together here. We would like him to understand that we do love Poland, the country that gave us new life. We do not want to be bitten and humilliated again. Please remember that it was a reason why we had to leave our homeland”.
Chechen refugees in Lomza prepared a letter about the attack. Now they are collecting the signs and will send it to Polish authorities. Also, Chechens from Lomza ask for changing the law. Right now they are sending to the camp by Refugee Bureau and even when they live on their own they have to stay in towns pointed by Refugee Bureau. They want the freedom of choosing the place to live – in this way they will not stay in a places where people do not want them. They would move to bigger towns where it is easier to find a flat and a job. As they say: “Once the law let us live where we want to, nobody would have to take us from Lomza – we would go away by ourselves. We will keep all those good people of Lomza in our hearts. And we will wish them to keep their hearts free from hate to the stangers.”
Lomza mayor, Jerzy Brzezinski said “he was never interested in refugees matters and he had no time for it”. Lukasz Czech, spoksman for the City Council, stated that this is a case of the police, not for the council. He didn’t want to comment the attack.
Kamil Kamiński, the leader of the “Foundation Salvation (Fundacja Ocalenie)” ask if the attack is related to the initiative for the expulsion Chechens from Lomza, and closure of the Center for Refugees. “- I wouldnt connect this event with a letter on the Center for Refugees in Lomza” – respond deputy Lech Kolakowski. “- It’s incidental hooligan prank, on which we should regret” – he added.
Foundation “Salvation” published a statement about this issue:
“We are shocked by fact of attact on Ayzan Nukayeva and Larisa Ismailova. From our information we know that it was racist attact and was caused by the fact that both were in headscarves and were speakin in foreign language.
We want to ask what is the connection between this act and closing refugee center in Lomza. Also we want to ask what Police and City did to help integrate refugees with local community. Is removing chechens from Lomza the only one solution?
In this place we would like to say thank in the name of those two chechen woman for two young people which help them. They are thankful for support. We can say that citizens of Lomza dont agree on the acts of violence against foreigners.
It is obvious that without a dialogue is not possible to find an solution. Once again we ask to set up a “group” which can help formulate strategy of integration refugees in Lomza.
Author: Joanna Wrześniowska Bataev, The Correspondent of WaYNaKH Online in Poland