Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Documentary Movie: Torture- Everyday Reality In Chechnya

Posted by Info on 29/03/2011

Interview with Mantas Kvedaravicius the author of the documentary Movie BARZAKH
I lived for a year in Chechnya between 2007 and 2009 and shot the film then, at the time that Chechnya was still the “zone of counter-terrorist operation”. The whole territory was legally treated as if it were a hijacked building or airplane. Anyone could be taken from their home or from the street, properties and documents could be seized, and people arrested, frisked, checked-up, beaten or killed. Any conversation could be recorded or communication disallowed, and connection with outside world denied. Foreign journalists had to receive their short-term visit permission well in advance, and if they were granted it, they would be accompanied by state security services. So secret filming was the only way to bring out the other side of that reality, and it could be done only with the help of local people who managed to get me in and out of the “zone” and keep me safe, sometimes at great risk to themselves. Alas, during the time we were filming at least four people were either killed or disappeared. Amongst them was my friend Nataliya Estemirova, who helped enormously in this project, but was kidnapped and killed in summer 2009.

Torture is everyday reality in Chechnya… I was not interested in the production of certain truths where either the reasons or the motives of perpetrators are laid bare, or the traumas of victims are simply exposed to our voyeuristic gaze. Rather I was concerned to show how torture enters into everyday life; to inquire into its lingering power over a person. Simultaneously I was struck so many times by the extraordinary capacity of the human being to be able to live a dignified life after it had been destroyed by pain; by the absolute power of the state agents over the people. This helped me to understand that torture is not simply the painful event that endures for the rest of the one’s life, but the moment when the desire for life is itself killed in that person.…more HERE

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