President of United States of America, Mr Barack Obama
Vice President of United States of America, Mr Joe Biden
Secretary of State, Mr John F. Kerry
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Mrs Janet Napolitano
Attorney General of United States of America, Mr Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Senators of Unites States Senate
Representatives of United States House of Representatives
Governor of Massachusetts, Mr Deval Patrick
Mayor of Boston, Mr Thomas M. Menino
Representatives of media organizations
Representatives of human rights organizations
Citizens of United States of America
Subject: Boston Incidents
Dear Mr President,
Dear Mr Vice President,
Dear Mr Secretary,
Dear Mrs Secretary,
Dear Mr Attorney of General,
Dear Mr/Mrs Senator,
Dear Mr/Mrs Representative,
Dear Mr Governor,
Dear Mr Mayor,
We present our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the monstrous terrorist attack in Boston. We share your sorrow and pain. There is no other nation that understands your feelings better than Chechens. We have lost more than hundreds of thousands innocent civilians, which includes tens of thousands children as a result of Russian state terrorism since 1994.
Unfortunately, since the identification of the suspects, we have seen a lynching attitude in the mass media toward the entire Chechen nation. The ethnic origins or religious beliefs of these suspects did not play any role in their crimes; it was simply an unacceptable act carried out by two individuals. We have never heard the ethnicity of criminals who have committed similar barbaric terrorist acts in the United States. However in this case, since the beginning, all around the world, we have heard on television and radio, we read in the newspapers and internet thousands of times these words together: “terrorists” and “Chechens”! There are many examples, but especially a former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton’s words to the media describes the common ignorance and hate: “These people are killers! Make no mistake about it. Terrorism has been a way of life for those living in the region of Chechnya for years because of Islamic radicalism and a struggle for independence from Russia”.
Talking about the ethnic origins of these criminals only helps to solidify the worst stereotypes and brings a negative attitude towards the entire nation. As a fact, since April 19, we have received dozens of hate filled and revenge oriented messages from United States based IP addresses, and it concerns us that the lives of the ethnic Chechen minority in the United States are in danger and they may face racist attacks. Their friends, neighbors, classmates or colleagues will be suspicious of these innocent families, and for the rest of their lives they will be forced to explain that they are not terrorists and will always feel shame and like they are walking on a razors edge.
As human beings, we are afraid of what we don’t know. The recent tragic events once again confirm that the majority of world’s population does not have any idea about Chechens and the happenings in Chechnya; but from now on, we can change this, we can work together to establish peace, friendship and humanitarianism; as well as we may fight together against any form of radicalism, terror and other crimes. Please do not help form Chechenophobia, do not push us away, but thrust out your hands to help create a better world.
Mairbek Vatchagaev, President of the Caucasian Studies Association (www.chechen.org)
A.Burak Oztas, General Director of the Save Chechnya Campaign (www.savechechnya.org)