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Letter to the foreign minister of Belgium, Karel De Gucht
Written by Светлана Губарева, Роза Кунгаева   
Понедельник, 20 Декабрь 2004
Dear Minister De Gucht,

We are the inconsolable mothers of two girls who were killed on both sides of the Chechen conflict, and we were shocked by the resolution of the Belgian government to prevent talks in Brussels between the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, and Chechen representative Akhmet Zakayev.

It is not often that the possibility of achieving real results appears. Today such a possibility has arisen — a unique chance to end a war that has carried away hundreds of thousands of lives, including our children.

The initiative of the soldiers' mothers is like a breath of fresh air in the atmosphere of distrust, hatred, and vengeance that feeds this war. It would give real hope that the slaughter could be stopped. The Soldiers' Mothers and their partners in the Chechen leadership could change the situation, but they need every kind of aid. For this very reason we gave requested your help. We have sufficient reasons to desire the end of this war. On March 27th, 2000, Russian soldiers in Chechnya abducted from her home one of our daughters, 18 year-old Elsa Kungayeva. That same night she was raped and killed by a Russian officer, who ended up with a laughable punishment and became a hero for many Russians. Nineteen months later, on October 23rd, 2002, another of our daughters, 13-year-old Sasha Letyago found herself among the hostages seized by Chechen gunmen in Moscow. Sasha perished when President Putin ordered the use of a lethal gas during the assault on the theater building. The terrorists killed in the assault became heroes for many Chechens.

We are not seeking vengeance for our children, and we do not make heroes out of terrorists and war criminals, even when they claim to act in our name. We only want that no mother would have to bury her children or experience our pain.

There are powerful forces on both sides of the Chechen conflict that do not wish peace. These people use the mutual hate that was born in the war to lock both our peoples into a closed cycle of violence, in which genocide and terror feed off one another. The crimes committed by both sides are used to justify the evil committed on both sides. Those in the outside world, who indulge the evils of genocide as necessary to fight the evil of terrorism, actually pander to both.

These negotiations are very important and deserve your support. We appeal to you to rise above diplomatic restraint, to recognize the historic and humanitarian value of this situation, to not knuckle under to pressure from the Kremlin, and to greet the Soldiers' Mothers and Zakayev in Brussels.

Svetlana Gubareva,
Roza Kungayeva
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