A week from today, Sunday September 15, The Chechen’s Revenge will be published as my first e-book novel. I’m excited because after that you’ll be able to order a copy for your reading pleasure direct from e-book vendors like Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple I-Books, and Amazon. You can still pre-order direct from smashwords.com using the discount coupon. The code zd65l will expire on 09/30/2013, so take advantage today. I think you’ll enjoy the book. Now here’s a short peek at the first part of chapter 2, where you’ll meet terrorist Marek Kafirov.
Our names and surnames will be changed and revenge will be sweet! Jihad will go on despite our enemies’ efforts. We become stronger. Allah, who helps us, says to us: “O you who believe persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that you may prosper.” (SURA – ÂLİ IMRÂN, 3:200)
Early morning, Saturday April 1: Toronto ON
A solitary man in a darkened apartment in the Little Poland district of Toronto sat remembering the atrocities he had experienced and endured for too long. He knew privation and days without sufficient food and water. His body, though wiry and fit, was still smaller than normal because of that. His homeland had suffered for generations. In his desolation he cried for his dead parents and destroyed extended family. His thoughts refreshed his utter anger. He believed with an unforgiving sense of certainty that Canada had failed to help. Instead it had sided with Russia, tacitly perhaps, but complicit nevertheless, because it had not condemned murderous actions taken against the Chechen. That was indeed the righteous argument of the revered Baseyev who had changed his name to Imir Addullah Shamil Abn Idris, a militant Chechen whose every thought was freedom for the country. Freedom was a desperate goal that the man shared with many. Fewer, like him, had made obtaining freedom the fuel that fired revenge.
The man’s soul ached for revenge. It was the core of his fury. Revenge was in fact the center of his renewed belief in Islam over the past ten years or so. Revenge is my obligation from centuries of Chechen tradition. Revenge is my right and responsibility. Revenge is mine to take now. His teacher and mentor had told him that so often. He knew very well the history that showed, for at least 8,000 years, conflict with outsiders desiring to be the rulers of his nation and people, rulers who then brought much suffering. The suffering had never been as horrendous as it had been during his youth.
From the graven memories of his younger years he recalled the conflict that had been with Russia and before that the USSR. Chechnya, situated as it was in the Northern Caucasus Mountains within the Southern Federal District, had become a federal subject of Russia. Part of the problem, perhaps a main factor, was that Chechens were mostly Muslim, while the hated Russians were infidels of the worst kind; a nation of widespread corruption and prone to the most evil of abuses. He was Muslim. Every fiber of his being evoked the principles of Islam, as he was taught and as he understood them. He prayed faithfully the required five times daily. After his ancestors had converted to Islam, tension with the Turks had subsided, but conflict with Christian neighbors intensified. Resistance to Russia had been going on since the 18th century. He was convinced that he was necessarily part of that resistance. Russia had forced that upon him. Only after the fall of the USSR in 1991, and with the formation of the Chechen Republic, had there been any hope of self-rule.
He recalled again that the struggle for independence began to rise again in 1991. But the formation of the Chechen National Congress under the leadership of President Dzhokhar Dudayev was strongly opposed by Boris Yeltsin’s Russian Federation. Yeltsin argued that the Chechen’s possessed no right to succeed. Then in 1994 began the first Chechen War. Russia was not able to overcome Chechen guerilla raids. A ceasefire was negotiated in 1996 and a peace treaty was signed the next year. There had been heavy losses on both sides and especially to the civilian population. Thousands of traditional Islamic families were forever disrupted by death. Such disruption was a personal experience for the man from his earliest memories. At age five, Marek’s life had already been disrupted by war and death for most of his tender years. The destruction had become part of his development; it was certainly a contributing factor to his attitude of fury. The promise of peace and that broken also contributed.
The year 1997 brought parliamentary and presidential elections. The then new President, Aslan Maskhadev, began receiving funding from Russia intended to help Chechnya rebuild, but Maskhadev distributed most of the funds instead to highly favored warlords who used it to cement their own control. Nearly 500,000 people, approximately 40 percent of the population, were displaced to refugee camps or overcrowded villages. As a result, some of the country’s Muslims became attracted to a more extreme form of Islam known as Wahhabism, though proponents would say it was a more pure form. Soon, in 1998, open clashes between the Chechen National Guard and Islamist militants provoked Grozny officials to declare a state of emergency. A year later in August 1999 the second Chechen War began. The IIPB rebels ran unsuccessful incursions into neighboring Dagestan, seeking independence for that state. This time, Russian counter-actions were much better organized than in the previous war. They established control over most Chechen regions using brutal force. Maskhadev was killed. Marek’s parents were murdered by drunken out-of-control Russian soldiers that same year. Destruction was now an inescapable part of his psyche, this also contributing further to his fury.
Marek, not his real name, of ruddy tanned complexion like a man who had spent a lifetime outdoors in a severe climate, sat quietly just ten years later in his Little Poland half lit room in a rundown apartment located near Toronto’s Dundas Street West. His apartment was close to the intersection of Dundas and Roncesvalles Avenue within a small triangular neighborhood bounded by Ritchie Avenue on the southeast. It was only a short walk to the bus line; transportation that he needed as he had no car. He didn’t expect to live here long enough to need one. He had a mission to accomplish, that when finished would require that he disappear to surface elsewhere for a new task. I am at ease with my attitude of fury. It suits my mission.
Little Poland was a comfortable place for Marek. He didn’t know the origin of the name Little Poland as a designation for the quarter, but that did not concern him. What was most important was that he could go around largely unnoticed, for the neighborhood was filled with mainly Russian and Eastern European residents along with many ethnic shops, bakeries, and café’s. The food, culture and frequent special events brought tourists and people from other parts of the city, but they paid little attention to people like him. He blended fairly well, with his dark hair and short black beard, short slender build now in generally fit condition. His manner of dress was vaguely Eastern European rather than Chechen; most of his clothes were from Honest Ed’s, an emporium in Mirvish Village along Bloor Street. He shopped there also for the few bits of kitchen and other apartment things he needed. His revolutionary training had inculcated avoidance of the trappings of wealth and the diseased accoutrements of western capitalists. His fury recognized that the decadence of the west was a cause of the troubles of his nation.
The presence of Russians was a difficulty because of his hatred of them. He could however pretend to put up with them, as he prepared to make a statement about their crimes against his people. His command of Russian was good and his accent did not given him away as a Chechen. It suited him in some ways to be reminded daily by the presence of Russians. It was a constant prompt that they had frustrated the right of Chechnya for generations to rule itself. Even though Russia had officially ended counter-terrorist activities against Chechens earlier in the year, Marek could not believe there was no ulterior motive. Sooner or later he believed they would again move against Chechen freedoms, hard won and usually short-lived. Marek was pleased to note that at home there was still some separatist movement activity and that there was still some regional tribal or clan control. The flame may have died down but the spark was still alive. He anticipated his own successful role in achieving the holy goals. That was why he had been sent to Canada. The spark needs to be fanned to a brighter flame. My mission will be an abrupt reminder to the world of the unfeeling Russian acts.
It was not his first visit to Canada. Nearly ten years earlier he had spent a term as an exchange student attending the ESL program at Stanstead College in Stanstead QC. It had been an extremely difficult time for the Muslim child to be in a Christian environment. There were no friends from that year; he had been frightened at the beginning, then as time passed keeping alone waiting to return to the Imam who had taken care of his needs so far, his acquisition of English had gone well. Some years later, he had been able to add to his fluency while a student at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar, Pakistan. Many of his professors in Chemical Engineering were English speakers and he had sought every opportunity to engage them in that language. He had also learned to converse comfortably in Urdu and Pashto. That latter language had proved to be useful here in Canada. He had Afghans on his team. Their harsh experiences and shared fury with Russian oppression serve my purposes very well.
He had wanted to attend the Chechen State University, destroyed by the Russians during the Second Chechen War between 1994 and 1996, but his mentor Imam Ali Ibn al-Hassan dissuaded him even though classes had resumed in April of 2000. His Wahhabist teacher was a forceful disciplinarian. Slowly he had realized the wisdom as he grew in understanding of the Wahhabist ideals for restoring Islam to purity. His Imam made perfect sense in his repeated discourse about the Qur’an’s call for the oneness of Allah, to praise Allah constantly, for a jihad against those who practiced jahilayya, that is, were barbarous and ignorant. In time he had accepted completely that his perfect role in life was that of the terrorist, the only strategy that could correct the wrongs perpetrated against his people. The salafi jihad was his destiny entirely. He embraced terrorism and terrorism embraced him. It is in fact a necessary fury.
Now at age 23, his was a dire mission, but surely most necessary as he understood this completely; to plan an unmistakable statement that wealthy nations should not forsake the welfare of poorer brothers. Brotherhood is the key; it calls true believers together to protect one another. It calls brothers to engage in a blood bond, to develop as needed a willingness to fight for each other to the death. The two Chechen wars had certainly made it clear that a militant Islam was required to release the oppression of Chechnya. Indeed he recalled that it was President Dudayev, blessed be his name, who had declared that Russia had forced his people to take the Islamic jihadist path. He and his fellow warriors in this auspicious jihad would succeed. Indeed was not his own real name Malik, meaning possessor, indicative of Allah’s blessing; he believed this with all his heart. Of course, no one would ever know that it was Malik Bisliev who would soon accomplish a great victory. His real name was merely a memory of a disturbed past. His mentor was responsible for Marek becoming an entirely dedicated individual separated from his past, though it continued to dictate his future and fury.
His birth name had disappeared into the distressing Chechen history just as soon as he had embarked on a journey of reawakening. Just turned age 12, the Imam had found him dirty, nearly starving, a wanderer of the streets of Shali, his home abandoned following a raging debauchery by drunken Russian soldiers; murderers of his parents. The sight of his mother being raped, his dead father nearby, still raged through his mind when he thought about his responsibility. Tradition dictated that he seek revenge. With no family left, he submitted to the apparent kindness of the foreign cleric. For no understandable reason he had not been punished for trying to steal food from the mosque.
The Imam had recently arrived from Saudi Arabia. The cleric gave him the option to be renewed by changing his name. Change had been good but it did not erase the trauma, suffering, humiliation and bereavement that he still felt. Only the fury fed by revenge and self-sacrifice can absolve those feelings. So he had accepted the name change, at the time not completely under-standing, as he did now, that change would set him on a path where only revenge would satisfy the jihadist he had become. Now, his closest compatriots in the immediate task did not know his real name. When the task was complete, it would not matter what name was associated, the message was only about retribution.
Only a chosen few even knew his assumed last name, Kafirov, and then only by necessity. He allowed himself a small smile as he thought how appropriate it was that he had taken the name used by Chechen mujahedeen to identify that most hated Russian puppet, the assassinated former Chechen president Ahmad Kadyrov. Planning mayhem using that name has a kind of poetic justice about it. Marek’s plan, when successful, would be a complete act of reprisal on the Russians and their toadies. In the meanwhile most of those with whom he associated on the streets of Little Poland where he lived and worked called him Borz. It meant wolf and that suited him for he saw himself as a cunning stalker. Those casual acquaintances, of course, had no idea of his purpose. They were merely people with whom it was practical to be civil. He did need to seem an ordinary citizen going about normal business. He would soon close in on the target and satisfaction then would be most glorious indeed.
So Malik Bisliev/Marek Kafirov/Borz contemplated his assignment before getting himself ready for his daily task as a tea waiter in the Samovar House restaurant. He wore that skin of normalcy as easily as he thought about vengeance. His fury led him to thoughts of reprisal most of his waking hours. In some circumstances his steadfast focus in that regard might be regarded as an honorable thing. In Canada, a growing awareness of the dangers of terrorism would make kindly regard of vengeance a very iffy proposition.
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