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Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys among the defiant people of the Caucasus (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. März 2011
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This wonderful, moving book flashes backwards and forwards over a terrain almost impossible to survey, and manages the feat (Norman Stone)
Lively and impassioned ... a tragically neglected corner of our world (Orlando Figes)
Oliver Bullough's book is a painstaking, sensitively reported effort to knit together their [the people of the Caucasus] lost history (Wendell Steavenson Sunday Times)
A book that effortlessly mixes on-the-spot reportage and a wide-ranging history . . . Let its fame be great (The Scotsman)
Bullough brings us exciting news, presented as short, gripping stories that ... The history of their resistance and resilience has been largely unknown for two centuries. Now their stories are sung by a champion and will resound beyond their boundaries (Ian Finlayson The Times)
An impressive debut ... heartfelt and compelling ... With this impassioned volume he has struck a blow for the glory of the Caucasus and helped to give voice to the voiceless (Justin Marozzi Financial Times)
Bullough should be congratulated on his brave and tireless investigations into an under-reported region of the world (George Walden New Statesman)
Let Our Fame Be Great is a treat ... Finely bound, with excellent maps, Bullough draws you irresistibly into his narrative, fusing reportage, history and travelogue in colourful, absorbing prose ... The book is a pleasure, and most importantly, it is critical to understanding modern Russia with its worrying collective amnesia (Daniel Metcalfe Spectator)
Fascinating and ground-breaking ... Bullough has got plenty of dust, snow and mud on his boots from his travels recording the forgotten tragedies of the North Caucasus ... In the process he [has] unearthed many priceless nuggets of historic truth (Thomas de Waal OpenDemocracy)
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Oliver Bullough was born in 1977 and grew up on a sheep farm in mid-Wales. He studied modern history at Oxford University and moved to Russia in 1999. He lived in St Petersburg, Bishkek and Moscow over the next seven years, working as a journalist first for local magazines and newspapers, and then for Reuters news agency. He reported from all over Russia and the former Soviet Union, but liked nothing more than to work among the peoples and mountains of the North Caucasus.
He moved back to Britain in 2006, and has spent the following years travelling for and writing this book.He now lives in east London. He likes to travel, to take photographs, to watch Welsh rugby, to cook and to read.
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My student should read Oliver Bullough's "Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus." So should many people.
"Let Our Fame Be Great" is a heartbreaking, informative, recommended book. I was often in tears while reading it. I'm very glad I learned what Bullough had to teach. LOFBG is a travelogue through the history, literature, and current events of the Caucasus. This little-known corner of the world should be better known.
I have Circassian and Armenian friends. I've been to Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey, three countries bordering the Black Sea. I remember reading about the Russian destruction of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in the New York Times. Even so, I knew virtually nothing about the material Bullough introduces in his book.
The Caucasus is a spit of land between the Black and the Caspian Seas, between Russia to the north and Turkey and Iran to the south. When Turkey was Europe's "sick man" and its power was declining, Russia moved south to fill the vacuum. Russia wanted access to the Black Sea, because its own ports freeze over in winter. Through brute force, Russia attempted to control or even eliminate the scattered Muslim ethnic groups living in the Caucasus. Russia did this as a czarist empire, as the Soviet Union, and as post-Soviet Russia.
Bullough depicts the Russians in the Caucasus behaving, more or less, as American settlers behaved toward the Native Americans. We want your land, and we will do what we have to do to you to get your land.
Another comparison: historian Anne Applebaum compared what the Russians did to the Caucasus to what the Nazis did to Poland.
Bullough divides his book up into chapters devoted to various Caucasus ethnic groups: Circassians, Mountain Turks, and Chechens. For each group, he works through literature going back hundreds of years, historical accounts, travelogues, state documents, and contemporary accounts. This is a massive amount of material, reduced to brief excerpts.
With the Circassians, for example, Bullough quotes literature written by Russian authors like Ivan Turgenev, travel accounts by British representatives toying with the idea of aiding the Circassians against the Russians, quotes from Russian military leaders attacking the Circassians, and encounters with modern-day Circassians living in diaspora in Israel.
Bullough has a gift for selecting particularly heart-rending quotes, and he uses many of these quotes as chapter titles: "The Caucasus Mountains are sacred to me," "Extermination along would keep them quiet," "The Circassians do not appear on this list," "Liquidate the bandit group," "It was all for nothing," and "I have become no one."
One anecdote Bullough recounts tells of one Caucasus woman, Khozemat Khabilayeva, who, as a child, was part of a Soviet-ordered mass deportation of her homeland. Her dog, Khola, tried to save her family, and he met with a sad fate that Khabilayeva, an old woman now, wept over, decades after his death. There are many such stories in this book, the individual droplets that add up to an ocean wave of history.
Because I was so unfamiliar with this history, I did question if Bullough was too sympathetic to the Caucasus peoples, and too hard on the Russians. Bullough, though, includes actual quotes by Russian leaders voicing genocidal intent toward Caucasus people. He cites one Russian leader who decorated his home with the decapitated heads of Circassians.
Too, Bullough does report on unappealing aspects of Caucasus culture. Circassians, for example, had the custom of selling their own children into slavery. So many Circassian daughters were sold into sex slavery that the reputation of the beautiful Circassian spread all the way to PT Barnum's sideshow. Bullough describes the 2004 Belsan hostage crisis as a complete horror.
I compared what I know of Russian behavior to my own ethnic group, Poles. In Poland, czarist Russia and Soviet Russia deported massive numbers of people, redrew maps, criminalized the identity of oppressed people, executed large numbers of people in order to terrorize populations. Russia, it seems, did to the Caucasus what it did to the Poles. Bullough's account is all too believable.
Russia plans to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, one site of its genocide against the Circassians. A Caucasus terrorist leader, Doku Umarov, issued a threat against these games. Terrorism is wrong. The Sochi games should be protested, in peaceful, educational, and solidarity-building ways.
Bullough includes photos of the bones of Circassian refugees found lying in the dirt in Akchakale, Turkey. Circassian activists should take these bones from Turkey, by boat across the Black Sea, retracing the route their ancestors took, and bury them in Sochi, with the stated goal of building a genocide monument in Sochi. They should film the entire trip. No doubt the Russians would attempt to stop them. Their peaceful protest would educate the world about their history.
I wonder, after reading LOFBG, why no one seems to care about Russia's human rights abuses against Caucasus Muslims. Bullough writes of Khasan Bibulatov, a Chechen man who was horribly tortured by Russians. Zarema Muzhakhoyeva is one of the most pathetic human beings I've ever read about - her life story is right out of an over-the-top Dickens orphanage. She gave up her suicide bomb mission, cooperated with the Russian police, and was still jailed for twenty years. I wonder if so little attention is paid to victims of Russian oppression in the Caucasus because Russia committed many of these crimes as a communist government, and leftists don't want to remind the world that communists were the last century's most prolific murderers.