World Book Day: The Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya

Today is the World Book & Copyright Day which is a yearly event on 23th of April, organised by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright. The day was first celebrated in 1995.

Asne Seierstad - The Angel of Grozny

Folks at Global Voices are doing a reading challenge where bloggers are challenged to read a book from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before and blog about it on 23th of April.
Asne Seierstad went to Chechnya when she were 24, at that time she was a freelance journalist but she wanted to understand what’s happening there.
Taking her way onto a Russian military aircraft heading south, she sits on a folding seat between two pilots who will soon be bombing Chechen rebels in ravines and mountains, mostly hitting civilians.
With incredible courage, Seierstad then spends most of the next year reporting on Russia’s dirty war from the viewpoint of both Chechen families and fighters. She also narrowly avoids being raped by a soldier with a Kalashnikov.
That was 13 years ago, the book published in 2008 is about both her first experience of war and her return to the brutalised city a decade later.

This time, she slipped illegally into the Chechen capital and took up residence in an orphan age run by a women called Hadijat – her “angel” – with a flock of traumatised street children.
Continue reading TimesOnline review

I have always been interested in Chechnya and Albania because not having a Holy Land doesn’t mean they should be ignored and never receive support.
I’m not into novels nor literature in general but I kept gazing the book and going through its pages for some good time, I was not sure if I wanted to invest any more in a novel (it’s not a novel but the border between her journalistic facts and her novelistic style is very imperceptible) I don’t enjoy novels, I never did but my friend insisted on buying it and she did.
I borrowed the book later and starting reading it and after couple of chapters I started to believe that the best way to share a documented journalistic facts would be in a novel form.
I don’t want to say much about the book, it’s an experience by itself but if Seierstad named Hadijat as Angel of Grozny, I’d name Seierstad as Angel of writers or maybe Angel of Norway 😉

More about Åsne SeierstadAngel of Grozny More about World Book Day at the U.N World Book Day at the UNESCO World Book Day web site