Goodbye my chechnya

Goodbye My Chechnya chronicles the lives of young girls grappling with questions of identity as they come of age in a republic that is rapidly redefining itself as a Muslim state. 

For young girls in Chechnya the most innocent acts could mean breaking the rules. 

A couple holding hands in public is punishable; the sight of a Chechen girl smoking may lead to her arrest. Rumors of a girl engaging in an 'illicit' relationship will often result in her killing. The few girls who dare to rebel become targets in the eyes of authorities. 

After nearly two decades of war and 70 years of Soviet rule, during which religious participation was banned, Chechnya is going through Islamic revival. 

The Chechen government has embarked on an aggressive campaign to promote Islam and to strengthen Chechen traditions. Dozens of mosques and Islamic institutions are sprouting throughout the republic, prayer rooms in public schools and a strict Islamic dress code is enforced. Females have reported being harassed, some physically harmed for not wearing a head covering.

In today’s Chechnya, where alcohol is all but banned, polygamy encouraged  and single-sex salons and gyms becoming the norm, Chechen girls have very few rights. 

Goodbye my chechnya by Diana Markosian

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