Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Poor, Miserable Bastard of the Week (3,056th edition)

This is a particularly heinous story that's been haunting me since I unfolded the Times this morning: the travails of Malika Soltayeva, a lovely young Chechen who happened to run afoul of the rather Soviet police force that the pro-Russian Chechen government has roaming the streets, enforcing its own brand of paramilitary justice.

The poor woman was accused by her husband of adultery (a groundless charge, she counters) and reported to the authorities. The police of regional nutburger Ramzan Kadyrov, Putin's puppet Premier, picked her up and... well, I'll let the Times explain it:

What followed was no investigation. In a law enforcement compound in this town in east-central Chechnya, the men who served as Argun’s police sheared away her hair and her eyebrows and painted her scalp green, the color associated with Islam. A thumb-thick cross was smeared on her brow.

Ms. Soltayeva, a Muslim, had slept with a Christian Russian serviceman, they said. Her scarlet letter would be an emerald cross. She was forced to confess, ordered to strip, and beaten with wooden rods and hoses on her buttocks, arms, legs, hands, stomach and back.

“Turn and be condemned by Allah,” one of her tormentors said, demanding that she position herself so he could strike her more squarely.

Nice. She was pregnant at the time; as you can imagine, she miscarried two days later. Also, the tinpot police recorded the whole fucking thing on their cameraphones, as seen in the image above. That still -- a woman terrified of assault, or rape, or worse, scalp painted green. What goddamn horror.

People still treat each other like this, in far-off places in the world. Puscillanimous bastards. And to think, I was getting upset that Paris Hilton's album scored a "B" in most major media outlets.

So, what am I going to do about it?