Dagestani terrorists and their live-in girlfriends

WARNING. Do NOT click on this link if you don’t want to be subjected to the sight of a dead woman’s body.

The Russian press is referring to the woman in the picture as Sabina Musayeva – the “common law wife” of terrorist leader Soltan Sayid Soltanov.

You don’t really see pictures like this in the American media, do you? In recalling 9/11, I remember how we were spared the worst of it on our own TV channels, for example. The gruesomeness was not dealt with head-on. It is considered exploitative and sensationalist and disrespectful, to show the real effects of terror and the war on terror.

In the second picture, Musayeva’s hijab has been removed, and her gun is gone. You can see that she was shot in the head. Not really sure what’s going on here. Of course, plenty of people will start yelling about how, “Evil special forces guys from Russia put the gun in the poor woman’s hand after the fact! She was merely an innocent victim!” I don’t know – some people will automatically brand everything that Russian special forces do in the region as treacherous and barbaric. I’m willing to bet that the pictures are real, and that Musayeva went down fighting – her brother, Aslan Musayev, accidentally blew himself up a while back, while experimenting with explosives. I don’t get what these people are fighting for  (please don’t say “Freeeeeeduuuuuum!”, Mel Gibson) – and never have. I’m just oddly glad that the Russian media shows the reality of the conflict. It’s ugly, really ugly. And it may not be over for a long time.

I don’t feel any sympathy for people who order terror attacks. I don’t really care about “what influenced their motives” or else “the geopolitical factors” that are surely “at play.” My view on it is simplistic – terrorists are nihilists, and the atmosphere of nihilism is infectious. We’re all living in it. Every time I ride the Moscow metro at rush hour, I dwell on this basic fact.

12 thoughts on “Dagestani terrorists and their live-in girlfriends

  1. you can see that when she died the gun was in her hands. Notice that her right hand is gripping the gun which appears to be a stechkin, the slide of which is locked back on an empty magazine. this photo was taken immediately after death, and before the bodies were searched/disarmed. in the second foto after the search you will notice that her right hand is still in the firing grip. The stechkin can be fired fully automatic like a sub machine gun. I’ll bet she charged from the house spraying and praying and expended her ammo before she was killed. The gun was not planted on her. The Russian special ops folks are damned good at their jobs in spite of all the bad press they receive. They are not paid to be nice and the people they are trained to fight, are murderers no matter what their cause or gender.These two got what they had coming.

  2. I don’t think they’re nihilist. I think they believe in a cause that’s larger than life. And they perceive terrorist attacks as acts of self defense. You could get as much from reading Anna Politkovskaya when she was sometimes trying to negotiate with them (with no use).

  3. The ideological component of this gets a lot of play, but being a “glorious rebel” is also just a job. Terror is strategic and calculated. I mean, Al Qaeda puts out magazines. If these people had more sympathetic donors with oil money, they probably would too.

  4. Also, I think nihilism lies at the base of this utilitarian approach to other people’s lives. I don’t believe it’s “classical nihilism,” but something that is not articulated.

  5. Yes ideological component is overplayed. Religious schools etc don’t matter, it’s much more important who potential terrorists hung out with, play football with, or who they meet on the internet – as they get recruited through personal networks (this according to Scott Atran, anthropologist whose work on the topic I find insightful & fascinating).
    With terrorists in Russia it’s similar – like the Domodedovo bomber, wasn’t he a misfit, a bully victim, whose wife left him? But it was suspected from the beginning that he wasn’t acting alone – so somebody found a way to use him.

  6. I don’t get it, either, but I’m not sure that terrorists are nihilists. I am, however, sure that I will never understand why any person feels that they have to solve a problem — whatever that problem may be — with violence. Unless someone is coming at me, I have no will to harm another living creature.

    I do wish that these things were in American news, because when I see pictures like this, I have no idea what’s going on, nor do I recognize any of the names you mentioned. I wish my country did a little more to educate us about the rest of the world. It’s sad.

  7. I would disagree strongly with the statement that western media don’t show images like that. They just don’t show images of white western people like that.

    Anyone remember the footage of the Rwandan genocide? Or of just about any famine/disaster in Africa? Even footage of hurricane Katrina showed dead black people.

    I would also hesitate to state that graphic footage is needed to bring home the destruction and futility of terrorism. I think after a while, overexposure means these images lose their impact. Whereas an image like this: http://elblogador.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-saw-photograph.html has it’s own ethical issues, but tells more about a situation then a dead body.

  8. I think that’s a good point – white folks ought to have “dignity in death,” etc.

    Sometimes, you do get desentisized, other times, not so much. There’s some stuff I’ll never get over. The Beslan pictures, for example – I just can’t.

  9. I’m not so sure about the dead blacks, dead whites theory, but then again I don’t pay much attention to such things either. But I do think there is a reluctance in American media sources to show graphic images of people who have died violently or who have been mutilated in accidents. I may be wrong though.

  10. The Afghan media (I’m living in Afghanistan) has no qualms about publishing the goriest photos of dead suicide bombers, victims of suicide bombers, people who were shot in the head, landmine victims and unlucky little kids who picked up unexploded ordinances during family picnics. Many of my friends are journalists and they occasionally post the gore on facebook. It’s jarring to see that stuff pop up on the screen first thing in the morning, but less so for me after two years of it. These days, it’s the stories that really get me.

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