The tragedy that will be told over the course of the next hours took place less than two years ago. It was the last time we had tried to rebel, and altough we will always strive for freedom, the occurences of our last attempt has set us years back. There will always be those among us who will think that the actions of Akhmad Islamov were either selfish or in vain. That he hurt us more than he helped us. That he ruined our chance at freedom. But I know that the opposite is the truth. That he has saved our people from the greatest threat we could have possibly faced. I know, because I was there two years ago when it happened. But before I dive into my story, let me begin my giving you a little background information about his life.
He was born to Hadji and Fatima 35 years ago as their first child. His mother dies six months after his birth because she could not recieve proper care after her delivery. His father died when he was only two, when he was killed by members of the Russian army for planning to revolt. Akhmad was then sent to live with this uncle, his father's brother (and only living relative) an extremely pious man-the Mullah of our community. Ali Islamov, the boy's uncle, was a widower (his wife had died shortly after their marriage) and he had never married again. Since he had no children of his own, he was more than happy to raise his nephew. Ali taught his nephew about the Islamic religion and also made sure that the boy recieved a good scholarly education. Akhmad eventually went to Great Britain to study and was well versed in Chechen, Russian, Arabic, English, French, and German. He was a brilliant student and recieved degrees in political science. He was also a great Islamic scholar (he recieved a degree in this from Egypt) and was among our community's religious leaders as well as political leaders.
He married Aisha when he was 27 (he came back to us when he 26) and she was 22. His oldest child was a daughter, Mariam, born a year after their marriage. His second was his son, Murat, born two years after that. Over the course of the next five years, Akhmad lived a rather uneventful life. It was only in the sixth year of his marriage that his life turned. He had been the leader of our own community the past few years, but at that point three years ago, he was contacted by Rahim Husenyov, a leader of the Chechen rebellion group.
At first, Akhmad had no intention to go with Rahim. He said that independence was to be found through diplomacy, through peace; not through war. He refused Rahim but allowed him to recruit soliders from our own little community.
I will add that it was at this time that I joined the cause. At the time, I was a young man of 23. I was with my parents, making my living by working in my father's shop. When I was presented with the oppurtunity, I took it. I wanted to help the cause, I wanted to free my people. I will also admit that my desire to go was strenghtened when I saw the sister of Rahim; Laila. Her beauty (may Allah forgive me for looking at her in that way) immediately grasped me. Granted, I had only seen her eyes, but Y'Allah, what eyes. I didn't need to see anymore of her; I knew then that I loved her. And though shecan never return my love, I will always love her.
I've sidetracked enough, let me get back to the story. Akhmad had firmly said no, and was not willing to budge. But then, on the day before Rahim left, Akhmad's uncle, Ali, made a shocking decision. "To make sure cooler minds prevail," he said when he made his desicion. It was then that Akhmad decided that he too must go. He knew that Rahim might become too passionate, (he did not forsee the corruption yet) and would ruin the whole cause my doing something rash. He therefore, along with his uncle, decided to go. Rahim, who knew of Akhmad's great leadership, granted him co-leadership of the entire rebel army. Akhmad in turn, agreed to fight, but only when necessary. And even then, to a limited extent. His main goal was to secure freedom through diplomacy. And so, that's what he began working on.
When the war officially started, only a handful of Muslim countries supported our cause. The Russians had the help of their allies, but for the most part, most nations of the world were neutral. As I will tell you later, Akhmad slowly began to change that. He gained support for our side. But as I said, more on that later.
My introduction ends here. The events taht took place occured two years ago. The war had been going on for six months, and we were keeping our own. In no sense were we winning. But we were defintely not losing. And so, with that, let me begin the telling you of the tragedy that befell Akhmad Islamov.