When Chechen rebels took Moscow theatergoers hostage in October 2002, it tragically highlighted the ongoing conflict between Russia and its breakaway republic, Chechnya―a war that has claimed an estimated 200,000 Chechen lives in the past decade. Yet the true nature of the debacle lies behind the headlines. In The Oath, a heroic Chechen doctor relates his harrowing experiences in the line of fire to bear witness to this international calamity, and illuminates his remarkable people and their culture.
In 1994, when fighting threatened to break out in Chechnya, Baiev left his promising career in Russia to aid his countrymen. First, he worked in a Grozny hospital until it was destroyed by Russian shelling. Returning to his hometown of Alkhan Kala, he and his fellow villagers restored a clinic with his own funds, and he soon found himself the only doctor for 80,000 residents in six villages and 5,000 refugees. During the next six years, he worked without gas, electricity, or running water, with only local anesthetics, and at one point dressed wounds with sour cream or egg yolks when supplies ran out. He often donated his own blood for surgeries, and on one occasion performed sixty-seven amputations in forty-eight hours.
Although he mainly treated civilians, Baiev also cared for Russian soldiers and Chechen fighters alike, never allowing politics to interfere with his commitment to the Hippocratic oath. He harbored Russian deserters and Chechen rebels at great personal risk and single-handedly rescued a Russian doctor who was scheduled to be executed. For this, Baiev was nearly killed by both the Russian special forces and Chechen extremists. Only when the Russian Army ordered him arrested for treating a wounded rebel warlord did Baiev finally flee Chechnya.
Echoing through his memoir is the history of Chechnya, a Muslim nation the size of Connecticut with a population of one million. Baiev explains the roots of the Chechen- Russian conflict, dating back 400 years, and he brings to life his once-beautiful ancestral home of Makazhoi where his family clan goes back generations, steeped in ancient traditions that are an intriguing blend of mountain folklore―including blood vendettas, arranged marriages, the authority of village elders―and Muslim religious rituals. And he writes frankly about the challenges of assimilating into western culture and about the post-traumatic stress disorder that has debilitated him since the war began.
The Oath is an important eyewitness account of the reality of the Chechen-Russian conflict, in which countless atrocities have been committed against average Chechens in stark contrast to the Kremlin's portrayal of the conflict. It is also a searing, unforgettable memoir that is certain to become a classic in the literature of war.
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Told with immediacy and heart, The Oath is the story of a brave physician's dedication to saving lives in the Russia-Chechnya conflict.
In 1991, when the political conflict between Chechen insurgents and the Russian army began, Khassan Baiev was a wealthy plastic surgeon. But when Russia began to bomb his country, Baiev gave up safety and security and opened a small hospital in his hometown of Alkhan Kala. At times, the one-storey cement building was staffed by just six nurses and a handful of volunteers. Baiev was the sole physician.
Over the next six years, Baiev treated thousands of people under the most brutal conditions, using outdated tools and dwindling medical supplies, and with a constant threat of missiles overhead. A witness to the unspeakable horrors of war, Baiev treated anyone, Chechen or Russian, soldier or civilian. He became a marked man, hated by both sides in one of the world?s ugliest and least understood conflicts. After he treated a widely feared Chechen rebel leader, his home was looted and burned. A Chechen warlord stood him up against a wall and threatened to execute him for saving Russian soldiers.
Under threat from both sides, Baiev finally fled Chechnya early in 2000. Still tortured by the memories of his past, he has taken refuge in the USA. Throughout his whole ordeal, Khassan has maintained his commitment to medicine and medical ethics. When asked why he didn?t flee his country like so many others had done, he said, ?I could have left before the war. But where would I have gone? Where was I more needed than Chechnya??
“A real-life Hawkeye Pierce . . . [Khassan Baiev] has humanized the Chechens, whom others have portrayed as terrorists. Russian president Vladimir Putin has tried to equate Russia's fight against the Chechens with the U.S. battle against al-Qaida. Those who read this stirring memoir will be hard-pressed to see the situation so simply.” -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[ The Oath] gives American readers an important perspective to consider as our government's quest for support in the war on terror constrains it from condemning atrocities committed by allies . . . As in The Pianist, one marvels at how a man can continually escape seemingly certain death and persevere under the most perverse conditions . .. Humanity behind the headlines -- an eye-opener.” -- Booklist, starred review
“A compelling portrait of the Chechen people and the effects of war on innocent victims, demonstrating the depths to which human beings can sink and the heights to which they can rise.” -- Kirkus Reviews
" The Oath is a heart wrenching, superbly written and gripping account of one of the most brutal, and forgotten, wars of the past decade. Dr Khassan Baiev is a living hero whose story is simultaneously inspiring, horrifying and impossible to put down. This is a profoundly insightful and compelling book that deserves to be widely read." -- Dr Eric Hoskins and Dr Samantha Nutt, President and Executive Director, War Child Canada
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Descripción Walker Books, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110802714048
Descripción Estado de conservación: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 97808027140461.0
Descripción Walker Books. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0802714048 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.0453513