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A Polish border tragedy

Mark Mardell | 22:23 UK time, Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Another year, another border.
Camera-van on the Polish border

I am out in south-east Poland with the border guards.

Their camera-van sits in a snowy field surrounded by hayricks, scanning for anyone trying to cross the border illegally.

With such a long border it seems an almost hopeless task and the amount of money spent here just doesn’t compare with the cash pumped into the Slovak border which I visited at the end of last year .

More of that side of the story in my report for the Ten O’Clock News, which I hope will go out on Friday.

Just a few miles away, the forest is like a scene from a Christmas card: tall fir trees are decorated with a scattering of snow on their branches.

It’s very beautiful. But this is treacherous country.

The last people the border guards caught, just before the holiday, were two men from Georgia . One was in a coma, the other managed to ‘phone for help before he too collapsed.

Kamisa's story

But the story that tore me up happened sometime before, in September, and was well publicised in Poland at the time.

This is what happened to thirty-six year-old Kamisa.
She is from Chechnya and wanted a better life for her four children.

She was afraid to go on living in Grozny. One of her daughters was sick and education was poor. So she decided to go to Slovakia and make her way to Austria where many of her husband’s family live.

She paid a man in Moscow $2,700. He drove her and her two-year-old son and daughters of 9, 12 and 14 for many hours.

He would not stop or let them out. Eventually he reached what he said was the border with Slovakia and let them out and told them to be on their way.

It was pouring with rain. She and the children walked from one hill to the next, until they were soaked.

Eventually they couldn’t go on any longer and stopped in a forest within sight of what turned out to be the Polish border.

They had a loaf of bread, sausage and some Snickers bars but the food was soon gone.

They had nothing to drink. There was no let-up in the wind and the rain. Her mobile phone wouldn’t work because it was saturated with rain and, although she knew her husband was texting her, she couldn’t read the messages.

She thinks she was there for four days. She didn’t want to go to get help and leave the children, for fear of animals and patrol dogs.

Her nine year-old daughter was in a coma but it was the 14 year-old who died first.

No help

Kamisa was crying and shouting and screaming for help, but none came.

Eventually she took her boy, covered the girls with forest leaves and said goodbye.

The 12 year-old knew what was happening.

Kamisa thought it best to save one child and hoped that she would reach help in time for the others.

But she stumbled around for a while until she came on the border guards and, by the time help arrived, her three daughters had died.

Polish border guards

She and her son have recovered and her husband has joined her in Poland where they have applied for asylum.

Few Chechen asylum seekers are granted that status but her case may be different.

People trafficking

In Britain at least, the authorities would portray this tragedy as a lesson in the evils of what they insist on calling “people trafficking” but perhaps it is more complex than that.

People will always want to move to safer more prosperous parts of the world. And governments and many people from those safer and more prosperous places will probably always want to stop them.

So I don’t know what to think, except that it rips me up to think of a woman stumbling around in the dark, crying over the bodies of her children who died because she wanted to give them a better life.

Comments   Post your comment

My goodness, what a tragic story. Thank you for sharing that, Mark. It's an eye-opener to the reality of the struggle that many people face trying to make a better life for themselves.

  • 2.
  • At 07:41 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Maggi Stephenson wrote:

There,but for the Grace of God go I .

Let them all in and give help to those that need it.

P.S. To remember Karma won't hurt
And one more thing : please no pathetic, self-serving stories about
"the lifestyle being damaged" in YOUR
country,or the "foreginers" taking this or that away from you and bursting your selfish bubble.
I have one word for all :EMPATHY

  • 3.
  • At 09:43 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • George smith wrote:

why would anyone want to come to the eu its the most undemocratic thing in the world being forced on its people without consent FREEEDOMMM we want from this rubbish group we dont want the EU Gordon get to grip with public opinion or should i say take a look at your opinion polls roll on Tory Goverment free us from the evil EU and save Britain.EU beware of a Tory Goverment come on DAVID GET BROWN OUT

  • 4.
  • At 09:44 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Chris Vaczy wrote:

It is high time to realize that the traditional methods for assessing the asylum seekers on the basis of the situation in their countries and whether or not they got help from person involved in trafficking will not work anymore.

Even if that is very challenging for the states involved the asylum seekers should be assessed on person or family basis.

  • 5.
  • At 09:59 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

A touching story and she is not poor or lacking in purpose.

If she is allowed to stay there will be many more stories like this.

  • 6.
  • At 10:45 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • matthew wrote:

I thought people trafficking was the forced migration of people? To work as prostitutes or cockle pickers or whatever. Kamisa's story sounds like people smuggling.
There is a difference between the two, but a very sad story nonetheless.

  • 7.
  • At 11:10 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Toivo Klaar wrote:

I share your sorrow for the poor woman. However, I would look at her story from a different angle. It is indeed not very different from that of the uncounted thousands who have drowned in risky crossings across the Mediterranean to find a better life in Europe. But to me this is but a symptom of a malaise that can perhaps be captured with the words "bad governance". It is bad governance and a lack of reasonable oportunities that has driven these people to attempt risky crossings into the EU. "Humanizing borders", to coin a phrase, is not the answer, since it would only address the symptoms. The only way to seriously reduce the number of such tragic incidents is for the EU to address the root causes and to do much more to promote good governance in the countries of origin.

  • 8.
  • At 11:35 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Murasaki Shikibu wrote:

I like to read what you write because I can feel compassion and humility underneath your intelligent observations and analysis. Many journalists tend to be judgemental and arrogant.

Maybe you're just a good person deep inside who's doing his best to do a good job and make a small difference in this world filled with horrors and contradictions. :)

  • 9.
  • At 11:56 AM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Carl F wrote:

As you say Mark, people will risk anything for a better life when their's is so miserable. Imagine the desperation that must drive you from your home, with your children in tow to take such risks.

As describes, Have a look at the following BBC article article to see what it means to live on thess than a dollar a day and you can start to understand why people do it.

  • 10.
  • At 12:44 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Aubain wrote:

You do not need to think; just keep telling these stories, allow people to hear the screams of a mother when her kids are dying in front of her eyes, incapable, empty, by then just a non entity; a mother, that we have already catalogued as sacra therefore sacrificial.
Then, keep recording these accidents, keep piling those numbers and maybe an attentive reader may realize “that boundaries are all lies” in the word of a native American writer, Linda Hogan, that boundaries require a certain amount of blood even if they do not stop anyone (cfr. Ceuta and Melilla in October 2005 for instance), because that, it is not their reason d’être.
But aren’t boundaries essential? Don’t establish necessary limits and set the terms for restrain? Then what does keep the world from formlessness and chaos? What does keep us safe from them? Yesterday they were Rumanians, before Italians, now Ukrainians; it does not really matter.
Nobody will ever hear Kamisa crying for her babies; only the silence of our seclusion will wake us up, but probably too late to realize that before boundaries were patterns, ancient, ongoing, organic patterns that connect us in relations of reciprocity.

  • 11.
  • At 04:21 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • sasha wrote:

This is a good story about how far some people go trying to improve their lifes. That woman, Kamisa, preferred to risk her child's life and go to Austria, where she would get benefits and housing. She could simply go to any place in Russia outside Chechnya and live like everybody else, who work hard and don't complain.
I just wonder how come those people get asylim before they even try to live outside Chechnya? Russia is the biggest contry after all and takes millions of immigrants, who come to work every year. By the way, there are agencies in Russia which prepare all necessary documents, such as indimidating letters and phone call records, proof of residency in Grozny etc, for successful asylim in the EU.
Be kind but don't be naive.

  • 12.
  • At 05:53 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

If any of European peoples deserve asylum as genuine refugees it's Chechens. Here's hoping that the Polish premier, Mr. Tusk, would recall a meaning of "Solidarity" in view of his own nation's desperate and tragic efforts to free itself from Russia's yoke for almost two hundred years, just like peoples of Caucasus have been repeatedly trying. After all Poland granted asylum to hundreds of Hungarian refugees when Moscow toppled in blood their uprising in 1956.

  • 13.
  • At 07:40 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Marshall Lentini wrote:

Not everyone can live in Europe. Instead of propagandizing Europeans with this story, it should be printed up on leaflets and put on local television to discourage would-be migrants from leaving their territory. What motivates these people to move is not so much unbearable conditions in their territory, but the comparative ease of the West: the spectre of a life more bourgeois will compel a hapless woman with four youngsters to undertake a ridiculous voyage in Winter across Europe to a country not presently known for its welcoming posture toward immigrants. Cost of asylum: three dead girls. This is not bravery, it is reckless stupidity. But it proves people will do anything for a slice of the pie.

  • 14.
  • At 10:35 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Sam wrote:

The big problem of tackling the root problems and not the symptoms is that it would require for example, eliminating the heavy subsidies to EU farmers which drive farmers in developing countries out of the market and into misery.

A move like that would create a huge problem in the EU and EU and US politicians have to take care of their own people, no matter how many tragedies happen each year in Eastern Europe and South USA borders.

So despite the horrors we will still have guards, dogs, and barbwire fences, which are easier and cheaper to implement, in EU and US borders for many many years to come.

  • 15.
  • At 11:47 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • Michael Anthony Aleksandrowicz wrote:

To be brutal, but frank - as long as Russia is heavily armed and within its borders there are oil, gas and plenty of minerals NO ONE will stop extermination of Chechen nation. Who cares about small nation that wants to be independent? Who will, for sake of them, start a next global-range war?

  • 16.
  • At 11:50 PM on 10 Jan 2008,
  • colin wrote:

As sad as this story is, I have every sympathy, she could have stayed in Ukraine, the problem is the EU CANNOT take the whole world in, we are not limitless in Living Space , Money, Health service, Schooling, its impossible, if they all get in, they will destroy the very thing they want.

It would be far better they resolve their own country first than to come here as economic refugees, the Asylum system is being abused so we must be harsher and sent them all back, we cannot go on, we don't have all the money to pay for this.

  • 17.
  • At 05:33 AM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

Sasha, muslims in Russia face discrimination. A skinhead can kill a muslim or a person of darker skin color and get only 2 to 3 years for it because Putin supports these groups. These nazi groups get their parades but if these muslims or anti-putinists stage their parades, they get violently beaten.

  • 18.
  • At 06:50 AM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • Debbie Curnes wrote:

How long before white English people go crying and begging for asylum somewhere? The next world wide recession/depression should do it. Maybe Australia or Canada will put REAL English people at the top of their asylum lists??

Human tragedy, something needs to be done in order to make sure it won't happen again

  • 20.
  • At 11:16 AM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • sasha wrote:

To Mirek,
Just for your information, majority of Caucasus nations (the Georgians, Armenians and Azeris) are independent from Russia for 15 years. Yet, they are making one of the biggest immigration groups going to Russia, working oftern illegally, and desperate to become Russian citizens.
Just go to Russia and see it yourself.

Your story about people of Caucasus trying to break away from Russia is a bit out of date. You've become influenced by the traditionally anti-Russian Western media (it sells better this way).

  • 21.
  • At 12:44 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • nooneuno wrote:

Why is it that you are hiring reporters who obviously are not english speaking? This article was not written in a non-biased manner (more with the "pity-me and the rest of us" slant, not at all a-typical coming from persons from that part of the planet); it was not even written in proper english, or with correct grammer. With so many competent english-speaking journalists out there, why are you getting your articles from someone who doesnt speak (or write) at a level competent on par with a 2nd year grammer school child? This does not lend the bbc much credibility; not to mention that you (the bbc) are not exactly a an independent, non-partisian organization, rather you ARE the voice of the English government, you are a branch of the English goverment, your paychecks all come directly from the English government (actually from the UK government, then again, which country controls the UK?), and your bbc headquarters in London (at Whitehall) are heavily guarded by your government's military police. Why would anyone be fooled into thinking that your news is actually news, given the source?

  • 22.
  • At 03:42 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • JS wrote:

In response to "nooneuno"'s post - look at your own grammar and spelling then criticise others.

  • 23.
  • At 07:13 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • nfb wrote:

Really, something fishy about this story. There are huge Chechen diaspora inside Russia itself. Why didn't she go to Karelia or Moscow Region where are thousands of Chechen live closely? Why not to go to independent Human Rights Protection agencies and ask to help to migrate legally? There are plenty of them in Moscow. Yet she decides to put her children life in danger and eventually kills three of them. This woman is a criminal and should be in prison for life.

Sorry, this time tear jerkin session has failed.

  • 24.
  • At 07:14 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • HS wrote:

A country like Poland starts
taking in asylum seekers and
who knows what kind of people
with unknown pasts, is completely unreasonable. Well,in that case Poland will not get out
of its problems for another twenty years. Why doesn't the Polish government help all those
thousands, or should I say millions of
Polish people who are deprived in so
many ways? Polish people who really
need the government's assistance aren't getting it. Instead of concentrating on some
kind of asylum seeker, it's about time the government solves its own problems that still haven't been resolved --- instead of adding new difficulities. Why doesn't the Polish government make the Poles comfortable in their home country? If Poland cared about its people, they wouldn't have to leave as they are leaving now.

  • 25.
  • At 07:18 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • Marco Borg wrote:

The above case is very sad. But it shouldn't be used to relax borders. Anyway as Mark has ponted out the border
couldn't be more relaxed. At the moment border guards seem more intent to quote some Euro law behind which they can hide and do nothing.
The Poles know that most Chechens will go to London or other places where Moslems are aware that if you have a large family you get child benefit for every child, rent paid, unemployment benefit etc and so there is no need to do such a humdrum thing as work, but of course you should never forget that English are Infidels.
My sympathy is not for Chechens but for others especially Londoners who are finding that their city is becoming Londonstan.

  • 26.
  • At 07:49 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • Princeooooooooooo wrote:

kamisa may the gentle soul of your kids rest in peace.

  • 27.
  • At 08:15 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • Steven, Ottawa, Ontario wrote:

Have no doubts the nice hard-working warm-hearted well-educated and law-abide Muslim Chechens are bringing in the prosperity to the honourable Poland and all the reminiscences of the past Austrian and German yokes would disappear at last.

  • 28.
  • At 11:44 PM on 11 Jan 2008,
  • emilia wrote:

Dear News 24
Tonight on news 24 i feel that poland is very racist towards other countries because its very sad that Poland is not excepting their neighbours from other countries into poland to stay and work in Poland as they are stopping them at the Polish border. The polish have to remember that they are now a member of the EU now since the 1st May 2004 when their own country is almost empty with their own people because they all came over to work and stay in the UK. Poland has always been a very poor country there is a lot of jobs now in Poland and a lot of empty house for other countries to fill up the spaces for them but tonight on news 24. I feel that Poland is only for their own polish people and not for other countries when the UK excepts anyone from any country but the UK has excepted every one from Poland. As there is nothing in Poland anyway

  • 29.
  • At 12:15 AM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Jan wrote:

After all the coments made, pro and con,the sad fact remains. Three children are dead. You may give your whole political point of view and your believes on these coments, but one thing remains.Three children are dead. You write in these coments why people should not imigrate,why it is better for them and you to stay put. You write how this imigration unbalances the economic situation and makes life harder on you.But those three girls are still dead. Maybe one day we will all wake up from this "My Place" mentality and realize, that it's the People that matter, not thier country of origin. Not the place of thier birth, not financial status, but thier worth as living people. Wheather you like it or not, we are all cousins.Count your blessings and share them with those who are in need.

  • 30.
  • At 12:38 AM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

While I feel sorry for such a tragic loss of her children, this lady should have thought twice before dragging her sick children into a rainy forest with little food and not even knowing where to go.

The bias in this article is obvious as in most of the Western media. Nobody persecutes women and children in Chechnya and it has been rebuilding and stabilizing over the past five years. While you can't call it a prosperous place, it is absolutely ignorant to compare it with destitute North-African countries. What is even more troublesome is that she jeopardized her children's lives for an economic opportunity. It states clearly that she wanted to join her husband's relatives in Austria.

Sad, very sad and completely unnecessary loss of life.

  • 31.
  • At 01:41 AM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Stan wrote:

#15, Peter:

Muslims don't face any discrimination in Russia but the reverse discrimination, as blacks do in the United States. Majority of so-called "skinheads" are soccer fans, who're going to backstab and beat up to death anyone regardless of skin color. The fans are getting very little prison sentences not because of Putin's order but due to improper laws.

In fact, muslims who shot or cut innocent people to death after some kind of street brawling are far more common then so-called "skinhead killings". Because the mafia in Russia large cities is almost 100% muslim, that simple.

This chechen women, Kamisa, is murderess of her dauthers.

  • 33.
  • At 01:22 PM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Marcel wrote:

@Sam (13)

exactly, much of the misery of non EU farmers and fishermen can be directly related to the criminal policies of Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies.

Those policies were designed to protect French farmers and Spanish fishermen from competition. In fact, almost all African farmers and fishermen would be better off if we disbanded the EU today. Let's do it for them! The word here is empathy. Anyone who wants to keep the EU should be branded an African hating racist. They are to blame that we will have to turn people away. We can't provide for the whole world.

  • 34.
  • At 06:00 PM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Mike wrote:

Be nice but be smart. Limited resources is a fact. If you feel guilty for living in a society of the "haves" then move to the third world and let one of their "have-nots" take your place. Or, perhaps you could take in a nice family from Chechnya to live in your house--just check the AK-47 at the door. Don't complain, do something. Otherwise you're no more effective than our impotent politicians prove to be.

  • 35.
  • At 10:32 PM on 12 Jan 2008,
  • Tom Baldyga wrote:

This is a very serious human tragedy. I feel the blame rest squarely on Vladimir Putin and the Russian people who overwhemingly support him. Russia has always been and forever will be a place where human rights and basic dignity are tossed aside in favor of the Czar, Dictator, President, Prime Minister or whomever else assumes power.
World opinion needs to condemn Russia and demand human tragedy like the one sited in your article be avoided or face economic isolation from the rest of the modern world.

The concept of "borders" as they exist on the continent is a difficult if not impossible notion for the inhabitants of British isles to grasp.

  • 37.
  • At 01:53 AM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • Gabriella Beres wrote:

I grew up in a communist regime, with most of my relatives having emigrating abroad. My mother was faced a difficult life for a single-mother (being divorced and not being a member of a Communist Party was like an outcast of the society). Yet when I asked her as an adult why she wouldnt try to emigrate with me and my sister accross the border for a better life she replied that she didnt feel confident she would make the trip across the mountains with two kids. She chose a poor life over possible death. Now 20 years later after the end of communism era she is still here, able to enjoy her life and her grandchildren.

  • 38.
  • At 01:11 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • Mikhail wrote:

Crossing border is a really serious task.
Where were guys from her tribe. Where were adequite preparetions. Money was spent for something not understandable and not needed.
We,Russian citizens, don't need visa to go to Ukraine or Belorussia.
But possibly now it would be better to stay at home, improve their life here and use the financial stream which goes to Chechnya now.

  • 39.
  • At 02:41 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • Ed Ralph wrote:

What a tragic story. I understand very well the reasons why people come to Europe and I cannot blame them for it.

However a Europe of three million cannot possibly open its borders to a world of six or seven thousand million and rapidly increasing. All that would achieve would be to bring the problems these people wish to flee to Europe and turn it into the Third World.

The only real solution to these problems is to try and help these countries become more peaceful and properous though that is a long term prospect.

The concept of "borders" as they exist on the continent is a difficult if not impossible notion for the inhabitants of British isles to grasp.

  • 41.
  • At 11:43 PM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • mleko wrote:

TO Sasha:
It's everything about every free man life: to work hard and do not complain. Buhahahaha. Probaby it's all about men life in Russia. It's a pitty that you cannot even complain. Shasha, write more post faster, enjoy Internet (last objective media accessible in Russia) better before they ban in Russia "bad western Europe" services, and do not believe in the govs official reports, because 90% people in Russia lives below threshold of poverty.

  • 42.
  • At 09:07 AM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Rohabn wrote:

To Mr.Sasha

Russia is a banana republic, u gotta admit it.If the conditions are so nice why do we see so many Russians desperate to go out of Russia and live in europe?Why do you see so many websites "Russian women looking for [xxx] man for romance and marriage".
where xxx could be any properous nation in EU.
So just admit that there is a problem in Russia with life!Rather than finding problems in the West, try to clean the mess in your country first!

  • 43.
  • At 09:53 AM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

"Your story about people of Caucasus trying to break away from Russia is a bit out of date." [#19]

You're right. The last news I heard about anti-Moscow protests in Dagestan and an arrest of GRU "instructors" in Georgian Abkhazia are at least couple of weeks old.

And a fact that over 99% of Chechens have supported Mr. Putin and his party in recent elections indicates better than anything else how happy they are with being a part of Russian Federation.

  • 44.
  • At 06:46 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Zhorka wrote:

Robabn wrote:
Why do you see so many websites "Russian women looking for [xxx] man for romance and marriage".

Robabn, my guess is that you find so many of such websites because you are looking for them.

Mirek Kondracki wrote: And a fact that over 99% of Chechens have supported Mr. Putin and his party in recent elections indicates better than anything else how happy they are with being a part of Russian Federation.

One could not put it better, Mirek. Yes, 99% of Chechens connect their better future with their republic being part of the Russian Federation. 1% chose to be a refugee in Poland, Austria; some of this 1% continue to kill their compatriots in N Caucasus, hoping that this will give them a green light for refugee status (after they get enough money for their mercenary services from their keepers).

  • 45.
  • At 07:26 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • MichealO'Riain wrote:

If poor, can you afford $2700? Europe cannot absorb Asia or Africa without resembling it and joining the third world. Europe would be better if the aliens were deported along with bleeding heart liberals worried about alien "rights" not responsibilities.

  • 46.
  • At 07:48 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

By putting her children into grave danger and causing them to die, she broke the law. They should bring homicide charges against her and refuse her plea for asylum. No parent has the right to take their kids to wilderness and leave them without food and protection out there. Just because it was her own children that she killed and failed to calculate the risks, she shouldn't be exonerated. It's serious child neglect at the least and unintentional man-slaughter.

  • 47.
  • At 07:57 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan Tuffin wrote:

I am sickened by the self righteousness of people who would make a warning to other immigrants out of this story. Whenever the word "immigration" comes up, there's a knee jerk response of bigotry, superiority, and racism. I would like to see these well fed, morally complacent idiots cope for one day with the lives of the people who make up the majority of the rest of the world. If you were impoverished, trapped in a state run by thugs or incompetents, without opportunity, wouldn't you want to escape? Isn't it legitimate to try for a better life?

Life is cheap there. So they must be used to that fact, right? Better able to deal with it than we could be expected to be...

We can't wash our hands of these people - of these human stories - without making a value judgement that their lives are not worth the same as ours are.

There was a two page colour spread in the centre of the News of the World last weekend showing a photograph of immigrants in Calais, waiting to try and illegally enter Britain. They were being rationed food by the French authorities. Most of them looked to be Central Asian. The headline, printed in big letters over the photograph, read "Scum And Get It."

....and this is okay? This is acceptable, to think like this? People should be ashamed.

  • 48.
  • At 09:01 AM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • alien wrote:

What kind of a husband is he that lets his 'loved one' wander about in wild woods, in a foreign land, in a dangerous zone where anyone may be shot dead on the spot, all by her own self, with their four precious little children in tow - himself sitting comfortably in a cosy apartment in the fabulous West, waiting for them? For crying out loud.

What kind of a mother is she that brings her four little children with her into a wild forest, watches them die, one after another, and does nothing to get outside help, seeing as she probably can't help them on her own? What does she think she's doing? Sacrificing her children for the sake of some mythical 'freedom' - or worse, 'welfare' - for herself?

And please don't draw any war-time parallels: Russia is NOT 1940s Nazi Germany, and the woman's not a representative of some hunted-down minority doomed to death in gas chambers for no other 'guilt' than her nationality/race.

The entire business is beyond me.

  • 49.
  • At 09:02 AM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Only the people who don't know Russian realities can believe in this story. Every Russian citizen can live in every Rusian city. Chechens who don't want to live in Grozny live in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and all big cities. They have a buisness, their children study in Russian universities. Why did Kamisa decide to go to Austria? Why did her husband and his relatives live in this Europe country? Probably he is terrorist or just ordinary bandit and he disappears from Russian justice. It's terribly that three girls died, but the only ones who are gilty in their death are their parents.

  • 50.
  • At 09:08 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • DR wrote:

Hey people. I'm Russian , I lived for 25 years in Europe. Now I live in United States for 7 years. I know both worlds west and east. First of all the most comments of this article has been written by people who know nothing about Russian life and Chechenian life. Yes,Russia was very poor at 1990..,because of mafia like Berezovsky or alcoholic Jelcin. Now it's gets much better. It first. Other thing go to Chechnia and check it out. You don't believe me?? Go over there and check it! When you'll kidnapped there beacause you are Europeans or Americans,and you family can pay for your life,you will understand me! Just go and take a look on these people,and after that write here again. They are racketing all Russian market in Moscow. And now they trying to take over Europe. Believe me,Europeans, it can be too late,when when crime in Europe increase a lot!!! Check crime statistic in Russia!
And one more think,normal women,mater NEVER go with her children across the border! First what do NORMAL mater she save kids. In Russia situation is NOT so bad ,that some stupid mater should do it!
People in Russia have enough food ,work and a lot of thinks. My friend just moved back to Russia from USA. He lived here almost 10 years. He told me first 6 month was hard,but now he doesn't want to go to USA. He said that Russia is growing and much more opportunity for him there then in USA. So it's not so bad,how think some people. Chechenians are citizens on Russia,and the can life all over the Russia ,work and study. And also a lot of organizations which helps this kind of people. Just search in Internet and you will see it.

  • 51.
  • At 11:38 PM on 15 Jan 2008,
  • oktawian wrote:

I just would wish the poles were given a break on this much as I am truly shocked by this tragedy and fully sympathize with this lady's motivation for migrating, I also feel people here in poland can in no way be blamed for this most unfortunate event...poland hasn't exactly had what you call 'good press' lately plus it is rather easy to stick peace...

  • 52.
  • At 12:19 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

It is heart warming indeed to read that there'll be a shortage of sausages during Euro 2008 due to EU strictly protecting its borders from illegal Brazilian sausage wrappers.

Not to mention illegal Windows Internet browsers Bill Gates try to sneak in to EU for free.

  • 53.
  • At 04:33 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Iain Connochie wrote:

2 sheep are in a field with a protective fence, they graze & enjoy life & the freedoms of the field & the habits of living. Over time the sheep habitually procreate making their numbers larger when eventually the freedom of the field is restricted because of overcrowding, also the sheep beguin to get thinner because there is not enough lush grass to go round. There is much luck in being in the right place where lush grass is found but again many cannot reach it because numbers are to many and the strong fight & keep it for themselves. Some of the sheep begin to weaken and some start to die, others try to escape to find new fields. Because they are weak their eyesight is not so good so are unable to recognise wolves when wolves promise to help them from their misery. Though some know not to trust the unknown they are so desperate that they have nothing to lose. The scared sheep only have their winter coats that they can use as payment so knowing that once they arrive at the new field they will get new coats they give up their coats as payment. They gather their immediate young who are already weak with hunger and are taken on a journey to a promised new field where the grass is green & lush. On the journey far away from their home field the wolf carrying their coats points them to the next hill, promising the new lush field is on the other side. Full of excitement the trusting sheep head in the direction of the hill, eventually reaching its peak and look down upon nothing except more barren hills. They turn but see that the wolf is nowhere in sight. They have no choice but to go on and travel across many hills with not a field in sight. Weak with hunger they begin to slow and as they slow their bodys stop producing warmth, the young suffer the most as they are the weakest. Some habits die hard but being strong for the young the mother sheep knows that she must do all she can to find help for the survival of her young. She huddles her young so they can share in each others diminishing warmth. As she wanders off to look for help she remembers past times when the home field was so joyful and full of lush grass with plenty to go round and procreation habits were many. If only I could understand where it all went wrong, she thought, I would warn all the fields in the world so they did not have to look forward to the same misery!

  • 54.
  • At 07:59 PM on 16 Jan 2008,
  • Liam wrote:

#15 Jonathan!
I bow down to your superior intellect. You rise above all the self righteous, the bigots and the morally complacent idiots in this country.
But you didn't actually say what your solution to the problem is.
Let everyone into the UK?
I think thats what you imply.

The trouble is, within a few years, this country would be transformed into "a state run by thugs or incompetents". "A place without opportunity that we'd all want to escape from".
We're half way there already.
And personally, I wouldn't travel all the way across Europe to get to Britain. I'm sure there's a lot better places on the way.
I wonder if they think they'll get a few freebies here.

  • 55.
  • At 10:23 AM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Susan wrote:

So the Polish authorities are sheltering a woman who caused the death of three young girls, citizens of the Russian Federation, by her willful negligence, economic ambition, and stupidity. Surely only in Poland, a country evidently not yet suited for EU membership and backed in that application by Bush and Blair to move the political balance of the union to the right, boost Vatican influence and to cause friction with Russia, could it be thought reasonable to drag four children, one already ill, thousands of miles across Eastern Europe in mid-winter in attempting a border crossing? Surely only Poles would maintain that medical care for a child, and "better education" were not available some point nearer to their point of origin? Have not medical care and education always been priorities in post-revolutionary Russian culture? Might it be fair to suspect the point of issue for the staunchly religious Polish authorities could be that anywhere east of them is less religious, and so a "place of persecution of christianity"? And it is Poland that now has care of our eastern border!

  • 56.
  • At 09:26 PM on 17 Jan 2008,
  • Michael Joe Thannisch wrote:

It is a sad story, but if people freely leave their old country for a better life elsewhere, then their old country will never change. Mexico demands that the US open up our borders, but as rich as Mexico is (and some people in some Mexican State governments have stated this as well) it is shameful that people have to come to the US to work.

We saw the same thing in Europe when there was massive migration to the US, Canada, and other places, when the emmigation stopped, changes started to happen.

  • 57.
  • At 07:26 AM on 19 Jan 2008,
  • Maggi Stephenson wrote:

About comment #55 (Susan) cont.

In my haste I forgot to say perhaps the most important thing:

If "Susan" or anyone else ever will come across a person dying in their desperate attempt to escape from Poland to the wander-filled land that is Russia - than I sincerely hope that they will provide them with all the help they need.

  • 58.
  • At 02:37 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

Re #56

Had corrupt Mexican governments not exported their massive unemployment to El Norte (which they do intentionally, even disseminating maps indicating best places to cross without US Border Patrols noticing) they would have been toppled long time ago by another Mexican Revolution. And they know it.

  • 59.
  • At 10:28 PM on 24 Jan 2008,
  • Alina Zoz wrote:

That's a very sad story and it makes ME mad - because it happens a lot of times - and not only in eastern Europe, but surrounding every frontier.
BREAK DOWN all the borders, safe many lifes and give EVERYBODY the right to live the same life!

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