When you think of Chechnya, what comes to mind? The long-standing civil war between Chechen separatists and the Russian government? Armed terrorists storming a parliamentary meeting? The 2004 assassination of Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov, killed when a landmine was detonated underneath his VIP platform during a World War Two memorial parade? Chechen terrorists, often women, committing suicide bombings? Chechen rebels taking a school full of children hostage in Beslan? The actions of the rebels, under the stewardship of Shamil Basayev, make it difficult for many people to view the Chechen conflict with much sympathy for the Chechen side.
Coca: the Dove from Chechnya, being shown as a part of the traveling Amnesty International Film Festival, aims to show the world a different side of the bloody and violent conflict, through the lens of another kind of weapon - the video cameras of a group of Chechen women. The film highlights footage collected since 1994 by Chechen activist Zainap Gashaeva, (nicknamed Coca, which means "dove") founder of a group called Echoes of War, a group of Chechen women documenting the atrocities the Russian government has committed against the Chechen people in their war on terror. Gashaeva is well-known in the international community for her tireless campaign to draw attention to the suffering of the Chechen people at the hands of the Russian government.