Make bare the sword, oh people!
Come to our help:
Bid goodbye to sleep and quiet,
I call you in the name of Allah.
Imam Shamil's battle hymn.
Mountainous Landscape in Dagestan, Nischsnskov, Alexander, 19th Century.
Quote from book: Allah's mountains, the battle for Chechnya by Sebastian Smith.
“We did not come to Russia willingly, nor will we leave it willingly” (Avar poet Rasul Gamzatov)
While leading an adult English language conversation class in a Dagestani city, I asked my students: “What countries you have visited” They then listed the countries they had visited with one rather curious similarity: Every student started their list by saying: “I’ve been to Russia.”🤔
I took note of that comment and started noticing that it is common among Dagestani speech: “when I was in Russia last year.” “I’m going to Russia in the spring.” “She lives in Russia”
For those of you who might be foggy on the geography: Dagestan is a republic of Russia. My Dagestani friends are Russian citizens. They live, technically, in Russia. But they speak of it as a place they go to.
Dagestani history is very complicated and, to me, confusing.
For now, I have settled on these truths: 1. the Dagestani’s fought long, hard, and courageously for their freedom. 2. In the end they could not overpower the Russian army and in 1921 officially became the Dagestan Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic. 3. It has not always been smooth sailing since then.
I have wondered: after these 100 years, how do Dagestanis feel about Russia All I can offer is a few observations: 1. I have not yet met a Dagestani who is eager to be free once again. 2. However, as their speech displays, they are not Russian. They are Dagestani. 3. If you ask further, they will tell you: they are Avar, Lak, Kymuk, Nogai, Agul, etc. 4. If you ask further, they will say: I am from this village and this family and we have lived here for 100’s of years.✨
“We did not come to Russia willingly, nor will we leave it willingly”