“UNCHECHEN”— The Terrifying Situation in Chechnya

“Unchechen”

The Terrifying Situation in Chechnya

Amos Lassen

We have been hearing horrifying reports about what is going on in Chechnya where gay men are undergoing a purge and being forced into the first concentration camps in Europe since the Second World War. When gay men are imprisoned and tortured, they are forced apparently to name other gay people. Most recently it has been claimed that at least 30 people have been killed, either by the authorities or by being outed to their families with the police suggesting the family take care of it. We have heard that a teenage boy was thrown from a ninth floor balcony by his uncle (who was following the wishes of other family members) after being outed to them by the authorities.

The Chechnyan government has insisted nothing has happened and there can’t be a purge as gay people don’t exist in Chechnya. Vladimir Putin was had intense international pressure put upon him to investigate do so but there’s l little evidence that he’ll do anything.

Take Back, a theatre collective led by Julie Hesmondhalgh, commissioned a stage version of Unchechen which was performed at Contact, Manchester in May 2017. The response to the piece was so strong that it created a momentum to film the piece, in order for it to reach a much wider audience. Stephen M Hornby, the original writer, adapted it for screen. Dean Gregory and Martin Green play the lead roles.

The men fleeing from what is happening in Chechnya are too terrified to go on camera and this film is really all that we have to fill the silence with something that attempts to make this crisis real and human.

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