>An article about me came out today by a rather unprepared and uniformed “journalist”. I actually feel sorry for him. How humiliated he must feel in front of his professional colleagues for writing such an insane story…. or maybe the more insane the better?
I reckon he was upset when I embarrassed him in the interview by reminding him that Chechnya was a republic, not a country. I also asked him how some journalists (hint, hint ) could be so ignorant and arrogant to imply that the Chechen Republic should not have any light / entertaining television programs and us western superiors should obviously have it all.
Poor fellow was so stirred up by the time we ended our conversation, I knew the article would be ridiculous with a hint of nasty sprinkled on top. Hahaha.
In the end he took things very personally. I know he couldn’t stand me, but here’s where things get interesting – and I don’t quite understand it….
He used nothing I mentioned in the interview that made him look bad ( which was the entire interview ) so, why in the world would he then make me even more popular by releasing the most sensational article online about me with the most flattering photo??!!!!!!
All I can say to him is – THANK YOU. Big kiss from me!!!!!! xoxoxox
Cutting and pasting quotes together randomly….talk about propaganda and sensationalism at it’s best!!!!
A Canadian ex-fashion model, known by some as the glamorous new face of Chechnya and by critics as a modern-day Tokyo Rose, came under criticism Friday by human rights groups over her promotion of strongman Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
Torontonian Chrystal Callahan, who has anchored a weekly news and entertainment program for Chechnya TV since last year, was described on a CNN profile broadcast this week as “Kadyrov’s most enthusiastic and visible western defender.”
But both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said her program, directed to Chechens both at home and abroad, provides a one-sided view of developments in the Russian republic.
Allison Gill, director of Human Rights Watch’s Moscow office, says she has no objection to Grozny TV using a westerner to promote locally and internationally the local government’s achievements in rebuilding the city devastated by two wars since 1994.
“What I find problematic is when that kind of attention is used to mask problems, to deny their existence and to do really nothing to resolve them,” Gill said Friday.
“It seems pretty clear she was hired solely for propaganda purposes.”
Amnesty International Moscow-based researcher Friederike Behr wouldn’t criticize Callahan directly, but said the Canadian is collaborating in an effort to present only one side of Chechnya’s evolution.
Kadyrov, a former warlord installed as president in 2007, is accused of direct involvement in torture, extrajudicial killing, and disappearances that continued in 2009, according to both human rights officials.
Callahan’s program, which she describes as “entertainment and light news,” focuses only on Kadyrov’s achievements.
She began one program by declaring in English, with her words translated into Russian with subtitles, that “the Chechen Republic is steadily becoming a region (that is an) example for other parts of Russia.” Callahan, saying she knows nothing about “rumours” of rights violations, said her state-funded program is intended to provide “uplifting” news for an area that has suffered deeply from war.
“I’m showing a side of the Chechen Republic that obviously no one has ever seen before,” she told Canwest News Service.
Callahan stresses that much of her work involves documenting Chechen culture, and she’s taken a first-person approach by driving a tractor, trying on head scarves worn by women in the Muslim republic, and even performing a folkloric dance while singing in Chechen.
But she does occasionally delve into politics.
In the CNN interview she stated bluntly that Kadyrov’s many critics, and various human rights groups, are wrong in accusing him of orchestrating the assassination in Austria last year of Chechen dissident Umar Israilov in Vienna.
Israilov, the Chechen president’s former bodyguard, went to the European Court of Human Rights to accuse Kadyrov of participating directly in kidnappings and torture.
“Do I think he killed him? Absolutely not. What would he have to gain by that?” Callahan told CNN.
She added: “If there’s no proof and there’s no concrete evidence, who cares?”
Callahan wouldn’t reveal to Canwest her age or anything about her family, though she confirmed she was born and raised in Toronto and spent most of her modelling career in Tokyo.
She said she was introduced to Chechnya while embarking on a career as a documentary-maker, and caught the attention of one of Kadyrov’s top aides after producing a documentary on young Chechen wrestlers.
Callahan appears to delight in her role, expressing her enthusiasm with a teenager-like tone in both her blog and in her conversation.
She describes individuals and events in Chechnya as “cool,” the “coolest,” and “awesome,” while critics are “such a drag” and jealous of the success of others.
People were so nice to her upon her arrival, she told CNN, that she concluded: “This place rules.”
Callahan said she has never gone on websites to learn more about rights violations in Chechnya, saying she’s too busy.
She also dismisses accusations that she’s a propagandist along the lines of Tokyo Rose, the generic name given to female Japanese whose radio commentaries were intended to sap the morale of allied troops during the Second World War.
“I’m out there driving tractors. I’m not a hard news journalist. I’m sure there are enough journalists covering that, all the negative aspects and the rumours.”