Monday, July 22, 2019

New Novel Describes How Chechens Ended Up in Jordan

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 19 – Maymune Shishani, the descendant of Chechens who were resettled in what is now Jordan in the early years of the 20th century, tells the story of her community in a new novel, The Tears of the Wolf.  The book was written in Arabic but a Russian translation is planned (

            Shishani’s novel is the first fictional retelling of the complicated history of the Chechen community in Jordan and as such makes an important contribution to the understanding not only of that group of Chechens but also to that of Chechens as a nation, dispelling many myths that Moscow has promoted and many accept without critical examination.

            The author told the Jordanian information agency Petra that in her book she sought to tell the story of “the strong love between the land, the Chechens and freedom” and about the ways in which these three things have interacted over time not only in Jordan but more generally (

            Reviewers, who consist mostly of Chechens writing on Facebook, have been extremely positive. Fazun al-Azrak from Amman says that the book achieves its goal of “dispelling all the myths about the supposed Chechen tendencies toward extremism, terrorism and bloodthirstiness.”

            Another, Lulu Asender, says that the book provides “answers to certain questions, in particular as to how the Russian government destroyed the land of our ancestors and forced them to leave their land.” And in its pages, “we find out how they chose Jordan and how much they suffered to end up there. Each Chechen family needs a copy of this book.”

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