A Patriot, A Rebel, A Martyr

 

 

It is a common sight, to see people preoccupied with their own lives, claiming the greatest tragedies to have befallen them at the slightest of insinuations. I am no different. But sometimes, one comes across a true hero, and fathoms the shallowness of one’s so called grave issues. The realization is as humiliating as it is inspiring, and it leaves a mark… somewhere deep inside, something changes, something is born, and something dies…

To say that Alexander Litvinenko was a hero would be just about as wrong as claiming the earth to be round. For someone who served the security services of the Russian Republic (first KGB and later FSB) for most of his life, standing in the line of fire fighting a lone battle against the very policy makers of the country wouldn’t have come easy. Even after fleeing to UK for safety (where he was given political asylum), he continued his accusations backed by facts that were hard to deny. His allegations were grim ones. From murders, to fake terror attacks to casting doubts at the very rise to power of Vladimir Putin, there were no bounds to what the man suggested. He also claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, a prominent member of the Al Qaeda, was trained for six months by the FSB. Litvineneko also alleged that the most heinous of terrorists were linked with the KGB-FSB. Every important post in every important ministry or industry is occupied by KGB or a former KGB man. To think of it, Putin too was an ex-KGB man… 

On Nov 1st, 2006, the man was poisoned under mysterious circumstances by a lethal yet uncommon Plutonium 210. It did not seem unbelievable, when Livineneko claimed the Russian Government to be behind his poisoning. Battling it out for about 3 weeks Litvinenko died on Nov 23rd. It was later revealed that the Russian Orthodox Christian had converted to Islam two days before his death to show his solidarity to the Chechan people who he believed were deeply wronged by the Russians.  

His death seems to have vindicated all that the man swore by in his lifetime. It is being seen as a message to all the other so called turn coats… The repercussions of defiance can be chilling… It marks the return of the Cloak and Dagger Days, though without much cloak…  

A day after his death, a statement dictated by Litvinenko to his friend was made public :

“I would like to thank many people. My doctors, nurses and hospital staff who are doing all they can for me, the British police who are pursuing my case with vigour and professionalism and are watching over me and my family. I would like to thank the British government for taking me under their care. I am honoured to be a British citizen.

I would like to thank the British public for their messages of support and for the interest they have shown in my plight.

I thank my wife Marina, who has stood by me. My love for her and our son knows no bounds.

But as I lie here I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death. I may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I would like. I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition.

You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed.

You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilised value.

You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilised men and women.

You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.”

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