I used to travel a lot in good old days. And I'm sure, no matter where you are going, the most exiting part of the traveling is to meet new people. My favorite group of country representatives are immigrants, they always have unbelievable stories to tell.
Once I found myself in the South of France occasionally and met there a big Chechen family. That was the hottest time in journalism for me so I didn't hesitate to interview this friendly and open people. I had never used the information they gave me for my work, because that would be literary unsafe to publish this for both me and them. As you know, Chechnya was in a long-term war with Russia, although it is a part of Russia.
This is the story of Dany, the youngest of three brothers I met.
He was born in a very influential family, I still want to keep their privacy and hide some names and facts. At the age of ten boys in Grozniy start to carry guns. The situation in the region was so severe, that it was not once in a while when people on the streets got killed accidentally. Dany told me what had they been doing for life, how had they processed the oil in barrels for sale on their back yard. I heard about this before, but never believed that was for real. People were dishonest and cruel, both sides Russians and Chechens.
When Dany got older he met a married couple of French journalists in Grozniy, who came there to report about the war. He invited them to his house, covered them up from the locals for three days, was driving them across the city in his tinted windows car, helped them to create a truthful reportage about what was happening around. When they left, his friends confessed that they were going to take this journalists captive. Then a lot of thing happened to him, Dany was forced to work for a dangerous grouping. That was thought times for him, he said that he could possibly kill somebody in skirmish, he was young and didn't know how to quit this. People at war turn real beasts.
When the situation got out of control and his comrades started die every day he decided to run away. He changed his life in 24 hours. He went to Moscow, alone without any personal belongings. Then he headed to France, illegally. He had never been abroad before. When he arrived to Paris, he called that journalists he saved couple of years before. It turned out that this couple was well-known in the country, they possessed their own TV Channel at that time. They were happy to give him home and help with the political shelter. He got a French passport and changed his name.
Passed more then ten years, Dany learned French, studied engineering, got good job, took his family to France, got married a woman who delivered a beautiful daughter. He is now very happy, still trying to forget the war time. I asked him if he was afraid of anything after all this horrors he had had to survive in Chehnya. He smiled and said: "I'm afraid to be alone".