Yola Monakhova: May 13th is Uzbekistan’s 9/11

by Laurence on 6/7/2005

In an interview in Ferghana.Ru, New York Times photographer Yola Monakhova describes the scenes she witnessed in Andijan:

Where magnitude of the event is concerned, the Andizhan massacre may only challenge what happened in New York on September 11. History of America is divided into life before and after September 11, and the events in Andizhan on May 13 also divided history of the country into before and after. It cannot be changed anymore.

Monakhova is no stranger to trouble. According to Photo District News, while on assignment for the Associated Press in Bethlehem in November, 2000, she was shot in the abdomen while photographing stone-throwing Palestinian youths in a confrontation with the Israeli army. The Israelis later disciplined the soldier and apologized to her. Here’s the AP report:

On the day she was shot, Monakhov had gone to look around the streets surrounding Rachel’s Tomb, a religious site revered by both Jews and Muslims and a frequent flashpoint of violence on the main road into Bethlehem.

The shooting occurred on a small street parallel to the main road, where a day earlier an Israeli soldier, Sgt. Shahar Vekret, had been killed by Palestinian gunfire – in virtually the same spot where Monakhov was shot. The army noted in its report Dec. 8 that Vekret’s death had created a “very tense” atmosphere in the area.

Monakhov had been standing with a group of about five Palestinian youths who were hurling some stones over buildings, toward an Israeli army post, with their slingshots. The Israeli troops were not in view.

She said one soldier suddenly appeared around a corner and she ran along with one of the youths toward a closed gate and tried to take cover in its shallow recess. Then she saw the soldier fire a single shot, directly at her.

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