Cat – bread – gun – Grozny is a “rather chilling photo with a cat in it” (Marc).
This is, indeed, a chilling photo. It is a great photo that is hidden away on Wikipedia. The photographer is Mikhail Evstafiev (Mikhail appears to be Finnish) – the link takes you to the Wikipedia image. He titles the photo: A Chechen man picks up a loaf of bread in Grozny. In Finnish he calls it: Tšetšeenimies hakee leipää Groznyissa.
With the introduction out of the way, here is the picture:
What does it say? Does it talk to you? For me it neatly encapsulates the cat in the human world, which appears to be becoming increasingly violent and dysfunctional. The cat is passive and accepting, forced as he is to remain in the human world that, for him, is far from ideal as evidenced by the Chechen man who a carries a gun for protection while shopping for bread.
The shop looks very sparse by Western standards. The man carries his gun openly. Chechnya is going through the Second Chechen War. It kicked off with a desire to be independent of Russia. The claim for independence was instigated by the Islamic International Brigade (IIPB), which was crushed by Russian forces.
Chechnya continues to be a federal subject of Russia, just as Putin likes it. The Russians like their cats. They have a fairly active cat fancy and some very keen cat breeders.
Looking at this orange bicolor cat, which appears to have no real home, life in Chechnya is not ideal for a domestic cat. Islam is the major religion in Chechnya. That should serve the domestic cats well because Muslims are meant to treat cats nicely. However, it seems highly unlikely that it happens under these circumstances created by people.
Update: I have just learned that the Boston marathon bombers were Chechen Muslims – two brothers. One has been shot dead by police in a chase. The other is on the run (18:15 19th April 2013 GMT)
Note: I’d like to thank Marc for discovering the picture and notifying me.