Kazakhstan’s social media has been shaken this week by a photo that tells of a family tragedy triggered by the police massacre of striking oil workers at Zhanaozen on 16 December 2011.
The photo, posted on facebook by Zhadyra Kenzhebaeva, a young mother of two children, shows: Bazarbai Kenzhebaev, Zhadyra’s father, who died after police arrested and tortured him on the day of the Zhanaozen massacre; Zhadyra’s mother Tilektes Kanatbaev, who died in 2013 after mourning her husband for 17 months; and Zhadyra’s sister Asem Kenzhebaeva, who campaigned to bring Bazarbai’s torturers to justice, before her own death in 2014.
The Zhanaozen shootings – in which 16 people died and more than 60 were injured, according to official figures – brought to an end six months of strike action by thousands of workers in the western Kazakhstan oil field.
The police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in Zhanaozen’s main square – oil workers, whose demands for pay rises and democratic trade union representation had been met by mass sackings and violence by management thugs, and local people who turned out to support them.
Bazarbai Kenzhebaev was not an oil worker and was not demonstrating. He had travelled in to Zhanaozen from his home in the village of Kyzylsai, to visit
Zhadyra, who had given birth to her daughter Aisuna that day in the maternity hospital.
As he walked to the hospital, Bazarbai, a 50-year-old tractor driver, got caught up in a frenzied police round-up of demonstrators, suspected demonstrators, and Read the rest of this entry »