As the first days of September are upon us, I’ve been remembering this time last year, during the Beslan hostage crisis. Last night I watched a documentary on BBC1 which consisted primarily of interviews with children who survived, images from the seige, and english subtitles. To say that it was a sad documentary would be an understatement, it was terrible… the stories I mean.
You have to picture it, 10 year old Russian children with these very serious and depressed eyes, telling about what happened:
“After one of the explosions, I was in a pile of rubble, and I could hear children under me… the couldn’t breathe.. they were being crushed.. we all tried to reach out hands out so that someone might grab us and pull us out..”
“I was sitting on my mothers lap, we were desperate for water, and then suddenly there was an explosion, and my mother was gone.”
Of course it was a terrible thing that happenned, you don’t need me to write that. But one thing that is not talked about, that bothers me about the Beslan seige, is that the media never talks about how the terrorists became terrorists. Meaning – there is no discussion of Chechnya and what the Russian government and military has done to the region and its people. As usual the seige is excessively simplified: evil terrorists just want to destroy schools and children.
Obviously these children were innocent. Obviously schools should never be used as pawns in armed conflict. But it is also ridiculous to act like these terrorists came out of nowhere and mother Russia is a peaceloving nation. My point – Grieve and remember the terrible thing that happened one year ago in Beslan. BUT — also recognize and condemn the terrible things that have been done by the Russian military in Chechnya.