A man rushing a child away from gunfire
Today is the second anniversary of the bloody end to the siege of school number one in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. The website PravdaBeslana ("Beslan Truth") has posted in its entireity C.J. Chivers' article "The School" from the June 1, 2006 issue of Esquire magazine. I hope Esquire's editors will understand that this is a public service and will allow the whole text to remain freely available on the web.
For anyone still wondering how the terrorists carried out this atrocity or why the response from Russian security forces was agonizingly slow for the hostages held captive for over 48 hours, it is useful reading. I got the same sickening feeling in my stomach when I started to read this piece as I did watching United 93's depiction of the beautiful, uneventful dawn of September 11, 2001.
A Spetznaz soldier carrying a child to safety
Russia's war of necessity against jihad terrorism is not over by a long shot, but many Russians would prefer to forget the events of Beslan just as so many Americans have forgotten 9/11 and say that the threat from Islamic fascism is just a myth created by people in power to control oil and oppress the Muslim world.
A symbol of America - worn by one of the stretcher bearers
Besides this game of denial, here is also the continuing problem in D.C. of our relations with Russia being stuck in the past. Many politicians from both parties prefer to focus on Russia and America's differences rather than common interests and adversaries. I am thinking in particular of politicians and pundits who claim to carry on President Reagan's legacy today - let them read the conciliatory words Reagan delivered to students at Moscow State University in 1988, when the dedicated Cold Warrior saw clearly that it was time for reconciliation:
I've been told that there's a popular song in your country -- perhaps you know it -- whose evocative refrain asks the question, "Do the Russians want a war?" In answer it says, "Go ask that silence lingering in the air, above the birch and poplar there; beneath those trees the soldiers lie. Go ask my mother, ask my wife; then you will have to ask no more, 'Do the Russians want a war?'"
I think here at Russia Blog and other sites enough has been written about how Russian security forces could have responded more quickly to the attack. Instead, today I wanted to provide links to organizations commemorating this event and still working to help the victims.