April 10, 2013

Beslan School Massacre

It's been a while since I posted anything here but I just want to post about "Russia's 9/11". I've read about it from a history book a while ago in the library. I was horrified at the descriptions of the said event that I decided to make a little research online.

It all started when  Chechen nationalists occupied School Number One in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia, taking over 1,100 people as hostages. Reports said that the hostage takers demanded the release of Chechen fighters captured in a nearby region. The attackers moved the hostages to the school gymnasium on the first day, mined the gym and the rest of the building with explosive devices, surrounded with tripwires. While captured, the victims were forced to strip to their undergarments and drink their own urine due to water shortage. A fire engulfed the building. It was negotiated that the security forces outside could go in and take out the dead. This turned out to be a trap as the attackers opened fire and everything became a pandemonium  In the end, 334 were killed during the bloody three-day siege, 186 of which were children, hundreds more were wounded or reported missing, the burned bodies found cannot be identified.
I'm just overwhelmed by all I've read, this happened in 2004, when I was still ten years old. I do not remember hearing this kind of news before. But now, knowing the story of what had happened is so heartbreaking. How and why did this end to tragically? The kids, my God, the kids would have been my batch mates! I could not imagine the pain, fear and trauma they've gone through.
I've also read Wikipedia's Timeline for the tragedy and gave me goosebumps:
  • 12:59 PM: Medical workers approaching building are being fired at by the terrorists.
  • 1:05 PM: Two of the explosives in the gym detonate, blowing out the windows and partially destroying one wall. Many hostages die outright, many others are wounded. Other hostages take it as a signal to flee. Terrorists fire on fleeing women and children. About 30 hostages escape alive.
  • 1:10 PM: Russian specialist forces move in.
  • 1:30 PM: Gym roof collapses, crushing many hostages in the rubble underneath. Ambulances ferry escaped hostages to nearby makeshift military hospital.
I don't know what to say. I'm sad and mad at the same time. I know it will seem such a late response but I hope the mistakes and evils of the past will make a lesson for those who still seek what they desire in the worst means.

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