Russia: Beslan Anniversary; Day of Knowledge

Global Voices Online
Friday, September 1, 2006

For LJ user yume_yami, a 14-year-old high school student from St. Petersburg, September 1 is, above all, the first day of classes; she posts a picture of herself at today's Day of Knowledge ceremony at her school and writes (RUS):

Tada-datam) It's happened) I did survive it.

Everything went as usual, we sung the anthem, we remembered Beslan, and despite small troubles such as tight shoes, it didn't cause much disgust. My tights got ripped, though, bastards, at the same time and at the same spot as Victoria's. We made a wish)

A couple of newbies didn't get her Majesty's attention, as they had nothing interesting about them. I was told that I looked like an angel. Cuttttie)

[photo omitted]


For 41-year-old Rimma Polyak - LJ user rimona, Moscow - September 1 will never be the same again, after what happened in Beslan two years ago (RUS):

[...] Two years ago, at one wonderful forum (which no longer exists) one wonderful person proposed this: each of us should write a post for September 1. I liked the idea and wrote this text, which fit my mood then.


[...] September 1 isn't just one day of the calendar, it's a special date, it's the day on which the new school year begins. And if the real New Year is a holiday night, a joyful anticipation of the [New Year's] eve, a hope for pleasant changes - the school year's first day is the morning that is followed by a long row of work days, it's the end of the vacation carelessness and the beginning of the responsible and orderly labor.

It's been nearly 20 years since I [last] felt like this about September 1. Only once, before the second grade, I spent my whole summer break waiting impatiently for the first school day. I so wanted to put on my school uniform again, to hold my textbooks, to see my teacher and classmates again. But by the third grade, I began to think of the return to school with sorrow, like everyone else, and I dreamed for the summer to last longer.

And here I am, at last, with school years behind me. With the high school diploma, I acquired the long-awaited freedom from the rhythm imposed by September 1. From now on, it's just one of the 365 days of the year. What a pleasant feeling it was to remember about this every time I saw school children with their flowers, in a hurry, and the concerned teachers, and college students and professors - all those who continued to measure life in school years. For me, the year began on the night of January 1, just like in the carefree early childhood.

But time went by, and suddenly my daughter was starting school. And again the study/vacation rhythm was forced onto my life. And again September 1 became the dividing line at the end of each summer, reminding me of the need to mobilize and, after the relaxing rest, to devote myself for the whole year to school problems, early risings, homeworks, nightly reminders that it's time for bed, meetings with teachers - and all that for a long, long time...

And then there'll be grandchildren, and again September 1 will become the calendar's main day. And I'll be waking the new girl up in the morning, take her to school, live through all her problems and concerns, and look forward to vacation time together with her...

(August 31, 2004)


And in the morning, September 1 happened in Beslan. And my elegiac text began to look bitterly ironic to me, an unnecessary and absurd detail next to the Beslan tragedy.

Why am I writing this now? To be honest, I don't know. Perhaps because September 1 is forever tainted with blood for me now, a little bit? Or because this day will never be carefree and happy for me anymore?

But maybe it'll all change with time and carelessness will reappear?

I'd love it to be this way.

I'd love not to be afraid for the children, for the loved ones, for myself.

God willing, this will not happen again.

All those who died in Beslan will be dearly remembered! And may those who lost their loved ones there be granted strength and courage!..


LJ user abstract2001 - Marina Litvinovich, founder of (Truth of Beslan) website - was in Beslan on September 1 (RUS):

Came back from the School. The women's howling doesn't stop inside the gym.
The sun is burning, 37 degrees [Celcius].
Everything is melting.

A few days earlier, abstract2001 cited Beslan casualty figures (RUS) and causes of death, drawing on the newly-published study by Yuri Savelyev, member of an official parliamentary commission and an explosives specialist:

The mournful count.

112-116 dead people - were carried out of the gym burned. They burned to death because of the fire that started from the first shot from the outside and because the HQ's order to extinguish the fire came 2 hours and 20 minutes later.

106-110 dead people - the overall number of people who turned into hostages for the second time and died in the south wing, in the dining hall and classrooms in the additional building. Most died as a result of coming under fire from weapons of random destruction (RPO-A [flamethrowers], RShG, RPG, etc.) and tanks.

Total: 218-226 hostages

Terrorists did kill (or finished up):

18 people - men who were killed on Sept. 1, 2004.
12 people - servicemen from Alpha, Vympel and the [Ministry of Emergency Situations].

Total: 30 people

Overall total of the dead: 331 people, of whom 12 were servicemen.

A question: who is to blame for the death of the majority of the hostages?[...]

And here is part of abstract2001's exchange with one of the many fellow-bloggers who bothered to comment on the post:

revoltp: It's easy to answer such a question. The blame is on the terrorists. But if you pose the question like this: who besides the terrorists is to blame for the hostages' death? - the answer will be more complex. But the best question is how to prevent this from happening again. What can be improved. Who did well and who did badly.

abstract2001: Right. Only to answer [these questions], it's necessary to find out who did [what], how and why. And if the officials don't have a desire to find out - then there won't be an understanding of what is to be done. [...]

No comments: