Opinion » Columnists

Beslan: a Balance

It is difficult to find the words to describe my feelings
After working for 30 years in journalism, usually the words flow from the keyboard faster than my fingers can type. Today, I am finding it very difficult to find the words to express my emotions at the horrific tragedy in Beslan.

Despite being a journalist of PRAVDA.Ru for some years, I do not normally comment on Russian affairs because I am not Russian and I feel it is better for my colleagues to do this. However, the events of today have been so horrific, and the reactions so confused, that I feel the need to put things into perspective, especially after reading and hearing the comments in the international press.

Foreign radio and TV stations are full of western experts saying how terrible the operation was managed, how disorganised the security forces were, and how this will run badly for President Putin.

Sheer stupidity, if it is well disguised, can sometimes be believable and if it is very well presented, can even pass for the truth. Nevertheless, it does not cease to be sheer stupidity.

What has Vladimir Putin to do with the situation in Beslan and what else could he have done? How were the security forces supposed to act? Western sources seem to be blaming the Russian authorities. How about starting by blaming the terrorists and how about calling them terrorists and not "rebels" or "insurgents" or "militants"?

It was the terrorists who started this infernal situation when they walked into a school, armed to the hilt, and took innocent children and their families and teachers hostage. It is the terrorists who must be blamed for holding the children in disgusting and deplorable conditions, for depriving them of their freedom, for depriving them of food and water and it is the terrorists who must be blamed for each and every casualty which resulted from this operation.

The Russian security forces were behaving in the best possible way, speaking to the terrorists because while there are on-going negotiations, the hostages are not being killed. It is unclear what started the shooting of the hostages, but it was started by the terrorists, not the security forces and once the massacre had begun, there was only one decision to take: storm the building and try to free as many people as possible.

If some of the terrorists managed to escape by blending themselves in with the fleeing hostages, what were the security forces supposed to do, strafe everyone with machine-gun fire?

Many like to take a pot-shot at Russia and to exploit all situations by making things difficult for the authorities. How about supporting President Putin at this time, at this moment of tragedy for so many families, extending our hands and our hearts and our souls to every Russian person from the President to the security forces to the families of the victims and the hostages themselves, how about keeping them in our hearts and our prayers, in friendship, with solidarity, and how about congratulating the security forces and the government of the Russian Federation that the carnage was not even worse?

In the situation, it is a miracle that more people were not killed by these extremist pigs who misrepresent and insult the many good people in Chechnya and the many good Moslems. Maybe my insults are wrongly placed and maybe I have not found the right word.

So I owe a sincere apology. To pigs.

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