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Stunned aftermath of siege bloodbath
Scotsman ^ | Sun 5 Sep 2004 | KATE FOSTER and MURDO MacLEOD

Posted on 09/04/2004 5:03:55 PM PDT by kcar

BY LAST night Zalina Tsabolova had given up hope. With no news after a day of searching she went home, sat out on her balcony and resigned herself to the fact she will not see her 10-year-old son Marat alive again.

Below her, hundreds of other parents were still scouring hospitals desperate for news of their children. But Tsabolova knows in her heart her son is dead.

"Marat used to daydream," she said. "He used to dream of becoming president. We had such a clever little boy, he played chess so well. Why was he killed by the terrorists? What on earth kind of a victory is this for them and their cause? "

Crowds of bewildered relatives were yesterday at hospitals and morgues seeking news of their loved ones caught up in the Russian school siege, as the shock of Friday’s bloodbath turned to despair.

Outside overflowing hospitals, pale and exhausted relatives gathered looking for children, parents and teachers caught up in the siege, searching lists of the survivors inside.

Many still did not know whether their children were dead or alive as the overstretched staff were too busy performing emergency surgery on casualties to issue the names of all those being treated.

The main doors of one hospital were plastered with the names of some victims and 15 colour photographs of wounded children in hospital beds, too young to explain who they were.

Instead, they appeared on the lists with brief descriptions, such as "unconscious girl" and "boy who cannot speak".

At the main hospital in the nearby city of Vladikavkaz, one of several dealing with gunshot wounds and burns among victims, the head doctor, Uruzmag Dzhanyev, said 250 children were being treated.

"Many children [survivors] will be invalids. Some do not have eyes," he said.

Six badly wounded children, including a two-year-old, were flown to Moscow for treatment, but for the others the rudimentary local facilities were the only aid on offer for their wounds.

And for those relatives with no news, the next port of call was the morgue where they queued to see whether their loved ones lay amid the lines of bodies outside. Dozens of stretchers were placed on the ground with corpses on them, their skin the colour of powdered milk.

Most were children or women, naked bodies covered with black tarpaulin or plastic sheets.

Relatives accompanied by nurses picked their way past rows of stretchers, holding handkerchiefs or gauze masks to their faces against the stench.

Hardly a family in the small Russian town of Beslan has been left untouched by Friday’s slaughter.

Grief, anger and uncertainty mingled in the town of 30,000 after the bloodiest hostage crisis in decades ended on Friday with half-naked and wounded children dodging bullets as they fled and security forces stormed the school building.

There were tears of relief yesterday as some parents were reunited with children who had been held hostage for 52 hours. While some mothers who had kept a vigil outside the school since the crisis broke out on Wednesday clasped their young children and wept, others held only photographs of their loved ones as they searched for them amid the dead and the injured.

One man showed hospital nurses a photograph of a young boy dressed in a suit. Another elderly man held a photograph of his grown-up daughter.

Zelim Dzeliyev held up photos of his neighbour’s children, four girls, all lost. His friend Albert, also missing, was pictured on holiday with his wife on Spain’s Costa del Sol.

"My daughter escaped but my son, no one knows what happened to him. We have checked the hospitals, we have asked everyone, but we have no news," said one woman. "The bodies must be so burnt that we may never recognise them."

With hundreds still being treated for burns and gunshot wounds, anxious relatives also milled at the town’s cinema, where officials were due to provide details of the dead and injured.

One man, Alan, looking for news of his sister, said: "Everyone in this town has lost someone. What they say on television is a lie. There could be 600 dead."

His eyes were red from lack of sleep and he blinked repeatedly to stop tears as he walked through the crowds.

Ruslan, a young man, was searching for his wife: "I’ve been searching all day and I can’t find her. Where are our people? No one tells us anything. No one is protecting us," he said.

"We run here, we run there, like we’re out of our minds, trying to find out anything we can about them," said Tsiada Biazrova, 47, whose neighbours’ children had yet to be found.

Zafira Kuduzeba, a grandmother, was yesterday searching for three members of her family, her daughters Larissa and Madina, and her six-year old grandson, Zaurdek.

She wept as she remembered how much her grandson was looking forward to going to school before the end of the summer break.

She said: "Three of my family went to the school on Wednesday. Now I cannot find any of them. They have completely disappeared? I am at a loss. What are we going to do with those Chechens? And where, where have my children gone to?"

As the realisation of the scale of the damage that had been done to their small community set in, threats of revenge were also emerging.

"Fathers will bury their children, and after 40 days (the Orthodox Christian mourning period) they will take up weapons and seek revenge," said Alan Kargiyev, a 20-year-old university student.

Some of the terrified schoolchildren who had gone to school last Wednesday for the first day of the new session yesterday spoke of their ordeal. However, it is likely it will take them years to recover from the trauma.

Six-year-old Marina Khudanova, went to school with her brother Beg. His whereabouts are unknown. His family are searching for him.

She said: "I tried to be as brave as I could. In the gym I could see them hanging up big bombs from the wall and on the railing. They told us that if we tried to leave, then the bombs would be detonated. I don’t want to go back to school. I never want to go back to school ever again. I want to stay here in the house with my Mummy. I don’t want to sleep. I just want to sit here and think."

Jana, a 15-year-old schoolgirl, said the heat in the gymnasium had been unbearable.

She said: "They burst into the school and brought us all together in the gym. They made us all sit there. It was so hot. Many of the children were crying. We were so many and it became hot and sticky in there. They kept telling us to stay away from the cables they were rigging up to the bombs.

"They shouted at us and told us all to stay clear or we would all be blown up. I just sat there and made myself determined to get out of there and get home somehow and see my mother again.

"They told us that they were Chechens and that they wanted the Russian troops to get out their country. As soon as the troops pulled out, they said, we could go free."

Then the bombs started to explode. Parts of the ceiling collapsed. "Shooting started, I rolled myself up on the floor, my face was to my knees and my hands over my head."

When she looked up again there were three soldiers above her who were giving her cover as they placed her on a stretcher.

"I closed my eyes and lay as still as I could as they ran out with me on the stretcher. I was lucky, so lucky. The next time I opened my eyes I was outside the gym, I was safe, and I saw my mother’s face before me."

In the aftermath at Middle School No 1, emergency workers waded through piles of smouldering rubble searching for more casualties. Most of the windows in the sports hall were shattered and its roof had been blown off almost entirely. Its walls were pocked with bullet holes.

Some 25 bodies were also laid out in the yard on Saturday morning, most in body bags.

As the details of the hostage crisis became clear yesterday, it emerged a number of hostages had been shot dead during its early hours and their bodies dumped out of a window.

Most of the dead had been in the school’s gymnasium. They were killed either by explosions that brought down the roof, mined by the hostage-takers, or by the chaotic fire and the battles between soldiers and captors that followed.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, who had promised on national television to do everything to keep the hostages from harm, flew to Beslan before dawn on Saturday, as smoke was still rising from the shattered school.

However, he rejected any blame for the bloody outcome.

He also ordered the region’s borders to be closed while officials searched for everyone connected with the attack. Beslan and the surrounding region of North Ossetia have been sealed off in follow-up operations by security forces.

"Even alongside the most cruel attacks of the past, this terrorist act occupies a special place because it was aimed at children," he said during a meeting with regional officials, which was broadcast on Russian television.

Putin warned against letting the atrocity, the latest in a series of terror attacks in Russia, stir up tensions in the multi-ethnic North Caucasus region. "One of the goals of the terrorists was to sow ethnic enmity and blow up the North Caucasus," he said. "Anyone who gives in to such a provocation will be viewed by us as abetting terrorism."

As he visited the hospital in Beslan, he met several of the victims, stopping to stroke the head of one injured child and the arm of the school principal.

Putin’s harsh tone in his quick visit to Beslan suggested he had no plan to relax his determination to crush mainly Muslim Chechnya’s rebellion and keep it within Russia, using tactics long criticised by human rights activists.

However, anger among the relatives mounted over his silence during the siege and the fact that his lightning visit was made early on Saturday under cover of darkness.

"Why didn’t he come earlier? Why did he come in the middle of the night?" said Irina Volgokova, 33, whose close friend and the friend’s daughter were missing.

"He is the head of our country. He should answer for this before the people."

"His visit was a publicity stunt," said Zoya, who could not find her niece. "They should have done everything so that not even one child died. But they didn’t."

In an attempt to fend off concerns that the government side had provoked the bloodshed, Putin stressed that security officials had not planned to storm the school.

However, he appeared angry as he criticised officials who sought to commend the security forces. "As far as the special forces are concerned, this is a separate story. We will talk about it later," he said.

But Moscow also lashed out against accusations the storming of the school could have been averted, describing as "blasphemous" a request by the European Union for an explanation to the bloody end to the hostage seizure.

Russia has accused many European governments of hypocrisy for stating their commitment to fight terrorism while criticising Russia’s war in Chechnya, which Moscow claims is a front in the fight against international terrorism.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Sergei Fridinsky said 35 militants had been involved in the hostage seizure, and all had been killed.

Investigators are looking into whether they had smuggled the explosives and weapons into the school and hidden them during a renovation over the summer.

Meanwhile international condemnation for the attack and sympathy for the victims poured into Russia. Many Western countries conveyed their condolences to President Putin. In addition, Pope John Paul II condemned the attack as a "vile and ruthless aggression on defenceless children and families" and offered his "heartfelt affection to the Russian people in this hour of dismay and anguish".

In Russia, some analysts were speculating that Putin will assess foreign and domestic reaction before committing himself to stronger action. Political analyst Leonid Sedov said that in absence of broad public criticism, the president may feel little pressure to change course on his policy towards Chechnya.

"Domestic public opinion is not a significant factor," Sedov said. "After all, it’s Ossetian children who were killed and xenophobia is very high in our country. Perhaps if they had blown up the State Duma then the government might think about changing policy."

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: beslan; chechnya; evilanimals; jihad; korandeeds; muslims; ossetia; religionofpeace; trop
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Long read.
1 posted on 09/04/2004 5:03:56 PM PDT by kcar
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To: kcar

I got halfway through before I was sobbing so hard and I couldn't see the screen for my tears...

It is an EVIL, EVIL world we live in.

2 posted on 09/04/2004 6:00:44 PM PDT by KangarooJacqui (What did John Kerry do on 9/11? He sat there like a stuned beeber.)
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To: kcar

More Jihadists will die.


3 posted on 09/04/2004 6:03:39 PM PDT by Senator Goldwater
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To: kcar
I'm sitting here crying. This is one of the most tragic, evil things I've ever seen in my life. I don't know how those people are going to make it through this whole ordeal. Those who's children are still missing are probably dead.

When their mourning period of 40 days is over, the whole community is going to have to suffer an agonizing week or two of burying their loved ones. This nightmare is going to continue for at least another month and a half. May God have mercy on them, and give them the strength to make it through this. THEN, they need to take up their guns and go after the Muslims. As far as I'm concerned, it's open season! Violence is the ONLY thing they understand. Kill everyone of them!!!

4 posted on 09/04/2004 6:25:39 PM PDT by NRA2BFree (Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce)
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To: KangarooJacqui

There is evil in this world. And more and more it's finding its release through the actions of Islamic terrorists. Anyone who doubts this world is in a real war has his head firmly embedded in his ass.

5 posted on 09/04/2004 6:30:47 PM PDT by Rokke
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To: KangarooJacqui
It is an EVIL, EVIL world we live in.

That's the price we pay (on earth) for free will, and the ability to volunteer love to a savior. The alternative is "forced love," "forced peace," no free will. And if that were the case, we would not be in God's image.

6 posted on 09/04/2004 6:36:08 PM PDT by Cboldt
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To: NRA2BFree
I could not read the entire article. I am way to sensitive for graphic details. What I know for sure is this: Killing the men and women who did this will not stop the violence; it will give the rest of them a "reason" to exact revenge.

We can only pray for the survivors, and let God be the Ultimate Judge. They can run, and they can hide, but God will exact His Revenge. Trust this Truth!

7 posted on 09/04/2004 6:48:30 PM PDT by Monkey Face (Eagles fly alone.)
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To: Monkey Face

Revenge is one of my most favorite emotions. A powerful tonic, and, following grief, a definite part of the healing process.

8 posted on 09/04/2004 7:38:14 PM PDT by kcar (
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To: kcar

Mere words cannot describe the hostility I have towards these shaved apes..(They are not humans..human beings do not behave like this)..To think they cowardly captured a school full of unarmed children..(and men and women as well)..and then gave them no food or water for over two days..and then very cowardly shot at these starving scared children in the back as they tried to escape..and then when armed MEN..(something that does not describe the cowardly terrorists)..came into rescue them..they quickly ran away for they were too afraid to have a fight with real men..the more I think of this..the more I am tempted to join locals there and kill the utmost cowards on this planet...

9 posted on 09/04/2004 8:10:46 PM PDT by BerniesFriend
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To: kcar; joanie-f; HangFire; feinswinesuksass; Joe Brower; Travis McGee
Long read.
But a well-written one. The Scotsman is a consistently good paper.
(There are a lot of discrepancies in the story telling, by the way, from paper to paper. Especially in regards to the numbers of "hostage-takers".)
That said...
While this quote was stirring:
"Fathers will bury their children, and after 40 days ... they will take up weapons and seek revenge," was tempered by this one, which I found to be rather disturbing:
Putin warned against letting the atrocity, the latest in a series of terror attacks in Russia, stir up tensions in the multi-ethnic North Caucasus region. "One of the goals of the terrorists was to sow ethnic enmity and blow up the North Caucasus," he said. "Anyone who gives in to such a provocation will be viewed by us as abetting terrorism."

10 posted on 09/04/2004 8:17:26 PM PDT by AnnaZ ("In war there is no substitute for victory." ::: General Douglas MacArthur)
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To: kcar
Boy who begged for water was bayoneted

"Putin warned against letting the atrocity, the latest in a series of terror attacks in Russia, stir up tensions in the multi-ethnic North Caucasus region."

... how about stirring up outrage throughout the whole world? All those peaceful moderate Muslims, incl. CAIR, should see the need to condemn this despicable, evil action against little ones. Any time now . . .

11 posted on 09/04/2004 8:18:37 PM PDT by cyn (prayers always for Terri Schiavo and her family.)
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To: wardaddy; Squantos; CholeraJoe; ExSoldier; AnnaZ; river rat

I wonder if there's any chance of Bush making a gesture to Putin, and bringing some of their critical burn and other cases to our hospitals for treatment?

12 posted on 09/05/2004 12:53:08 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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To: Travis McGee
I'm certain he's already done so.


13 posted on 09/05/2004 12:59:48 AM PDT by Lurker ( Rope, tree, Islamofascist. Adult assembly required.)
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To: KangarooJacqui
It is an EVIL, EVIL world we live in.

No, it's not. Islam is evil. It's a death cult.

Crusades II are just warming up. Time to end this.

14 posted on 09/05/2004 12:59:57 AM PDT by Hank Rearden (Never allow anyone who could only get a government job attempt to tell you how to run your life.)
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To: Lurker

It would be the right thing to do. I hope it's being done.

15 posted on 09/05/2004 1:03:46 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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To: Travis McGee

It's been done before. We sent Bone Marrow Transplant teams over there after Chernobyl.

16 posted on 09/05/2004 6:37:00 AM PDT by CholeraJoe ("I wanna find your Inner Child and kick it's little A$$. Get over it.")
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To: kcar

Besides, it's not a matter of revenge; it's a matter of killing the terrorists before they kill others. That seems to be the only rational way of dealing with them. Hopefully, President Putin will begin to understand President Bush's policy on this. Then, we can work together to smoke them all out. We need unity of resolve in the free world in order to defeat these maggots.

17 posted on 09/05/2004 6:44:59 AM PDT by B Knotts ("John Kerry, who says he doesn't like outsourcing, wants to outsource our national security.")
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To: kcar

Wrenching read. These poor people, and did you notice how thin everyone looked in those pictures? Life is obviously hard, and now this. Unspeakable horror. Putin will have to lower the hammer. Europe had better pay heed, because terrorist horror is heading down the track in their direction and fast.

18 posted on 09/05/2004 7:19:30 AM PDT by hershey
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To: AnnaZ; kcar; HangFire; feinswinesuksass; Joe Brower; Travis McGee; Landru
Thanks for the ping, Anna. I agree with you that Putin's remarks are disturbing. But they are in keeping with the world's reaction to this tragedy. This entire article should be on the front page of every newspaper.

I, for one, am more disturbed about what occurred in Russia last week than I can recall being upset about anything since 9/11/01. And it’s not just the terrorism, but the international media coverage of it.

I taught our adult Sunday school class at church this morning. Early on in the lesson I made reference to the tragedy at Beslan, simply because it helped to drive home the point of the lesson.

There were maybe forty people in the class and, from the discussion that ensued, it was apparent that almost all of them were pretty much in the dark about the details of what occurred in Russia last Thursday and Friday.

These are intelligent citizens of ‘middle America’ – and Christians, to boot. Good people. They aren’t tuned into FoxNews eight hours a day, but I would venture to guess that they listen to as much news as the average American – probably more.

Only eight or ten people (roughly one quarter of those in the room) were aware that 340+ people were killed in the incident, half of them young children. No one was aware that some of the murdered children were shot in the back as they attempted to escape. Only one person was aware that very few of the children were allowed to go to the bathroom, most were not provided water, and some were reduced to urinating in cups and bottles, and then drinking their own urine, or pouring it on themselves to lessen the effects of the sweltering heat. No one was aware that a man was murdered in front of a group of children, after which they were told, ‘This will happen to you if you don’t obey us.’ No one was aware that some of the barbarians have been identified as members of the Wahhabi sect of Islam, and that many of the hostages were ordered to pray to Allah. Just a handful knew that many of the victims were Christian. Most of them knew that many of the hundreds of survivors will be maimed for life.

Why is this? Why are the important facts (the number of children involved, direct connections with radical Islam, the sadistic torment that was visited on the victims before their death or rescue … ) about this tragedy not being hammered home by the mainstream media?

Last night I watched about two hour of FoxNews (we report … you decide) while preparing this morning’s Sunday school lesson. What I saw and heard was very unsettling. In the two hours time (now mind you, this news report was occurring a mere twenty-four hours after the ‘resolution’ of the crisis in Russia) of news coverage, I saw maybe a grand total of five minutes coverage of the massacre in Russia – and that five minutes contained virtually no references to any of the facts mentioned above.

Other than occasional mention of President Clinton’s upcoming heart surgery, the remaining hour and fifty-five minutes was spent interviewing Geraldo Rivera and various other Fox correspondents, attired in rain gear, standing out in the rain and wind, and prognosticating about how hard hurricane Frances was going to hit Florida at any moment. These reporters were frantic -- in a look-at-me, aren’t-I-brave-standing-out-here-in-the-wind-and-rain? kind of way (maybe they should issue purple hearts for hurricane reporting). They would point to the palm trees swaying behind them, or the boats being tossed about in the harbor, occasionally pick up a severed tree branch that had been ripped from a nearby tree, complain about the pounding rain and ferocious (if I hear that word one more time, I think I will lose it) winds that were battering them, and paint a grim picture about what was imminently going to happen to the area around them.

The correspondents’ (supposedly) conspicuous bravery, and humanitarian kindergarten-level advice and warnings (stay indoors, or find a nearby shelter, be aware that strong rain and winds can cause significant damage …) that were being dished out, for hours on end, gave the term overkill new meaning.

I’m not in any way minimizing the personal tragedy that many in Florida will have to endure as a result of the devastation caused by Frances. But let’s put things in perspective here.

Hurricane Frances is an act of nature – and an act of nature for which the residents of coastal Florida must always be as prepared as they are able. Considering modern meteorological advances, we receive fair warning that such natural catastrophes are approaching. And, although material losses are usually significant (a sad fact in itself), very few lives are lost. And very few people receive life-long emotional scars as a result of the tragedy.

On a scale of human heartbreak, what occurred in Russia just a few days ago eclipses any havoc that Frances may wreak on the lives that she touches.

More than three hundred innocent people (half of them young children) had no advanced warning that, on the very first day of the school year, their innocent lives would be infiltrated, suddenly and violently, by a handful of evil, sadistic men bent on mindlessly torturing, and eventually killing, hundreds of them. Men who were joyful at the prospect of instilling instantaneous, paralyzing fear in the hearts of young children. Men whose barbaric behaviors, in some instances, forced young children to decide to attempt to escape rather than continue to wonder what their captors’ next sadistic cruelty would entail. Men who shot those children who attempted to escape in the back.

More than a thousand innocent people in that school building had no warning of the tragedy that was to occur. They endured humiliating, traumatizing torment for what must have seemed a seventy-two hour eternity. More than three hundred of them (most of them children) will not live to tell about it.

We need to hear their stories. We need to be told, over and over again, that at least a segment of their captors was aligned with the radical Islam fanaticism that threatens not only school houses in Russia, but school houses, airports, train stations, waterworks, public utilities, football stadiums, small towns, and large metropolitan areas, all over the world.

What happened in Russia last week will serve as a foretaste of things to come unless the rest of the world connects-the-dots and looks beyond our noses. The media, now interminably focused on hurricanes and heart bypasses, are obscuring the dots and attempting to take our eyes off the horizon.

I learned, once again, at church this morning that, unless good people demand to know the truth, and demand that our leadership and our media get their priorities in order, the madmen of this world are going to continue to catch us off-guard, and focused on bread and circuses, while they lie in ambush, waiting to prey on their next victims.

Many of those killed in Russia just two days ago were Christians. All of those daily killed in Israel by Palestinian terrorists are Jews. The bloodthirst of radical Islam will not be satisfied until such atrocities bring Christianity, Judaism, and all liberty-loving people to their knees at the feet of Allah. And we help them in their evil crusade by minimizing many of those atrocities by choosing to occupy ourselves with disasters that are somehow easier to face.

~ joanie

19 posted on 09/05/2004 10:21:16 AM PDT by joanie-f (To disagree with three-fourths of the American public is one of the first requisites of sanity.)
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To: joanie-f

A War to the Death
(postscript to the Beslan Massacre)

The little children lay suffering, dying
Innocent rivers of blood
Crying out from the ground
Victims of a truly demonic ideology
And its heartless executioners

Islam was hatched in hell
And now stains the earth

This is a war to the death
Against an implacable foe

Never forget...


20 posted on 09/05/2004 10:27:50 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (The Butchers of Beslan will burn in hell for eternity.)
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