#RememberBeslan #PomniBeslan: Ten Years And Still Searching For Answers
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Ten years ago, a group of terrorists took more than a thousand people hostage in a School 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia located on the North Caucasus. Russian security forces stormed the building and as a result 334 people died including 186 children. Ten years have passed in which the Russian authorities have avoided serious questions about the explosion used to justify the storming of the school two days later, on 3 September, with the use of tanks and heavy artillery.
At School No. 1, portraits of more than 300 victims hang in the gymnasium where 1,100 children, parents, and teachers were held hostage for 52 hours. The school stands in ruins, and the room itself has been largely untouched since 2004. Bullet holes and haunting inscriptions of "we remember" adorn the walls; there is a charred gym ladder to one side and blackened basketball hoops at either end. An Orthodox cross has been placed in the middle of the gym floor, surrounded by freshly opened bottles of water left to commemorate the captives, who endured over two days in fierce summer heat with almost no water. Residents continue to bring teddy bears, model cars, and other toys in memory of the 186 children who were killed here. -photographer Diana Markosian and correspondent Tom Balmforth
In recent days, locals have cleared away a year's worth of toys from the gym in School No. 1 to make way for a wave of new offerings that people will bring to mark the 10-year anniversary of the siege. The three-day commemoration begins September 1 with a now-traditional funeral service at the old school, followed by a procession to the cemetery. The gym itself is encased in a golden sarcophagus that, with its floral pattern, signifies a huge wreath. On the second day, there will be a requiem concert in Vladikavkaz, the regional capital of North Ossetia. On Wednesday, September 3, mourners will hold two final funeral services, and release white balloons to represent each of the lives lost.
Remembering the victims, survivors, families, friends of Beslan:
“Time has stood still in Oksana Kokova’s bedroom. Her father, Ruslan, likes to keep her door open. Oksana managed to escape after the explosions on the third day, but she returned to the school to help the younger children flee. She was killed in the process. Oksana was talented at sports, and loved karate and knitting. Living alone with her father and older brother, she had become accustomed to taking care of the house. She was friendly and talkative; she liked to take charge. Oksana was 15 years old.“
On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the Beslan tragedy, Russia’s biggest provider Rostelekom blocked the website of Pravda Beslana. The site contains material from the unofficial investigation into the seizure by terrorists of the school in Beslan in North Ossetia on Sep 1 2004 and the subsequent storming of the school by federal forces using tanks and heavy artillery on Sep 3. The Russian authorities have systematically prevented a full investigation and over the years have harassed organizations seeking to know the truth, such as Voices of Beslan.
The material which somebody high up has ‘encouraged’ the provider to block includes the dissenting opinion from Yury Savelyev, explosives expert and member of the parliamentary commission. Savelyev believes that the explosion which is supposed to have triggered off the storming of the school with terrible loss of life did not in fact come from within the school.
Terrorists attacked the school during ‘First Bell’, a major event for families throughout Russia, and often attended by parents and grandparents. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration systematically lied about the situation, claiming, for example, that there were 364 hostages and that the terrorists were refusing to negotiate.
Aside from the source of the explosion, other questions that remain unanswered include:
-How many terrorists were there and who helped them smuggle so many weapons into a school?
-Why were there conflicting stories as to whether the terrorists were ready to negotiate, and over their demands?
-Why were tanks and flamethrowers used?
The site Remember Beslan can be found here:
[RU]: #PomniBeslan http://pomnibeslan.ru/print/
О ПРОЕКТЕ: Когда в 2004 году в школе №1 города Беслана террористы захватили более тысячи заложников, многие молодые граждане нашей страны еще учились в школе. Сегодня они почти ничего не знают о трагедии. Постепенно уходит она из памяти и представителей старшего поколения.
Наш проект призван напомнить и рассказать заново о тех страшных днях. Ради того, чтобы память о сотнях невинно погибших взрослых и детях сохранилась. Правильные выводы о случившемся 10 лет назад могут помочь нам предотвратить подобное в будущем.
#PomniBeslan – это не только сайт, но и брошюра со свидетельствами очевидцев и результатами независимого расследования. С помощью них мы надеемся донести память о трагедии до максимально большого количества россиян. Помогите нам в этом!
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Координатор общественной кампании – правозащитник и журналист-расследователь Марина Литвинович.
"Everyone remembers the September 1, 2004 terrorist attack in Beslan, when around 1100 people, including children, their parents and teachers, were taken hostage in a local school. In order to free the hostages, Russian special forces opened fire on the school with heavy weapons. 334 people died, more than 800 people were injured. The government immediately used this terrorist attack to cancel gubernatorial elections under the pretext that the people elected for these posts were incapable of guaranteeing security."
"Всем памятен террористический акт 1 сентября 2004 года в Беслане, когда в заложники в местной школе были взяты около 1100 человек – учеников, их родителей, преподавателей. Для освобождения заложников по школе был открыт огонь из орудий и стрелкового оружия. Погибли 334 человека, более 800 были ранены. Этот теракт был немедленно использован властью для отмены выборов глав регионов под предлогом того, что избранные на эти должности люди не способны обеспечить безопасность для общества."