The hostages are afraid to fall asleep. They have sensed a change in the hostage takers. When they do fall asleep, they risk being beaten or hit with the butt of an assault rifle. These people are physically and psychologically reaching their breaking points. The mothers cannot allow their children to see them on the brink of madness.
The terrorists started taking heroin, meth, and later morphine. There was a room off of the gymnasium, the terrorists took some of the teen-aged girls in there and gang raped them. Killing some of them. The other terrorists were walking around, beating the smaller children, then laughing when the children flinched. They made the children strip in front of everyone, humiliating them. Down to their little white underpants. There are discrepancies in the stories as to whether the younger children were raped. There was one eighteen-month-old who had been stabbed to death with the barrel of an assault rifle because this particular terrorist had run out of bullets. This is the evening of the second day. No water. No food. Exhaustion and hopelessness. By this time, the hostages are down to drinking their own urine. Mothers are fighting over the few precious drops. Some of the children started fainting from the heat and dehydration, the terrorists thought this was funny. If anyone dosed off, the terrorists would hit them with the butt of their guns. They kept telling the children to pretend they were hares and put their hands on top of their heads with their fingers up. This was just cruelty. The terrorists seemed amused by the horror they were inflicting on these people.
Everyone called him Ali, and he was the only one not hiding behind a mask. The children started crying “Ali, please give us water.” His reply: “Don’t call me Ali, I am not your uncle. I am a terrorist and I’m going to kill you.”
Very early, before first light on the third day, Dr. Leonid Roshal, a pediatrician who had been requested by the mothers, held a meeting with the parents. Now, I am giving this guy the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he did not have any knowledge of the conditions in the gym. That even though everyone else knew that they were not being given water and that temperatures soared to 115 degrees during the day, he had somehow not gotten that memo. Either that or this guy was a moron. He told the parents, “They can hold on for 8 or 9 days. Today, today, there is no danger to the life of a single child.”
On the third day, everyone was feeling the tension in the air. Watching the videos, you could feel the tension just by watching all of these people. Conditions inside the gym were unbearable. The terrorists sent out a note telling the military that they could come and remove the bodies in the front part of the school. The smell must have been overpowering, even through their masks. It is at this point that something goes very wrong. The military pulled a tank up to the door and was using it for cover, they had just entered the building when a single round was fired, but no one knows who fired it. A terrorist? Military? An armed father? It is a detail that is easy to miss. At that point, children and adults who could run did. They ran, and their lives depended on it because the terrorists were firing on the fleeing children. Some of the kids and adults were killed. Within seconds, a firefight broke out. Now, at this point, there are two conflicting accounts. The remaining witnesses say that Russian Counter Terrorism forces broke through the ceiling in the gym, causing the ceiling to collapse on hostages who were sitting beneath it, thus setting off the first explosion; twenty-two seconds later, the second explosion; shortly after that, the third explosion. The Russian military and government deny that it happened that way. They say that one of the terrorists standing on the dead man switch was shot and his string of IEDS went off, setting off a chain reaction of explosions. I tend to believe the hostages because the lightweight material protected them from the heavier beams of the roof. At this point, the fire is very small and people are crawling out of the debris and being taken to safety by the special forces. People with stretchers are lining up behind two tanks that are now in the courtyard area. Some of the soldiers were kicking in windows and tossing little bodies out as quickly as possible. The men with the stretchers were catching and running. All the while, automatic gunfire is being exchanged all around. That little fire is being ignored, and it is growing in intensity. It was during this gun battle that the most were killed, including 21 soldiers. Other tanks and helicopter gunships are firing on the building where gunfire is coming from. At this point, the gym is fully engulfed in flames, the roof and attic are collapsing, trapping people that could not get out. These poor people literally were burned alive. Do you know what a body looks like that has been half cooked and half charred? It turns a sickening yellowish-green. Most of these people were not identified until months later, by DNA. And while they are burning alive, the gunfight is still raging and it rages on for hours, until the last terrorist either died or ran.
There are pictures of all of this occurring and video, too. There are two pictures, the first shows this little girl walking, holding on to the wall. She is outside, free to run. The second picture shows her climbing in through a window. Little white panties and white sandals struggling to go back into that hell. When she was interviewed later, she said she was going back for her mother. This little girl, covered in blood and soot, knowing the hell she was returning to but facing that horror for someone she loved. She never made it back in. A man saw her and grabbed her before she could get all the way through the window. Her mother did not survive.
On the fourth day, the fire in the gym has been put out, soldiers and disaster recovery teams are filming the areas of the school that were involved in this massacre. There are pieces and parts, but what the pieces and parts are is impossible to tell—it is obvious that they had belonged to a living, breathing human being. You look at the pictures, and, at first, the images are so surreal that the brain cannot begin to comprehend them. And then there is an image in which you actually recognize what you are looking at: a tiny head, charred black with a hole in the back. Suddenly, all of the images reveal the truth, the carnage. In fact, it is nothing but carnage. There is a tiny shoe beside the tiny head, and a soldier picks up the shoe. He doesn’t seem to be able to understand how this little shoe survived, and he puts it down. In a later interview with some of the recovery teams and soldiers, it seems the shoes disturbed them the most. They could not explain why. Later, on day five, they have bulldozed the floor of the gym, removing the bodies and debris. The entire school was left exactly as it was. The burned out gym is a memorial to the 334 lives lost to terrorism. There are pictures on the walls of those who died. There are flowers in the second-floor room where the men were killed. There are flowers on the window sill and on the ground below. The gym has bottles of water, flowers, candles, and stuffed animals covering the floor.
Ten years later and no one in the Kremlin has been held responsible. Ten years later and the authorities continue to disregard the victims, intimidate the whistle blowers, and feed the public propaganda. Censorship and disinformation crippled the communication between officials and the public.
Marina, a coordinator for a rehab center, said, “…Beslan would make the country change for the better, but Russia stayed the same. Evil and unfairness lives on.That made many of us depressed.”
The videos of Beslan today are heartbreaking. There are not any children running or laughing in the streets. The houses, for the most part, are shuttered to the outside world. Occasionally, there is an older woman leaning out of an upstairs window. The terrorists killed the heart, joy, and laughter of this town. And why? To even the score with Moscow? No, it was a Christian town attacked by Islamic Extremists. Make no mistake about it, these Muslims came to Breslan to kill as many people – as many children – as possible. They and their kind are evil incarnate. The depravity of Dr. Mengele pales in comparison to their diabolical savagery.
Sveta Dzhioyeva, reporter for Osetia Segodna (Ossetia Today), said, “…Do you see any Christian suicide bombers?”
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