2004-09-09 / View From the Middle

The Beslan School Tragedy: Could It Be Russia’s “9/11”?

By Charles Rogers

It was fitting to see the outcries of revulsion, sadness and support from the Western world for the victims of the horrible siege last week at the school in Beslan, Russia. Terrorists had crammed as many as 1,500 hostages — men, women and children — into a school hall and, during a rescue attempt by Russian soldiers, subsequently murdered hundreds of them. Said to be Chechen rebels, they had planned the event to bring attention to their cause — supposedly the release of Islamic prisoners. It was a cause that prompted them to allow two of their suicide bombers to allegedly board planes two weeks ago and explode themselves, with the planes crashing almost simultaneously in different parts of Russia; the cause for which they exploded a bomb in a Moscow subway; the same cause that made them lay siege to a theater a couple of years ago, resulting in an attack by commandos trying to free the victims during which some 129 innocent hostages died. Make no mistake, though, these were the same kinds of terrorists who have stalked America for years; the extremists responsible for the World Trade Center attack in 1993 and yes, the same ones who engineered the tragedy of 9/11/01. They may have had different clothing, and may have stated they had different specific causes, but, sadly, it seems their purpose was, pure and simply: hate.

Hate for any way of life different or alternate to theirs. Hate for a differing philosophy; for a different path of life. Hate for those who have faith in what they fear is a God not like theirs. And their philosophy is to kill — even if it means martyring themselves — to hopefully preserve their way of life and defeat ours.

Yes, it was fitting to see how other countries saw this disaster and reacted. National leaders from around the world offered the help of their country to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Messages were sent from the U.S. and Great Britain and France and Israel and Germany and Italy and many, many more.

There were even messages from some countries embracing Islam, condemning those who would fight, supposedly in the name of Islam, saying the extremists had sullied their image. And there were some from whom there were no messages of support — those influenced by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda minions. You can be sure they were not among the compassionate. They were instead among those so callous as to let the murder of hundreds — so many, many of them children — merely be chalked up as just another so-called casualty in their fight against our way of life.

It would not be unlike them to cheer, putting another notch on their rifles next to the 9/11/01 World Trade Center attack.

Could this be Russia’s “9/11” wake up call?

We in the United States are beginning to learn how to fight terrorism — perhaps mostly a defensive lesson, so far, but fighting it nevertheless.

Maybe now Russia will be not just a distant new friend, but a country with whom we will be fast allies in waging an all-out offensive war on those who are against civilization as we know it.

View From The Middle

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