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In Beslan, the school will be reborn after its seizure
Written by   
, 30 2011

School 1, where seven years ago a tragedy took place, has now been converted into a museum. Butlife takes its own course

Children born at the time of the attack, or soon afterward, will be going to school this year. Alltheir young lives they have been accompanied by stories of the tragedy.

Just like Andrei Turkin

Natalia Tsaloeva was having a hard time with the pregnancy of her third daughter, and two weeks before term the doctors decided to induce labor, otherwise mother and child might have had complications. Thiswas on August 15th, 2004. NowMadina is 7, and every day the whole family thanks her for causing her mother to stay home during those bloody September days. Herolder sister Anna and cousins Ira, Vera, Boris, and their mother Aunt Nadezhda went to school, however

We are sitting at the table with Madina and leafing through her school primer. Sheknows all the letters: 'b' is for Boris; 'v' is for Vera Theyare like guardian angels, gazing down at Madina from their large portraits. Hermother, Natasha, is talking about the war. Ido ask which one. My two-week-old daughter cried so much during those three days that Inever got a chance to concentrate on what was going on. Maybe that's why I'm not crazy from the horror of it all. Nadezhda Ilyinichna Gurieva, Madina's aunt, was a history teacher at the 1st Beslan School, and spent all three days spent in the gymnasium with the children. Shedoes not specify with whose. Shecould not save them. Shedoes not say whom they all died. Still shell-shocked and with my wounds in bandages, after the children’s burials Iwent to the school on September 7th and realized that my mission was to preserve the true memory of all this, says Nadezhda as she shares photographs. Hereis a picture of Andrei Turkin from 'Vympel' (FSB special commando unit ed). Ira, Anya and dozens of other hostages are still alive thanks to him and his comrades. He threw himself on a grenade that had been thrown into a group of children and parents by the militants. Nowhis family and the families of other special forces soldiers who died for us are forever members to the Beslan community. So much so, that Andrei's mother, Valentina Turkina, hosts former hostages at her home in Anapa for the summer, and this year she was invited to the wedding of a girl who was rescued by her son. Now do you understand why boys who went through this hell dream of attending the police, FSB, and emergency ministry academies, and why the girls dream of going to medical colleges? Onereason to be just like Andrei, while another reason to never let his memory die. Anya is already in medical school. Madina listens attentively and nods herhead.

Happiness without scars


Fariza saved her mother Dina from grief and despair. Photo by the author

I never knew that you were in this world, and you didn't know me, and we couldn't meet because we were mother and daughter. Well, let us say that you never appeared in my tummy not everyone is given this but you're the best and Ilove you more than anyone else. Dina Kargieva, the mother of 7-year-old Fariza, had been composing this text for several months. Fariza attends first grade, and it is time for mother to tell daughter where she came from before someone else inadvertently does thisfirst.

Dina was at school with her son and daughter, but returned with just her son. Sherealized that one can curse fate and lose oneself in prayers, but it is still possible to return to a normal life. Witha daughter. Andso she began to search for her. InMarch of 2005she found her, and since then Fariza and Dina are happy, so far as this is possible in Beslan. Sometimes my conscience bothers me other women have gotten involved in public life and taking their children abroad, while Ikeep separate from the others. ButI have such a bundle of energy in my house that Ihave no time whatsoever, says Dina as she runs to the playground jungle gym. Atthat instant, Fariza leaps from a dollhouse to the high bar, and, if not her mother's strong arms, would have flopped down to the asphalt.

More than anything Ilove 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', they're so future first grader Alik Archegov cannot find the words. Iunderstand that he wants to join the special forces. Alikis one of those who went through captivity while in his mother's womb. Oksana Archegova says that her son heard it all, and knows everything.

Now Oksana and her daughter Linda are in Moscow for yet another surgery. While she is telling her story, once again Iam amazed at how the pain in children's hearts crosses borders and distances.

For 7years, Russians and Americans have been helping several families cope with the consequences of their injuries. Oneof them, Vladimir Minyakov, told surgeon Victor Grishkevich about Linda. Thegirl has huge scars after being burned, and Victor Maximovich (Grishkevich), who long ago moved to the U.S., comes to Moscow every year and does surgeries on these children forfree.

Oksana shows photographs of her daughter's arms before and after surgery, and smiles happily. Thensays shyly: We have so much, but really so little is needed just good health for the surviving children

Expert Commentary

Susanna Dudiyeva, head of the 'Mothers of Beslan' public organization:

“We recently met with President Dmitry Medvedev. Wewanted to address two sets of issues. Thefirst and most important for us was that an objective investigation be performed, and punishment for all found to be at fault for allowing unhindered this hostage-taking and mass murder to take place. Webrought the president a petition in which we included some issues with the investigation of the attack. Heasked for an opportunity to study them like a lawyer. Thesecond set is devoted to social issues. Wewant to have the status of victims injured in the attack. Thiswill allow continued treatments, benefits and privileges. Injured service members from the (Osetian) Republic, under the 'Combating Terrorism' law were allocated 116apartments, but what about others who lost breadwinners or their health? Dmitry Anatolievich (Medvedev) said that making and quick decision about a new law on the status of victims of terrorist attacks is not possible. Thenext day we contacted the ombudsman for the North Caucasus federal district, A.Khloponin. Later we had a meeting with Health MinisterT.Golikova. Wehope that problems with treatments and improving victims' lives can be solved, but you know, you cannot calm our hearts with just some pills. Weneed faith in justice and the law.”

In 'Arguments and Facts'

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