An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

9 September 2004 Edition

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Horror in Beslan

The slaughter in Beslan surely represents a new depth in the horror of which human beings are capable. Nothing can assuage the guilt of the kidnappers who used children in this way and who counted their lives for nothing. Whatever political purpose they claim to serve is irrelevant as far as their personal responsibility for these crimes is concerned. Neither can the Russian authorities be absolved for their gross mishandling of the siege or for their brutal repression of the Chechen people and of those in neighbouring Ingushetia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has followed Stalin's lead, with military brutality and refusal to countenance a negotiated settlement to the conflict with the Chechen independence movement.

Beslan and the reaction to it now threaten to escalate conflict in all the neighbouring regions. The world has largely turned a blind eye to these wars. The myth that the collapse of the Soviet Union brought democracy is still widely believed. The reality is that the peoples of the former Soviet Union are prey to gangsterism, unbridled capitalism, corruption and tyranny, often at the hands of former bureaucrats of the old regime, such as Putin himself. After Beslan the sympathy of the world must be turned to practical help to resolve conflict and to develop the democracy and human rights which these peoples have never known.

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