05 August, 2021

A Caspian Of Spilt Blood

Moment of truth for Putin? Or the Chechens? For the Russians certainly, who want the festering wound healed or excised. Updates

A Caspian Of Spilt Blood
It’s Sunday, September 5, and Beslan in North Ossetia wakes up to a grey sky that gets murkier every minute. This is the day people are to bury those killed at School No. 1, where the firefight between Chechen rebels and the Russian security forces left behind a heap of bodies in the rubble of devastated buildings. With a population of just 30,000, and the unofficial death toll possibly touching 500, every 60th person in Beslan has a kin to mourn.

The coffins are placed in the courtyards of apartment blocks. The funeral ceremony is immaculately Ossetian. Dead boys are dressed in suits, girls in all their finery. In even-numbered groups, visitors express condolences to ashen-faced family elders standing in rows. In Ossetia, only men speak at the funeral. But this ritual has been waived today. An old lady, Irina Sikoyeva, steps forward to ask, "Who’ll bear the responsibility for the killing of our kids? What’s the fault of our elders who survived the Great Patriotic War (World War II) that God made them see their grandchildren dead?"

Women in black crowd around the...

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