A disturbing story from the BBC:
In the basement of his Beslan home, seven-year-old Chermen is kicking boxes with a surprising energy given his age and his tiny frame.
His face is tense and betrays the turmoil he is feeling.
But when we sit down to talk, he regains his composure. Looking straight into my eyes, he answers my questions with clarity and confidence.
“There is no God. There is only military force. I believe in Russia and in our armed forces.
“That’s what I believed in during the terrorist attack.”
Chermen is a survivor of last year’s attack. On 1 September, pro-Chechen gunmen seized School Number One in Beslan. More than 1,000 adults and children were held inside for three days.
When the siege finally ended, 171 children and more than 200 adults were dead.
A year on, he seems to be coping well. He has started to play his beloved computer games again and he smiles frequently.
But as he recalls those three days in hell, his memories are as vivid as ever and reveal that his pain is unresolved.
“After the first explosion, a terrorist’s grenade was hit by a bullet. They all had grenades slung round them. He blew up and his brains hit me in the face. It was horrible. It was fatty and slippery.”…
A familiar tension reappears on his face.
“I feel pain. And also rage. And since then I want to avenge Oleg’s death. If I were president, I would order them to send unarmed terrorists to me and I would, with my bare hands, using a knife, slit their throats.”
In a small flat in one of Beslan’s characterless compounds, nine-year-old Laima draws a picture. It shows an armed terrorist, his face covered by a mask.
She draws several pictures until she is finally happy with the result. Then she picks it up, tears it to pieces and sets it on fire with matches.
“I draw the terrorist and burn them for all the children who died in the school. I want to take revenge on them for killing those children.”…
Since her lucky escape, Laima has been engaged in drawing and burning these pictures almost every day.
“It’s never enough. It is impossible to get enough revenge. All my life I will have to do it, because of how they held us for three days.”…