“When did it all begin? It was the army assault of the third day, when the shooting began. I only remember a ball, I don’t know what it was but I think that it flew in from outside. It flew in, stopped somewhere in the middle and suddenly there was a bright red explosion. I tried to grasp what had happened but the people lying under the ball were not moving. They were red, perhaps on fire, not moving. Then there was another sharp explosion and the only other thing I remember are two garages and me falling down.”
“For several days in a row funerals were taking place. This lasted up until the end of September because many people couldn’t find the bodies of their loved ones. Many of them even buried empty coffins since bodies couldn’t be found. They would simply only bury the dead ones’ things. There were always mothers, grandmas, grandpas crying, all dressed in black. I remember not being allowed to go out because funerals were taking place all around and I would always start crying. As soon as I saw a person in black I started crying hysterically and ran home.”
“Obviously, we were in shock. For a very long time we couldn’t comprehend what had happened. The adults tried to comfort us. Some of them even said that it is only a recording of some educational movie and that they would release us in a while. But when the children started shouting and crying, the terrorists got angry and began shooting up in the air – for the time being. Then a gentleman said: ‘Let at least the children go. We are adults so keep us in.’ I don’t recall precisely what they replied but they shot him. Right in front of our eyes. He fell down and two of our colleagues from higher classes grabbed his arms and legs and brought him out of the gym. Then they gave our classmates buckets with water, they took of their aprons and used them to clean the blood so that we wouldn’t have to look at it.”
Alina Naldikojeva comes from an Ossetian family. She was born in Beslan. Her mother grew up in Čermen where conflicts flared up between the Ossetians and the Ingush people. A memory is stored up in the family history that at the time of the conflict the men were taken away and shot dead. At the time of the Beslan attack she was about to go into sixth grade and her brother to eighth grade. On 1 September she could hardly wait for the school year to begin. Sixth grade meant a new teacher and new subjects. She was looking forwards to the new school year ceremony taking place at the schoolyard. “My mum wanted to go with us but we told her that we are big enough so she stayed home while dad was at work that day.” When they heard gunshots at the schoolyard they first though that it was fireworks. In a short while the crowd pulled them along to the gym. During the first day the terrorists took away and shot most of the men. They told the hostages that their government did not care about them. The third day an “incredible ball” flew inside the house. As a result of the explosion, Alina flew out and only remembers falling down in the direction of the garages. She only regained consciousness in the hospital. Her brother managed to jump out of the window following the explosion and run away. In the next month, Beslan was full of funerals. Those who didn’t find the body only buried a coffin with personal items. Alina found it hard to look into the eyes of acquaintances that lost a relative in the school. As she says: “It is very hard to comprehend that someone isn’t here anymore while I am.”Translation coming soon.