September 05, 2004
Of course people are bewildered and outraged by the atrocity in Beslan but the most bewildering aspect has to be the sheer hypocrisy of so many commentators who go on as if the Chechens themselves have suffered nothing at the hands of their Russian neighbours. The Independent on Sunday. refers to the Chechen attack as "Russia's 9/11". None of the single incidents against Chechen civilians have been "9/11s" because the actions have been carried out by a state's standing army. Howard Jacobson wrings his hands whilst telling us that he cannot fathom the mind of a terrorist before deciding, with the following words, "Cradle a child in the ideology of resistance and you will make him go where our imaginations cannot", that it's the parents' fault for encouraging resistance. This, of course, doesn't explain how Menachem Begin and other Zionists embarked on their terrorist careers after they were told, not to resist their tormentors, but to run away to another land to become the tormentors there. David Aaronovitch had to chip in, wrongly invoking Mandela as a paragon of non-violent virtue. Worryingly, Putin has suggested that the attack on the school and its children took place because "We have showed weakness and weak people are beaten". Finally there is the glee with which reports of Arab terrorists among the Chechens have been greeted. But as Jason Burke in The Observer. points out "It's too easy to blame bin Laden".