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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 09:18, September 08, 2004
Russian pain draws attention to techniques for fighting terrorism
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Following crashes of two Russian airliners by terrorist attacks, a greater shock and sorrow befell on Russia in September. On September 1, more than 1,200 teachers, schoolchildren and their parents were taken hostages by a group of armed men when they were attending the first day of their new academic year in No 1 Middle School in the town of Beslan of Russia's North Ossetia region. After two days of confrontation between police and armed men, the violence ended in a hostage standoff with militants: more than 30 terrorists were killed with more than 10 Russian troops died. People are amazed at the death toll of the hostages �C so far 338 hostages were killed with 191 missing. In addition, 435 sounded people are in a North Ossetia hospital. And scores of them are in critical condition. Because of this, the death toll may be further increased.

Compared with plane crashes, the hostage incident is more obviously called as "Russian edition of September 11". Intentionally or unintentionally, the hostage incident in September will add ill omen to the "black September". The startling innocent casualties are the largest scale of killing since September 11 three years ago. It is more unacceptable is the terrorists in the Beslan incident went a step further to a wrong path of anti-humankind and anti-civilization. They even took children as hostages - terrorists threatened via cell phone that if a militant were killed they would kill 50 children. If a militant were wounded, they would kill 20 children as reprisal. In the end, nearly 160 children were dead in the tragedy. The terrorist immolation should not be the bleeding wound for Russia. First it shows the common understanding of culture and ethnic superiority in the civilized world -- achieved in condemning terrorism since September 11 -- cannot form a limit to terrorist forces naturally. The common understanding and ethnic superiority is that civilian life cannot be trampled. The over-limit fight chose by terrorists shows they are not limited by culture and morality. It is natural that they will not be moved by international condemnation. What is more terrible is: the Beslan hostage incident has made a breakthrough in the bottom line of terrorists' human relations. They are experimenting new tactics for fighting the civilized world, a new signpost for terrorism.

As a matter of fact, taking the hostage crisis of Moscow Theater happened in October 2002 as a reference when the school hostage incident occurred, observers made unoptimistic forecast. There is not enough room for negotiations as both sides serve their respective interests. The theater hostage crisis ended when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to discharge anesthetic gas to fight the terrorists. As a result, some 100 died at the hostage incident. It is not unexpected that the Russian government uses force to end the incident. But the great civilian casualty price has made people shock that the anti-terrorism techniques are of mediocrity and too simple.

From the Iraqi beheading hostages to the repeated plane crashes to explosion and to stretching terrorism hands to schoolchildren, all these show that terrorist forces restart their attacks in ways that cannot be prevented and display their growth with more cruel-hearted ways. On the other hand, it is a soft way that the international anti-terrorist league uses to control terrorism. As a result, there are not many ways for fighting against terrorism. US President George W. Bush acknowledged in his interview with National Broadcasting Company that the war against terrorism cannot end in victory. The best result is that the room for terrorism will be narrower. This may be not his error in speaking.

If it were true, terrorism would no doubt become more horrible than wars. It would be necessary and possible to have an international cooperation similar to that in the Second World War if the entire world knew the severity fully. After September 11, United States has made outstanding achievements in collecting terrorism information; Israel has experiences dealing with issues including suicide bombers and locking extremists; Russia enjoys scientific superiority in anti-terrorism from applying missiles to weed out Chechen ringleader Dzhokar Dudayev to dealing with terrorists with anesthetic gas; the European countries have effectively disintegrated a series of social bases of terrorist organizations through national autonomy and developing economy since the late years of 1980s. It is natural to develop rich techniques to deal with terrorism if all these resources can be combined through a permanent cooperative organization.

By People's Daily Online

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