Today marks the 10th anniversary of an act of unspeakable horror.
Sept. 1, 2004, marks the day that Chechen terrorists took 1,100 men, women and mostly children as hostages at a primary school named “Comintern Street School Number One” in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia.
At the end of the ordeal 334 people, including 186 children, would be slain. Many more would be injured.
The terrorists were well armed and planned the attack with great forethought.
While the crisis had been attempted to be peacefully resolved, by the end of the third day several male hostages and one newborn had been murdered.
Russian Spetsnatz (Special Forces) engaged the terrorists. The attempted rescue was a calamity caused by blurred lines of authority and communication.
Today America watches similar horrors on our televisions and debates the issue of American military involvement in crises that seemingly have nothing to do with us.
We must ask ourselves if we are prepared to watch barbarism and rationalize that it’s not our problem.
Troops may not be the only answer. Personally, I would like to see the funders of terrorist dogma economically embargoed. It would not take much more than legislative action.
But would we citizens accept the small hiccups in our daily routines? Would our corporations be willing to sacrifice access to markets to send the message that barbarism or oppression will no longer be tolerated?
America can lead the fight against terror without sending our troops into harm’s way. But to do it, Americans have to demand concrete, effective action from our leaders.
We will have to openly accept necessary sacrifices — and our history proves that Americans have the will-power to sacrifice for a greater good. Americans have to demand our leaders embargo our economy from countries that do not share our morality.
It’s time for America to take another look at our global community and unapologetically announce that some countries are our friends and some countries need to do more to have access to our markets. If you wonder if the sacrifice will be worth it, please remember the parents of Beslan the next time you drop your children off at school.
Norman Pappous is a member of the Galveston City Council.