[EDITORIALS]Atrocity in BeslanThe school hostage-taking in the southern Russian town of Beslan was ended after 52 hours, but it left the world in deep shock and sorrow.
The hostage-taking ended in chaos and bloodshed when the Chechen militants who seized the school set off bombs and Russian commandos stormed the school, leaving more than 300 dead and 400 wounded. This was a hostage-taking of the worst kind, with many of the victims being young children.
We would like to express our condolences to the innocent victims.
The terrorists who started this hostage-taking are contemptible, cruel enough to use innocent children as human shields. When children started to faint because of the heat and thirst in the crowded gymnasium where the hostages, including adults, were kept, the militants reportedly yelled at the hostages to drink their own urine. The terrorists had given up their human rights when they started to fire upon students who started to run out of the gymnasium.
Such indiscriminate terrorism that lacks any reason or conscience, no matter how noble the cause might have initially been, will only bring an evil cycle of bloodshed and isolation.
We had prayed that the hostage-taking would end with no innocent sacrifices but the result has been tragic. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that security officials had not planned to storm the school and that the action had consequently done great damage. No matter how urgent the need to bring the terrorist groups to justice, it cannot be put ahead of the safety of the hostages.
The Russian government should heed the international criticism that Russian commandos take too many hostage lives.
This tragedy is also a reminder to us that Korea is not safe from the danger of terrorism; we have dispatched troops to Iraq. The anti-American terrorist groups in the Middle East see Chechnya as a brother Islamic nation, and some of the militants involved in the school hostage-taking were Arabs.
If the anti-American terrorism of the Middle East crosses central Asia and moves eastward, it would be a serious problem for us.
Our government must concentrate on the prevention of atrocious terrorist attacks that would threaten innocent lives and work on international cooperation to ensure the safety of our people.