Tuesday 16 December 2014

From Beslan to Peshawar - the massacre of the innocents

It was September 2004 when 30 separatist fighters attacked a school in Beslan, Ossetia, killing 385 people, mostly children. Just over 10 years later, and we see another massacre of the innocents, this time in the much troubled city of Peshawar in Northern Pakistan.

It is hard to comprehend the mind of anyone who could do such a thing - to burst inside a school and shoot children and their teachers. But what we know from Beslan is that many of the murderers had seen their own friends and family killed in the Chechnyan war. Brutality breeds brutality.

Whilst condemning the violence of the terrorist, we cannot ignore the terror of the drone warfare that has been extensively used in the region, principally by the U.S.

Repeatedly, these drone attacks have killed many civilians including women and children - though it is almost impossible to tell how many. The US rarely hold their hands up when mistakes are made, even when independent observers say that weddings have been targeted in error. 

It is hard to do anything but weep for the mothers and fathers of such school tragedies. But the news of yet more bombing raids of areas held by the Taliban is not a solution. It is the violence meted out to the people in this region which has enabled the conditions for such an outrage to happen. More violence will not solve the situation but will exacerbate it.

Our hearts go out to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Good Lord, strengthen the peacemakers of the region, and stop this endless cycle of violence. Let there be justice, but not revenge. If we allow the outrage of these deaths to cause yet more violence, then it is only the children in places like Beslan and Peshawar that suffer in the end.

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