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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Child Murderers

 

Anthony McIntyre • 6 September 2004

Today my wife and I accompanied our three year old daughter to school. It was her first day back after the lengthy but wet summer break. Her exuberance added buoyancy to her excitable demeanour which, as the day moved on, proved infectious. She had talked about it for weeks. As soon as she set foot in the living room this morning, and even before she howled for her 'favourite' to be put on the TV, she handed me the phone with the instruction, 'ring the taxi.' Last night before going to sleep she laid her green uniform out on her bedroom floor, with her pink and white socks tucked neatly into the trouser bottoms. It was cute. Initially her mother thought I had done it. On learning it was the child she took a photo of the 'arrangement' to send to her own mother in Los Angeles.

A few days earlier the same scene was surely played out in many Russian homes. The big difference being that at the end of our daughter's school day she was there for us to collect, to be put in a taxi and taken home with us. For many Russian parents that was not possible. For some children it was their first and final day in school.

When we send our young off to school, the quietude occasioned by their departure is an opportunity to catch up. There is always something that can be done much easier and quicker without the persistent questions and demands that come from a three-year-old. Even if it is no more than a response to an impatient request repeated ad nauseum to have the TV channel switched to Scooby Doo, it draws us away from our own preoccupations of the moment, irritating us as a matter of course. Mumbling under the breath has little impact on them, drawing only the admonishment, 'you said a bad word.' They hold no brief for adult conversation or concentration. Theirs is a world of instant gratification. To be temporarily freed from that is not without its rewards.

At the end of the school day we always expect that they will be there for us. We allow them to go to their class rooms where our eyes are not on them because we are convinced they are safe. The teachers are solid and trustworthy, the bus driver is cautious, astute and reliable. After the first week at school the children's absence from home is not missed but welcomed. If someone were to phone us and tell us that the UDA were up at the school our biggest fear would be that it was up trying to sell drugs. Despite the hate machine that was cranked up at Holy Cross three years ago and the willingness of some to wage war on the four year olds, few of us really think that loyalists are going to walk in and slaughter all the children they come across. It was something they could have done at any stage since 1969. If any within their ranks showed an inclination towards it there were always wiser heads to counsel against.

When news broke last week that Chechen rebels had occupied a school and were holding the children hostage, a sense of trepidation took grip. The children's captors had already established a reputation for themselves as ruthless and brutally indifferent to the fate of the innocent in their midst. They had earlier been blamed for bringing down two Russian civilian airliners through the use of self-destruct bombers. Last year they had siezed a Moscow cinema which resulted in the deaths of over 100 hostages largely because of the gas fired into the building by Russian commandos. Once they had opted to take over a school in Beslan and imprison children, an ominous outcome beckoned.

The people who occupied the school ostensibly demand independence for Chechnya. In their way is a Kremlin administration headed by the thug Vladimar Putin, sometimes referred to as a president. In style and application he is little different from the communist czars who preceded him, or the nobility who the communists themselves displaced. His administration's treatment of the Chechen situation has been nothing less than abominable and barbaric. He has up to 300 000 troops in the independence seeking region. One source estimates that 35, 000 Chechen childen have been butchered by Russian troops. Over the course of a decade Chechnya's population has been more than halved. Putin's ability to tighten the screw of repression has been facilitated by a US regime which, in the words of Tariq Ali, rewards the crimes of its friends and punishes the crimes of its enemies. Because the Moscow administration settles its own disputes under the rubric of the international 'war on terror', the US agrees that human rights are something for Iraqis but not for Chechens.

Witnesses to the Beslan school massacre stated that the Chechen killers claimed they were murdering children in response to the slaughter of Chechen kids by Russian forces. Whatever justification or rationale they seek to offer, those who purposely set out to kill children are today's equivalent of Nazis. The notion that Nazis are peculiar to their own time and place, the product of specific historical and political conditions, is one whose intellectual value is fast depleting. Whatever else it may purport to be Nazism is an attitude which incorporates the notion that there is justification for selecting children for extermination because they were born in one place rather than another. Apologists aiming to provide political cover for the cult of infanticide by manufacturing the alibi of political context, ensure their own banishment to a wilderness populated for the most part by the Hindley-Brady Appreciation Society. Their reluctance to square up to the child killers and brook them no tolerance whatsoever, their pretence that somehow the cult of infanticide, for all its inherent abhorrences, hails from the same venerable tradition as other oppositional currents, serves to Nazify and demean the range of resistance cultures that strive daily to restrain, oppose and eradicate brutal regimes such as Putin's.

Des Wilson recently wrote that sometimes circumstances leave no option but to use the weapons of the powerful against them. He was certainly right to protect the integrity and legitimacy of such a position. It is one the radical tradition must vigilantly firewall against those who prey on children. While radicals must always be on the the side of justice, child murderers can never be.



 

 

 

 

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Index: Current Articles



6 September 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Not In Our Name
Fred A Wilcox

Child Murderers
Anthony McIntyre

32 CSM Urges Russian Government: Recognize Chechen Independence
Sean Burns

Who is Really to Blame?
George Young

Resistance, by ANY Means.
David A' Gardner

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

Fairy Cleansing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Culture of Lies and Deceit
Liam O Comain

Labour Steps Up Pressure on IRA to Disband
Paul Mallon


30 August 2004

The Knackers Yard
Anthony McIntyre

Spin Cycle
Mick Hall

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

32 CSM Pays Tribute to Memory of Republican Socialist Volunteers
Marian Price

Let Them Stay
Davy Carlin

"Fine Words"

 

 

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