A Prayer for Mother Russia

September 6, 2004

The Washington Post has displayed some very brutal images of the siege of the Russian school and the deaths of over 300 people, about half of them children.

I have no words to express the sympathy I feel for the parents of the hostages and the hostages themselves.

I have no words to express the utter rage I feel for the sort of coward that would hide behind a child in the name of their ’cause.’

The United States and the rest of the free world may not be perfect, we may have our fair share of blemishes, but I don’t believe we would ever hide behind the face of a child. Call me naive, that’s fine, but I just don’t believe this would ever happen.

And yet, not all of the world is free. In some places this is deemed as an act of honor and justice. I want someone to tell me how. How is it possible to justify this? How can a man, or woman, look me in the eye and say, “It is just and right that I should use children as a means to serve my cause?”

I don’t think it’s possible. Oh, I know there are people who would try. But it doesn’t justify it. There is no ambivalence here. No gray area. You want proof of a morale absolute; a universal sign of right versus wrong? Take a look at the faces of the dead in Russia. It’s the face of your little sister, or you nephew, or your granddaughter, or your son. It’s the face of the innocent, it’s the face of a child who still looks up at an adult and asks, “Please teach me how to live.”

And this is what they are taught.

My heart hurts so deeply.

They were children, dammit. Children!