The caretaker for the City of Angels says that society is told to forget this tragic event
“The authorities won’t be able to make us forget Beslan,” – such are the angry messages one can see filling up social media sites in North Ossetia. Residents of South Ossetia have also gotten involved.
A discussion was launched by Kaspolat Ramonov, the caretaker for the City of Angels memorial in the city of Beslan in North Ossetia regarding funding issues.
In 2004, one of the worst terror attacks took place in Beslan in the unstable north Caucasus. A group of terrorists seized the school during a holiday gathering on 1 September, where about 1 128 people were present. They were held in the school for three days without food or water, after which Russian special ops stormed the building. As a result 334 people died, including 186 children, and 783 people were injured.
Ramonov’s daughter died in the attack. He later became the caretaker of the children’s graveyard, where the victims of the terror attack were buried. He lives on site and is practically the only person who takes care of the place.
Ramonov wrote on his Facebook page that it has been two years since the City of Angels has received any financial support from the government and the memorial’s accounts have been frozen.
“All of the problems began with the coming to power of the new head of North Ossetia – Tamerlane Aguzarov,” wrote Ramonov. “There were all sorts of financial mix-ups. First they decided to make the local district responsible for us, then they were late with money; I’ve already been using my own resources for the past two years to pay workers, and to put flowers and restore monuments. I clean, I wash, I cut the grass.”
However, Ramonov wrote that this is not the only problem:
“I have information that people who are close to the current authorities come to Beslan, meet with them and the elders of different communities, and tell them that it’s time to forget the Beslan tragedy. They say its enough for us to have a mourning session from 1-3 September. They say that the terrible, 13-year-old story has exhausted its usefulness as a tragedy.”
Ramonov is clear on where he stands on the issue:
“In order to maintain order around the cemetery, I have sold all my property. I try to keep the place clean as best as I can – the place where my ‘children’ sleep, my daughter, her friends… As long as I walk and breath and live I will serve in the Garden of Angels.”
Ramonov finished his post by urging society to not betray the memory of this tragic event.
Society responded well, at least on social media. People wrote that they would never forget, while others said they were ready to start sending money to maintain the cemetery:
“How is the shock of the thing enough to remember it by? We’ve gone through much, but this is a time when we simply can’t remain quiet. Why have they cut off funding? How can this be possible, when all financial matters were being taken care of by one person?”
“This lack of respect for the people has really gotten to me. Besides money, there are no more values. If we don’t take a good look at ourselves in the mirror and examine our values closely, we’ll disappear very soon.”
“The issue is not in the local administration’s mishandling of finances – the issue is related [by the authorities] to the City of Angels itself. The question is in the status and importance of the memorial.”
“What are you talking about, ‘a constructive dialogue’? With whom? Do you think that the authorities don’t know about this? It was them after all that cut off financing.”
“Kaspolat is right, with the exception of saying: ‘I know how much respect Putin has for the Beslan tragedy’. That person, who has so much respect for the Beslan tragedy, hasn’t visited the cemetery once in over 13 years.”
“How can one try to erase such national grief from memory? Even in Europe they erected monuments to victims, to children, and people bring flowers to those spots. We need to organize a demonstration next to the government building here.”
“Let’s help ourselves out, [and help out] the unemployed, teachers, doctors, small business owners who suffered in Beslan and who need treatment … hospitals, the City of Angels and its caretaker. We ourselves can even help to complete the construction of the building owned by the head of Ossetia. But what do we need such rulers for?”