Friday, September 23, 2005

Beyond words

More sad and sinister news relating to the Beslan school massacre. From The Moscow Times:

At least 11 mothers of children who perished in last year's Beslan school attack have turned to a cult that promises to resurrect the dead for money.

Some Beslan families fear that the mothers' quest will discredit their efforts to establish the truth about the attack, which killed 331 people, including 186 children.

Police say their hands are tied because no one has filed a complaint.

Susanna Dudiyeva and Anneta Gadiyeva, who complained to President Vladimir Putin at a Sept. 2 meeting about the handling of the hostage-taking crisis, joined nine other mothers at the Kosmos hotel last Saturday for a gathering of 400 followers of Grigory Grabovoi.

"I believe in the miracle of resurrection," Dudiyeva said, her voice trembling, as she stood next to Grabovoi on the podium.

"I used to read fairy tales to my children. I told them to believe in them and to believe in God," she said, in footage shown on NTV television. "We will follow this path until the very end for the sake of our children."

Grabovoi, who covered the mothers' travel expenses, called the meeting the sixth congress of the "DRUGG political party." DRUGG, which sounds like the Russian word for "friend," is the Russian acronym for the Voluntary Dissemination of Grigory Grabovoi Teaching.

Grabovoi promised attendees that Beslan children would be resurrected in October, Izvestia reported.

According to DRUGG literature and previous lectures by Grabovoi, he offers people the chance to learn how to resurrect their loved ones on their own. Grabovoi, however, does not accept responsibility for failure, saying the dead sometimes refuse to be resurrected, or are resurrected in other parts of the world or in the bodies of other people.

But Zalina Guburova, who lost her 9-year-old son in the attack, was ready to accept his terms. "I want my child back, and I will believe in anything to get him," she told NTV.

At Saturday's gathering, a woman stood up and loudly accused Grabovoi of being a charlatan. She was led away by two of his guards.

"Many people told us that we would be cheated and drawn into something here," Dudiyeva then said, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported. "But we are just mothers whose souls are in pain."

Dudiyeva, who heads the Beslan Mothers' Committee, could not be reached for comment this week.

But Ella Kesayeva, an activist with the committee, suggested that her peers had been drawn to the cult because the authorities hoped to discredit the committee, which is widely respected for its tireless efforts to learn what really happened at the school.

"Most of us do not share those ravings about resurrection, and we believe that this filthy story was invented to cast our committee in a bad light," she said by telephone. "We believe in God. We don't need charlatans. We are past the most painful times, and we don't want to turn into zombies."

Kesayeva accused Grabovoi of taking advantage of the mothers and said he should be punished.

Yana Voitova, a North Ossetia-based journalist, said she knew of at least two Beslan mothers who were collecting the 40,000 ruble fee in hope of seeing their children again.

Mairbek Tuayev, a Beslan resident who lost his daughter, said several Grabovoi representatives came to the town late last year to distribute literature. "They are hitting at the most painful spots," he said. "They told my wife that it would be easier to bring back my daughter because her twin sister was alive."

Tuayev said one father whose daughter died was telling friends that a way had been invented to pass between the worlds of the dead and the living but that the government was hiding it from people.


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