Beslan Memorial San Marino

World at a Glance is an infrequent series here on Sophie’s World, portraying curious, thought-provoking, happy, sad, wondrous, unexpected little encounters.

Beslan memorial San Marino

Wandering about in the world’s oldest republic, I stumbled upon this statue of a screaming boy, wearing only his underpants. It’s a monument to victims of terrorism, specifically the school massacre in Beslan: On 1 September 2004, first day of the school year, School no. 1 in Beslan in North Ossetia (a small, autonomous republic within the Russian federation) was besieged by 30 Chechen militants. 1128 people were taken hostage. Russian special forces moved in three days later, and when the siege ended, 334 of the hostages were killed. Most were young children.

I stare at the boy for a long time, terror etched into the young face. This little sculpture touches me more than the TV broadcasts from Beslan did. Somehow it seems more real, more tangible – than images projected through a screen.

As one would expect, there are memorials to this tragedy in Caucasus – and in other parts of Russia. But why San Marino? Well, Russian is spoken in many shops and restaurants, indicating a rather large number of Russian tourists in this little country. But is there another reason as well? I don’t know…