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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
Memories haunt new Beslan schools
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC News, Beslan

One of the new primary schools in Beslan, North Ossetia
The new school is just minutes from School Number One
In the centre of Beslan, parents, teachers and children applauded as giant keys were presented to the headmistresses of two brand new schools.

The schools have been built and paid for by the Moscow government.

Moscow's Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, was here to take part in the ceremony.

In his address to the crowd, Mr Luzhkov spoke of "the most inhuman act in history" that took place in Beslan one year ago.

That's when gunmen seized a thousand people in School Number One.

In the explosions and gunfire that ended the siege three days later, more than 330 hostages were killed, half of them children.

Clouded

Most of the teachers and students who survived the ordeal will be going to the new school on Komintern Street, just across the road from the charred remains of School Number One.

After the opening ceremony, some of the staff and pupils were given a guided tour of the sparkling new facilities.

Why do we need this new school? There aren't enough children left in Beslan now to fill it, our children are dead
Beslan mother

They were shown state-of- the-art computer rooms and luxurious canteens.

But their impressions were clouded by painful memories.

"The school is very beautiful but still we are not happy," teacher Larissa told me, "Because those tragic days - our teachers who died, our children who died, we see them before out eyes when we enter the building".

After her look around the building, 16-year-old Viana had mixed emotions about the new school.

"It looks nice," Viana said.

"But when you think a bout the human cost that was paid to get the school built, the only feeling I have now is hatred towards the hostage takers."

One of the mothers recalled her ordeal, she had been held hostage along with her three daughters.

Two survived, her eldest child was killed.

"Why do we need this new school?" she cried, "There aren't enough children left in Beslan now to fill it, our children are dead."

But at least these schools are a sign that Beslan is trying to move on and create something positive out of the tragedy which claimed so many lives.


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See the new schools that have been built in Beslan



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