s might be expected, planeloads of foreign aid for the
relief effort after the school siege in Beslan, Russia, have been
sent in, but the scale of the horror seems to have evoked an unusual
outpouring of sympathy.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations have been channeled
by Russian émigrés, Orthodox churches and Christian evangelicals in
the United States. Flowers are piling up outside the Russian
Consulate in New York. People have lined up outside the Russian
Embassy in Washington to sign a condolence book. About 150,000
people on Monday night snaked under torchlight and candles through
Rome. Children carried banners reading: "Children with the Children
of Beslan. They will not murder our future."
International leaders continued to express sympathy four days
after the explosions and shootings at the school. Pope John Paul II
sent condolences, saying he hoped the "spiral of hatred and
violence" would not prevail. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of
Italy expressed "horror and pain."
Tony Blair, the British prime minister, said yesterday that the
killing of children brought terrorism to an "even more depraved
level," adding: "We stand in complete solidarity with Russia and the
Russian people in saying these people will not prevail."
The deaths of so many people in such a spectacular way has been
compared to another September morning horror.
"The terror act in Beslan is Russia's Sept. 11th," read a
headline across an online solicitor of relief funds, the
International Foundation for Terror Act Victims, www.moscowhelp.org.
Letters on themoscowtimes.com also evoked the attacks of Sept.
11. One letter writer expressing sympathy said he was a former New
York City firefighter who survived 9/11. Another recalled the
killings on "two peaceful, beautiful September mornings."
"It's something that shocks the nation and the world in same way
Sept. 11 did," said Andrew Mogilyansky, a Russian-émigré businessman
who helped set up the site www.moscowhelp.org and its charity after
the attack on a Moscow theater in 2002. "Russia is standing still,
awestruck and horrified, and the whole world should as well," he
said. "It's not just another terrorist event. It's Sept. 11."
Mr. Mogilyansky said yesterday that his charity was bringing in
about $10,000 an hour, collecting at least $300,000 by late
An evangelical organization, Russian Ministries, which helps
establish Christian churches in the former Soviet Union, and has
offices in Wheaton, Ill., said it has raised $18,000 for the Beslan
relief effort. Its president, Anita Deyneka, said the ministry had a
center 10 miles from Beslan. About 40 children who attended its
summer camps had been among the hostages, she said.
"I received calls with people weeping," she said. "Others wanted
to send teddy bears. I think our own experience with terrorism and
the fact this was targeted at children have touched the hearts of
people in America."
The Orthodox Church in America is preparing its own appeal for
funds, to be presented at its 700 churches, missions and
institutions in North America, said a spokesman, the Very Rev. John
Matusiak. "There's a real groundswell," he said.
Scores of people have made donations through the Russian
Consulate and Russian Embassy, although officials could not provide
figures. "It's useless to count the money," said an embassy
spokesman, Yevgeniy Khorishko. "It's not the point, how much money.
It's the reaction of the Americans."
The United States, France and Italy have sent medical and other
supplies. Doctors Without Borders sent physicians, and international
agencies like Unicef, the World Health Organization and the Red
Cross were also making appeals or providing assistance.
Jason Horowitz contributed reporting from Rome for this