They Cry in Silence Jan/Feb 2006
On the first day of September, all schools in the Russian Federation celebrate a holiday that has come to be known as the Day of Knowledge. Children attend dressed in their best clothes and accompanied by parents and other members of their families. In a festive atmosphere marked by introductions and speeches, first graders are escorted to their classrooms to begin their formal education.
It was on the Day of Knowledge celebration, September 1, 2004, that Chechen-Muslim terrorists attacked Middle School No. 1 in the Russian town of Beslan, near Chechnya. Terrorists stormed the school and took more than 1,000 hostages. The siege lasted several days. On September 3 shooting broke out; and, according to an official count, 344 people were killed—186 of them children. Hundreds more were wounded.
Tragically, Christians were also among the victims. At the time, believers everywhere were urged to pray for and assist our brethren affected by the brazen, heartless atrocity.
Barely a year later, a Chechen terrorist faction allegedly led by the same Muslim warlord, Shamil Basayev, struck again. On October 13 Islamists made a major assault on police and government buildings in Nalchik, the capital of the Northern Caucasus region about 60 miles from Beslan. Officials reported that at least 85 people lost their lives during the fighting.
The attack raised fears about the safety of missionaries and church-es in the town. According to a BosNewsLife report, leaders of a Christian missionary organization called Russian Ministries were forced to flee and are concerned the terrorism might hamper efforts to present the good news of Jesus to Muslims in Nalchik.
The sad fact is that, in this troubled region where militant Islamists and Russian forces have been at war for more than a decade, Christians and their children are caught in the middle and victimized by the fighting. All of which points again to the fact that we live in a time of international turmoil that Satan uses to assault believers and afflict churches, pastors, missionaries, and other workers in an effort to shut down the proclamation of the gospel.
Central to his strategy is hitting saints where it hurts the most: the death and maiming of children. In Beslan, an extremely happy event for children and parents was turned into a catastrophe that will plague the community forever. There will never be another Day of Knowledge free from the memories of that terrible murder spree.
We at The Friends of Israel continue to offer, without charge, the “Remember” lapel pin to anyone who will simply ask for it. These reminders are not a gimmick to gain support or attention for our ministry. They represent a seriousness of purpose that mirrors the turbulent times we live in. Christians, and their children, who love Christ as much as you and I, are suffering and dying. We must remember them with our prayers, influence, and material means. It is not an option. It is an obligation.