Ratings: 8.16/10 from 44 users.

Dispatches: BeslanThe school siege at Beslan was the bloodiest act of terrorism ever to take place on Russian soil. Yet beyond this horrible truth remain many unanswered questions. There is no agreement on who the terrorists were. How many they numbered? Where they came from? How they got to Beslan? What they wanted? Whether they were all killed or captured? And just how the siege which began on September 1 2004, ended so catastrophically? This Dispatches special uses testimony from eyewitnesses, survivors and security services. This is combined with video and audio archive footage presents the fullest account of what happened at Beslan.

The film examines the background to the events of Beslan. It also looks at the Russian state’s reaction to the atrocity and the motivation of the hostage-takers. Beslan School Siege also documents how a small town is coming to terms with the loss of its children.

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51 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Dorian Lindberg

    When this was happening I told my GF that they should make a deal. She said that Negotiating with terrorists is a bad Idea. It turns out that both of us were wrong. RIP those poor souls.

  2. Chris

    This is what a person would call - - Extremist Anarchy. Who the terrorists were nobody knows or how many of them survived in the aftermath. Looking at the faces of each child reminded me of another story that hardly got any publicity was Rwanda because of the O.J. Simpson trials. Hundreds of thousands of children were needlessly butchered some by their own families at gun point. Many could say religion was part of it, while others say it was because of a political scandal, or maybe both combined.

    Like Beslan... Rwanda was quiet, serene, and quite humble. Now put either a Christian, or Catholic mission between them. Now you have a trigger point, which would start a genocidal atrocity that would echo through the ages for hundreds of years. Nearly nine hundred thousand died in Rwanda because the hutu's declared that the tutsi's were evil, and literally took it to heard because of their innocent upbringing. Beslan is no different. Put two religious institutions together in one place you have a volatile bomb ready to go off, and the school was the perfect stage for that to happen.

    Extremists who use religion believe that their faith is the true one no matter what anyone else says to convince them otherwise. Since everyone dies the same way of old age, accidents, or like Beslan... terror, then the cell believed that letting them die by the gun was ultimately no different since the body is just a shell holding our life force before death. In their minds they released them from the earth by the quickest way possible. To kill... takes a rigid heart, and nearly no emotions when pulling the trigger. It is disheartening to see such acts, and listening to the witnesses who survived.

    Yet for the cell who attacked them they chose that school simply because it was the easiest, most public place where both parents, and children would be attending. It wasn't all about a political agenda, and if it was they would have made demands, but they did not. No... it was only about being recognized for their faith. Using god as their ally, and justifying mass murder as a means to an end.

    1. Harry Weaver

      Religion was a mask.
      It's a common one.
      This was just another CIA op.

  3. sara

    Why does everything happen in September???

    1. RobGR

      I believe it stems from the Black September organization and the 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich Massacre. The infamous event has thus influence many terrorist attacks.

  4. Phillip Kalaveras

    I will never forget or forgive what happened in Beslan. I hope to go to Beslan someday and bring with me some water from my home for the children who will forever be in Beslan

  5. Sid Rip

    what happened in beslan used to happen in chechnya everyday but no one is crying over the chechen people

    1. Slave Of Allah

      what a liar,the muslims abducted and raped 1000s of ethnic russian females,thats what caused the first chechynan war,you are terrorists and not even human beings

  6. StacyR

    You ppl are going on and on over which "religion" kills more, which country does the worse torture, who has more terrorists.... Most of you are missing the point. Several evil bastards took over a school and killed innocents! I'm sitting here weeping for the pain these ppl have/are endure! Religion doesn't kill people any more than a knife, gun or sticks kill people.
    PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE! People with f***** up twisted views & ideology, but to blame it on a certain religion or political view is to take away responsibility where it lies ~ and it lies ONLY with those evil bastards who woke up that day, knowing full well what they were going to do! Murder!
    Sure, some of the terrorist may have been victims themselves of terror attacks from the state or whomever, but to me that only makes them even more morally evil, culpable and cruel. They, knowing the pain it has caused themselves, do the same to OTHERS? And this is supposed to justify what exactly?
    I don't have all the answers, but lets keep the focus on what these bastards did as a cowardly evil act. To give argument to religion or politics, is to only further their so called "cause".
    They are mass murderers, nothing more.

    1. Devon Griffiths

      Yes, people kill people, but religious and political views CAUSE them to do so. Your argument reminds me of someone saying that bombs aren't dangerous because bombs don't kill people, explosions do. It's absurd.
      That's not to absolve the perpetrators of culpability, but the ideas are culpable too. Let's take Nazism for example: yes, it was people that ultimately perpetrated the crimes, but Nazism is not a neutral idea, immune to criticism, just because of that. It motivated those people, it gave them the ability to commit the crimes and think they were justified, and feel no remorse. The people who did the things are no less guilty because of this; but neither is their ideology. It's all part of it.

    2. GetReal

      I don't know about all that. I can only tell you what I do know and it's this. I've never seen or heard of a Christain, Jew , or Buhdist flying an airplane in the the side of a building and massacuring hundreds of innocent people. I've never seen or heard of a Christain, Jew , or Buhdist, strapping bombs onto the bodies of women and children for the purpose of their Jihad.

    3. God15

      really? look at history, look at some of the things people have done in the name of christ. look at the crusades...

    4. Kevin

      Oh please.

    5. socon

      Christians haven't engaged in such savagery for hundreds of years. Muslims are doing it today.

      Try to keep up.

    6. Yogurt Head

      Are you kidding? Do you remember a little event called the Holocaust? Hitler was a deranged Christian similarly to the way these people are deranged Muslims. Today there are hundreds of racist, homophobic, etc atrocities committed every year in the name of Christianity by the delusional.

    7. Frustrated

      Yogurt head, whether or not HITLAR SAID he was Christian, he wasn’t. Christ taught humility, charity, love and passiveness, ever heard of “turn the other cheek?” People can lie, but HITLAR was a COMMIE FASCIST DICTATOR WHO ADMIRED SOCIALISM AND EVIL IN ALL ITS FORMS! KUDS TODAY NEED TO BE TAUGHT TRUTH BEFORE THEY ARE TOTALLY BEAINWASHED AND AMERICA HAS TO GO THROUGH AWFUL TIMES BECAUSE YOUTH THINK SOCIALUSM IS “COOL.”

    8. Ms B

      You go girl!

  7. Cepera Vikentiev

    I am sad for reading comments that we ask for this troubles. we ask for this to happen? are u f-ing insane? My brother die at Beslan, he know nothing of politics.I was 2nd year- I know nothing of politics. I only know loss and hate. There is not a winner in war.

    1. John David Laing

      So sorry for your loss. It was a tragedy beyond comprehension.
      May God bless you.

    2. Emily Madison

      My heart goes out to you and your family. I dated a young man who lived through Beslan- his parents were both teachers who ended up being killed in front of him. What happened there is a disgusting travesty and nobody should ever have to experience it. I was not strong enough to support him in his grief and hatred, and I can't help but wonder if he should really be considered "lucky" about living through it when the memories chip away at his resolve every day. The quote that comes to my mind is "war does not show who is right, rather it shows who is left".

  8. Rodney Carroll

    According to US ideas all they would have had to do I put a NO GUNS sign on the door and this would have never happened

  9. SoldierOfHumanity

    funny how religion..................., the thing that is supposed to free us from evil, is the very center of evil itself. from times before christ, religion has waged war on itself, killing the very people it said to protect. christians, muslims .................. what about humans? religion created war, now let war kill religion.

    1. John David Laing

      You can't seriously think that war was invented by religion! War is always complex, and one need only take a cursory look at the factors involved in the most recent wars to see that religion is not the cause of war. The evil in men's hearts is the cause of war, and it is usually caused by greed of some sort--for money, power, or the like. Those in power use religion to substantiate their power-grabs, when it suits them, but they will use nationalism, ethnicity, or any other means to rally the troops for their purposes; whatever they need to do in order to get others to bear arms on their behalf. War is a natural outflow of the struggle for limited resources, those needed or those desired.

  10. Zatarra

    PUTIN DONT NEGTIATE WITH TERRORIST he knows thats pointless anyhow these terrorist action taken by muslims gives russia america iseral india and china public support to fight against allah's misguided freedom fighters and give them the fast track to allah'a paradise.

  11. Jaime

    @ Z I cannot disagree more with YOU. Islam is much more violent than Christianity has ever been. Islam was spread by force and conquest Christianity was not. When "Christians" commit crimes they are going against the teachings of the bible. Jihadists pride themselves on being "pure" to Islam and following the false Prophet Mohammed. Tell me what the hell does NATO and the US in Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with Beslan? What prompted you to bring that up? Our democratization of those two countries will improve the peoples lives there and improve our and the regions security. What has Russia done to improve Chechen lives and security in he Caucuses?

    1. Jason Hamill

      Uhh.. the Crusades? That's how Christianity spread across Europe..

    2. John David Laing

      Just to correct you--Christianity did not spread across Europe by the Crusades. Christianity spread across Europe through missionary activity; it has never spread en masse through force (though you have had specific instances for forced conversions). The Crusades were actions taken ostensibly to protect pilgrims traveling to the holy land, and then later, to take back the holy land which Muslims had conquered. Of course, it is even more complex, because it was actually some time after the original Muslim conquest (in the 7th C), for the Turks (ca. 11th C) were less open to those of other faiths. But the original intent of the Crusades was soon overshadowed by the lust for money and the opportunity to profit and thus, you had Venetian merchants financing a crusade and unwitting leaders allowing knights bent only on profiteering to join in the action (and then, the sacking of Constantinople). As a Christian and historian, I would suggest that, while the Crusades included some pretty horrendous activity, the most appalling institutionalized evil of Christianity was the Inquisition, where the power of the state was utilized to imprison, torture, and execute thousands of people for the crime of having the wrong belief (or just being accused of having the wrong belief, of saying the wrong thing, of "witchcraft," etc.). If I were going to criticize Christianity, I would refer to that, not the Crusades, for the evils of the Inquisition were perpetrated in the name of the Christian God, while the horrors of the Crusades were perpetrated in the name of monetary gain.

    3. Randy Evil-h Hutchings

      Good lord (< no pun intended), but are You just -that- naive about the history of Your own religion and how it was spread around the globe?

      Between the Crusades that raged through parts of Europe and the Middle East, the Inquisition which killed tens of thousands of "heretics" in mainland Europe, and the Conquistadors who brought Your blessed religion to the Americas, killing -millions- who didn't hold Your beliefs, I'm somewhat astonished that any self-professed Christian can claim their religion was never spread by force and bloodshed.

      Just shows how willfully ignorant a great many are to the sins of their own religion, and so willful to cast such claims towards religions they know nothing about.

    4. ronhanforth

      Right, and how many modern day Christians are carrying well organized and well funded acts of mass murder in the name of Christ, these days? You apologist m*rons make me sick. You cite ancient texts and ancient history as the reason why Abdul wants to kill you today without ever knowing nor acknowledging the real modern day roots to Islamic Fascism in the world ( the MODERN day world).

    5. Guest

      Sorry Jaime but you should have a good look on the documentary here on this site, concerning the "Inquisition".
      After viewing "Secret Files of the Inquisition", you may revise what you always took for granted in your "DisneyWorld".

      The USA torture practise of water boarding we seen and witnessed lately was taken from those medieval ages.
      The vatican made the archives relating that practice avialable and consultable only in the 60's, mid 60's maybe.

      Apart the historians who sure did consulted these archives, it becomes obvious that other individuals have learn a lot by consulting these archives?

      isn't it? Factual documentated events.

    6. Damos Abadon

      You're absolutely WRONG! Christendom is by far the bloodiest, most violent, most hateful thing ever created by humans!

    7. Chavi Barahona

      you obviously a non christian.
      cause if you were then.perhaps you would know,how wrong your comment is..

  12. lilis

    Lutfi: anything based on blind obedience, either to religion, political belief, even to your own country could lead human to atrocity. I often say this in my class: what ever your believe is, it must not stop you from thinking and feeling. Remember once we watched OSama and then Schindler's list? Both have the same cause: blind faith, one to false verses of religion and the other to human race.

  13. lutfi fadhila

    1. the terrorists are mostly sad and desperate people who envy happy people. they want others to feel their misery by hurting others

    2. the terrorists thought that they would enter the heaven. but they killed people and spreaded sadness. will real god accept their behaviour?

    3. yes mrs Lilis, it's not real realigon should be. i know verses in holy Quran that talk about killing. but i guess the terrorist just blindly do it without "translate" it with heart and mind. plus, the verses have terms and condition, such as war. the terrorist is totally stup*d

  14. lilis

    I ve just watched this movie and couldn't stop crying for those innocent children who suffered and victimized beyond any sane person could imagine. I think it is a very good movie to teach my students in Indonesia about the danger of blind faith because it is getting stronger and stronger here. Could anyone tell me how I can get this movie legally? It is very critical for them see what will happen if they use violence on behalf of blind faith.

  15. z

    "Batang Makati 5 Islam is the Devils religion, and this tragedy,only shows how evil that occult is..We the people of the world must be vigilant, we must inform ourselves about the evil of this religion, and do our part to get rid of this pest"…

    I could not disagree with you more! To blame it on the Islam only is one of the stupidiest things I have heard! Please read a little and pull your head out of your ass before making such a dumb comment. Probably there are equal number of cruelties made by so called "chritians" over innocent people of any other than Christian religion,so don't go and bring out any religion in this horrible act. Is Russia right to be in Chechnya and to do whatever they are doing there -NO, were those people that did this in Beslan right-NO,were the people who flew the planes at the "world trade center" buildings right-NO,but it is the people and goverments that does that- so my point is -it's not the religion that is evel -it's the people that use it for their own selfish purposes.And it is not only religion that they are using,with the same meaning you can use the word "democrasy"also-we all see the "democracy" being introdused to Iraq and Afganistan-not that they don't need it and that Iraq's and Afganistan's people should not live better -but we all know why USA and NATO are over there ,please don't insult our inteligence.

  16. Greenock Bhoy

    That was horrible to watch.
    While not forgetting what Russia is doing to Chechnya is equally bad.
    They must reach a settlement.

  17. Reason

    Its as simple as this:

    Developed country --> Hunger for more resources --> Invasion of a poor country --> Killings --> Orphans --> Orphans grow up and look for answers ---> Developed country suffers a 9/11 ---->

    And the cycle continues ;]]

  18. stig


    "if somebody killed my wife and kids , id happily kill there’s . seems fair play."

    - The children of beslan killed your wife and kids?
    Killing innocents for a greater cause is never okay, do not let a priest, rabbi, imam, president or military ruler tell you otherwise.

  19. sisco

    they wanted Russia to get out of there country and stop killing there woman and children with bombs form there governments weapons of murder and torture. all that evil s@#$ . so they took over the school with there harts filled with anger and revenge. the right chemistry to do such a thing. if they got Russia out they would have been heroes in there lands. so it looks to me as an eye for an eye attitude. if somebody killed my wife and kids , id happily kill there's . seems fair play.

  20. sisco

    YES @ J.Ray well said my man or woman . well said .

  21. TMM

    When people have nothing to live for, especially if an Army like the Russian Army attacks and kills your family and innocent civilians, people end up with nothing to live for. What these terrorists did was 100% wrong. However, they didn't do this for fun. They did it to get revenge. What are they suppose to do when an army occupies your land and kills your family?

    -Hey, thanks for killing my family!


    Islam is a peaceful religion. These terrorists would have done the same even if they weren't Muslim. When the US or Russian Army kills civilians its an "accident". When Muslims do it, "They are all Terrorists"

  22. DaftAida

    With Georgia as intimate neighbour and Georgia also held to be an Israeli-occupied state ......?

  23. Karo


  24. Karo

    Hey, look up what the russians do to checnyans over the past 50 years.

  25. Khaled

    hear hear August!
    You got it wrong Batang.. now you're just part of the problem.

  26. Batang Makati

    Islam is the Devils religion, and this tragedy,only shows how evil that occult is..We the people of the world must be vigilant, we must inform ourselves about the evil of this religion, and do our part to get rid of this pest...

  27. August

    This is why ALL GOVERNMENTS must be destroyed along with PEOPLE WHO WANT TO CONTROL OTHERS!

  28. Fiona

    I watched this film late last night... cried when I saw children running out of the school half naked, dazed and throwing up the water they were given because they were so dehydrated from not having anything for 3 days.

    It boggles my mind that human beings are extreme 'tit'for'tatters'... that when they suffer a loss (ie: family - wives, children etc.), they want those that hurt them to suffer as well by committing such atrocities such as this on defenseless men, women and children without conscience.

    Don't they know that these children are ALL OF OUR children??! That we all come from the same fabric, the same beginnings... that we are morally obligated to care for one another - esp. those that need it most?

    It's like any other zealot that puts "God" in their terrorist actions... it's just a cop out. By bringing God into it, they 'think' it absolves them from their own malicious behaviour because they do it in His Name... -- bullsh*t. They know it, you know it and I know it... they are doing it because they have hatred in their hearts... they want others to suffer and 'enjoy' the power they have when they do it. God has nothing to do with any of our human
    behaviours... we all have a CHOICE to do what's right... we're not puppets... and should look within (and above) to do the right and peaceful actions we all know we should be doing.

  29. Yavanna

    The religion of peace strikes again. How unfortunate that the religious intellectuals on this site choose to pollute discussions on science when their mealy mouthed smugness could be here instead; explaining God's purpose and love.

  30. J.Ray

    It's hard to believe how evil humans can be.There are no governments,militaries,or police that can keep you safe from terror such as this.All people must battle the darkness inside of their own heads and realize we are all one.Anyone who thinks God is on their side is dangerous as hell.Any religious type flag wavers need take a good look at themselves because they are standing real close to the flames...