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"I will stay here"

Those who survived hell

I found out the opinion of about two dozen young men and women, Russian Israelis, who were heavily injured in the Club Dolfi terrorist act in June, 2001. I'll remind you that there were 128 victims of the explosion - 20 died and 108 were injured.

Out of the 20 surveyed teenagers, many of whom are still being healed, only one girl said that she would like to leave Israel forever. The others - many years more mature now, because of what happenned - talked about revenge and about how, in their opinion, war against terrorism should be carried out. Nearly everyone told me that they would never leave this country - here are the graves of their friends, and to run away would be to betray the victims' memory and to hand over victory to the terrorists. Here are some of the teenagers' answers:

Ana Sinichkina:

"When Israel was a desert, they did not want this land. Now that Israel is a developed nation, they suddenly realized that this is their territorry. Should we leave because of them? No, they will not live to see that moment".

Polina Valis:

"I never wanted to leave Israel in the first place. Not because this land is so dear to me, but because I'm used to this place. I have lived through a lot here - even before the terrorist act. I also have many Israeli friends. There's nothing wrong with my life here".

Sonya Shistik:

"Mom wants to leave. But I don't think I'll be able to start life all over again. I don't want to. I came from Tomsk, where I was 5 years old, while here I'm already 15. Here are all my friends and I don't want to go anywhere else.

Catherine Pelen:

"I am, of course, afraid that something might happen to my parents or with my brother - I am afraid to let him join the army. But I do not regret that we came here. Even a long time before the explosion, I spoke with my friend on this issue and told her: 'Whatever happens, I came to my country and I will stay here'".

Maxim Malchenko:

"My parents said: okay, once you heal - we pack up and leave. I immediately replied: 'I won't go anywhere!' we are tourists here. For now. After what happenned, I requested citizenship from the ministry of internal affairs. It's being reviewed".

Rita Abramova:

"On TV, I often turn on international channels and there they tell about what's happenning in Israel, in a tone accusing Israel. I would like to address all journalists. If your children would leave for a disco one evening and tell you: 'Don't worry mom and dad, I'll be back soon' and would not return? If you would have to look for your children all over the city hospitals and morgues, and identify their bodies? If you would live through this terror? Then you would understand what a tragedy it is and what's really happening around here".

- Dmitri Radishevsky, "Moscow News"

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Author of the collages in "Memorial" Sasha Ganelin ©  Author of the site dolfi.ru - Alexander Elshtein © 2002 All rights reserved
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