There are other news stories going on, such as Frances and Clinton's heart bypass surgery. Beslan is what I will discuss here.

The historical situation in Chechnya can - off the top of my head - be perhaps likened to the British (Protestant) occupation of (largely Catholic) Ireland. I am not justifying the actions of Britain or Ireland* (nor of Russia or Chechnya) by stating this; I am, however, sick of reading/hearing people's rants about "those muslim terrorists" when it seems the person who rants knows jack about Chechnya. Of course, there is absolutely no excuse for a hostage-taking of a school filled with innocents. Terror does not win sympathy for any cause, so I cannot imagine what the insurgents were thinking win they picked that as their strategy. But the problem with Chechnya goes beyond a religious moralistic discontent. And I think that as parents and teachers, we can learn something from Beslan.

Those of us who homeschool are happy that our kids are, for the most part, protected by scenarios such as that which occurred in Beslan (or Columbine, or other domestic American school massacres). But what, in all this, is our lesson learned about conflict resolution?

The insurgents went into a school of over 1,000, took them as hostages, and demanded that their homeland be free of Russians. Or else. They acted with might, and placed landmines in and around the school. Russian authorities responded with might and blew up the landmines and stormed the school.

Might is Right. Right?

I wonder what would have happened if Putin instead said, "I have this policy that I do not negotiate with Chechen rebel terrorists. I am making an exception. To talk, you must de-activate your mines, leave the school, harm no one, and be ready to face a prison sentence for your crime. However, your land might be free from our government forever as a result of your actions. Yes, we will sit down and talk with you. Let's begin today."

How do we raise our children? Bobby took my toy. Okay, son, his toy is now rightfully yours! The first rule of Property is possession, right? So he's a jerk!! It's okay to punch him in the eye if he asks for his toy back!

A mine for a mine? A hit for a hit? A toy for a toy? An eye-punch for an eye-punch?

Or, I want you to talk to the bully directly or, if that doesn't work, a counselor so you and the bully can figure things out and stop hurting each other. Yes, folks, this is where it begins. Really.

Britain was "big enough" to sit down with the IRA-backed Irish representatives in 1921. The modern-day IRA cease-fire took place years later...and began only 10 years ago.

The Chechnyan problem is not just Russia's. How we deal with conflict on a global level might be answered with how we deal with conflict on a personal level, beginning at home. Modify to your curriculum as you wish.

* I do not take sides with respect to regional conflicts. This post only addresses my view that regional conflicts originate with the ways in which we are taught to deal with conflict. I myself had a brush with an IRA bomb in a phone booth when I was a student in the U.K.

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