This article by Miguel Portas, MEP first appeared in the Portuguese paper Diário de Notícias on 16th September, just a few days after the killings at Beslam.

During the plenary session of the European Parliament this week, the right wing and the socialists (i.e. the social-democratic PES, ed.) blocked the approval of a resolution on the tragedy of Beslam. Commissioner Chris Patten synthesized, in one phrase, the position of the "central block": "this is not the time to give a lesson to Russia ". Not today, not yesterday, not tomorrow...

In the meantime, what happened in Beslam doesn't leave room for any doubts: Putin's Special Forces finished what the terrorists started. The ones that got caught were, as always, the innocents stuck between parts that only know the language of death, as politics in these areas has already retreated. On behalf of the right to independence or of the sacrosanct national unity, 500 people, the majority of which were children, lost their lives and thousands will claim for a vendetta for years to come.

These dramatic events have been written in the stars, since the President of Russia announced that its internal priority was to combat terrorism, in 1999. In its name, Putin set off the second war in Chechénia. The few that followed him revealed the atrocities committed. Europe remained silent. It wasn't an appropriate time "to give a lesson" to an army that acted as the worst of colonial occupation forces... And Europe kept silent, although it knew that each day the brutality of the actors would grow and that, sooner or later, acts such as the ones of Beslam would materialize. In addition, its forewarning could have been read in the sequestration of hostages in a Moscow's theatre which took place two years ago.

The use of children as currency has become an unqualifiedly terrorist strategy. But this fact didn't change one millimetre Putin's way of dealing with the crisis. The lives of those children were worth as much to him as to the terrorists. This is why silence is unacceptable.

It is time to say that Putin used the crisis to make a decisive move to turn himself into the new Russia's Czar. The measures that were advanced "to polarize political decisions" led him to have an almost absolute power., Silence in this case starts to sound like complicity on the part of the superior interests of the "fight against terrorism".

All becomes clear. Putin did not only loosen the dogs. He also announced his acceptance of the logic of the "preventive war" and decided to intensify the military and intelligence cooperation that Russia is already attempting with Israel. Beslam was not only a tragedy, but the trigger event to a predictable new world order realignment. Before all this, the absent Europe offers its silence to the Czar who has decided to back those who use military might against terrorism...

This Europe does not learn, not even with Iraq. There, images of horror are just as infinite as the perpetual war that G. W. Bush promised. They are the evidence of that military path, which instead of returning freedom, dignity and sovereignty, only multiplies and globalizes terrorism and resentment. One year and a half after occupation, proof is more than reiterated. How long will we give cover to actions, which positively or by default lead to the road to disaster?

Miguel Portas is a member of the Left Bloc of Portugal and the United Left Group (GUE-NGL) of the European Parliament.