Waves of ‘River of Memory’ marks ‘11.04.2011’ date more expressively than any words

A year has passed since that terrible day when the Minsk metro was ripped apart by an explosion

By Galina Overyanova

The pain of the terrorist act was experienced by the whole country. At 17:56 on that dark Monday, some were hurrying home; it would surely have been better for them to have worked late or to have left earlier. Of course, we cannot change the course of history. Here, in Belarus, 15 people died and 315 were injured as a result of one moment in time, which remains ‘frozen’ forever.

We learnt much about ourselves as a result, discovering that we are strong. We don’t panic and will help those needing our assistance rather than running in fear, trying to save ourselves. We can sympathise as a nation, as well as individually; our hearts have no limits.

Lamps and candles have been placed near the metro entrance, alongside flowers on the platform and mourning wreaths. Blood donor points are crowded as people come to offer more than just sympathy, transported free of charge on inner-city mini-buses. We have survived confusion, pain and fear.

A year has passed since the event, with time returning us to our everyday routines: we run to the metro in the morning because we’re late; we criticise snow fall in April and enjoy the sunshine; we keep an eye on the cost of housing; we take part in subbotniks and we plan our holidays. Life continues.

However, we also remember and mourn those who died and pray for those who still need help. Time is said to cure all wounds: an eternal wisdom which gives us strength to overcome troubles without hardening our souls. Perhaps a year is a too short a period for all wounds to close and for pain to cease — especially for those directly affected by the explosion; their lives are divided into ‘before’ and ‘after’. When the explosion tore through the station, eleven innocent people breathed their last; four more would die in hospital, despite all efforts by doctors. Meanwhile, over 300 passengers were left injured, some requiring long-term treatment.

Throughout the past year, people have laid flowers near Oktyabrskaya metro station and have lit candles. Last Wednesday, they were again lit to honour the memory of those who died. Hundreds of people attended a ceremony to unveil a bronze stella-monument. Among those in attendance were people personally touched by the tragedy, and those whose sympathies extend to others without reservation. On the ‘River of Memory’, the names of those lost are engraved on the crests of 15 waves, with the date below: ‘11.04.2011’. No further epitaph is required.

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