Olga Romanova: In Memory of a Gallant Heroine
Nearly lost among the big headlines regarding the news of the standoff in Moscow by the Chechen rebels, a brief note commented on an extraordinary case of courage and sacrifice.
Olga Romanova, a 26 year-old perfume-shop clerk offered her life in an unselfish act of love toward her fellow man. At 3:30 am on October 24, Olga set out from her parent’s home with whom she lived and with a steady pace she reached the besieged theatre House of Culture in Southeast Moscow. Her mother begged her in vain not to go because the place was in sheer chaos. Olga had confidence that she could convince the rebels to release the hostages, if not all of them, at least the women and children. She knew very well the neighborhood and somehow she reached the theater unnoticed by the police and the army who had hastily cordoned off the old building. At 4 am the young woman entered the theater and confronted the rebels. A communiqué from the pro-Chechen information agency the Kazvak Center gave their version of Olga's fate.
The rebels considered that she was there to collect information as a spy and she was summarily shot.
This beautiful woman was beautiful not only in the photo that shows her radiantface, but also her spirit. She had a very kind heart. Her main belief was that she would feel righteous indignation about any manifestation of injustice.
This is the material that heroes are made from. These are the ones that are ready to expose their own safety and security in order to help anyone who is in danger, like the firefighters and policemen that confronted the terror on 9/11. They fulfilled to the last consequence their duty to serve and protect the public. Olga was not a public servant but a simple citizen with an enormous sense of responsibility.
There will be some critics who will say "she was in the wrong place at the wrong time or that she acted imprudently." I don't believe that. The young Romanova exposed herself to lethal danger because she believed it was her duty. She didn't hide with the excuse of "it's not my problem" or "there's nothing I can do."
Her love for humanity was enormous. Bigger than in many of us who drink coffee or watch TV as we comment on the world affairs or simply let things go by.
We cannot, we must not let this gallant action pass unnoticed. I request the supporters of NAPF to call their nearest Russian Embassy and ask that Russia recognize and emphasize Olga's sacrifice.
If the day comes that on this grieving planet, tormented by hate and greed people like Olga Romanova will cease to exist, we will throw in the towel and will declare evil as the final winner.
Ruben Arvizu is the General Coordinator of Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Latin America.