Beslan, Through A Student's Eyes

48 Hours helped reunite Dariya Fadeeva, 16, (right) and her sister, Alia, 12, a sixth-grade student. Dariya and her mother were waiting for Alia outside the school during the siege. Alia suffered severe shrapnel wounds to her legs and back, and has been recovering in a Moscow hospital since September. "She doesn't know how many of her friends are dead," says Dariya. Copyright 2004 Jonathan Sanders

Among the stars at New York's Tribeca Film Festival this month was a Russian teenager.

Dariya Fadeeva is a long way from home. Her journey to New York began in 2004, on a hot September morning in Beslan, Russia.

How does Dariya speak English so well?

"I lived in the United States as an exchange student," Dariya told CBS News correspondent Pete Van Sant.

Dariya's sister was one of the nearly 1,200 people taken hostage by Chechen terrorists at Beslan School No. 1 in southern Russia.

When documentary producers from CBS News came to Beslan and met Dariya, they knew they found a key to tell very difficult complicated story.

"There is an army machine right here and a lot of police," Dariya said.

The film is narrated by Julia Roberts.

"Heavily armed men and women, with guns, grenades and bombs entered the school through this door…" she narrates.

The documentary tells the story of those trapped inside the school's gymnasium-hundreds of elementary school-aged children and their parents. Three days of suffering that ended in disaster when more than three hundred died.

Although injured, Dariya's sister survived.

While in New York Dariya wanted to visit a school and talk to children about Beslan.

"How was it like picking up the phone and hearing your sister's voice for the first time after the tragedy?" one student asked Dariya.

"It was like a call from heaven," Dariya said.

But Dariya had a question for these students: What had they learned from her experience?

"I learned that you should always make sure that you tell the person that you love them or something because that may be the last time you seen them," one student responded.

It's a lesson Dariya has lived.

  • Christine Lagorio

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