Monday, February 09, 2009

A Young Hero

A young boy whose courage, selflessness and quick thinking deserves to be remembered.

A seven-year-old boy who died defending his older sister from a potential rapist has been honoured posthumously. Zhenya Tabakov's mother received the order of courage medal on behalf of her son.

Around midday, a man rang the bell of the flat where Zhenya and his family lived.

“I asked who it was. The man said he was the postman, and he needed to give us a telegram and get a signature. So I opened the door,” recalls Zhenya’s sister Yana.

The little girl says the man held a knife to her throat, and demanded that her brother bring him all the money he could find. Zhenya did as he was told. But when the man started undressing his sister it was more than the boy could bear.

Zhenya seized a knife from the kitchen and plunged it into the man's back. This didn't kill the attacker, but it was enough to set Zhenya's sister free. She ran for help. But it was too late for her brother - he was stabbed eight times.

My eldest daughter will be seven in a few months and I can't imagine her being put in a situation like that one. Zhenya was an exceptionally brave boy.

Nothing can bring Zhenya back to life again, but the little boy's heroism has become the pride of the town - and of his school in particular.

The boy’s photo now occupies the desk where he used to sit. Later on a special plaque will be fixed onto it. And only the best pupils will have the chance and honour of taking that place.

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