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"I Survived the Georgian War -- Here's What I Saw"

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo [It s good to see that this distinguishes between the Georgian people and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2008
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      [It's good to see that this distinguishes between the Georgian people
      and the Georgian government. It seems that the government of both
      Georgia and Russia deserve blame in this affair, as the Georgian
      government initiated it with its invasion of South Ossetia, and the
      Russian government responded with a counterattack against Georgia that
      went much further than defending South Ossetia. It is also worth noting
      how American politicians have responded, with (e.g.) McCain saying that
      we are all Georgians now, and even more remarkably that "In the 21st
      century nations don't invade other nations." As if he was unaware that
      the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention Ethiopia's US-backed
      invasion of Somalia, which has resulted in yet another
      Vietnam/Iraq-style quagmire, or Israel's attack on Lebanon.--DC]

      I Survived the Georgian War. Here's What I Saw.
      I blame Georgia's leaders.
      By Lira Tskhovrebova

      08/10/08 "CSM" -- -Tskhinvali, South Ossetia - In a speech before the
      United Nations last month, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
      implored world leaders to set up an international investigation to find
      out the truth about the war in South Ossetia.

      I couldn't agree more. But I think the results of an honest
      investigation would reveal a very different "truth" than what President
      Saakashvili claims.

      I know this because I was in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia,
      on Aug. 7 when Georgian troops marched into the city and killed my
      friends and neighbors. I huddled with my family in terror for three
      nights while Saakashvili's tanks and rockets destroyed hundreds of our
      homes, desecrated cemeteries, gutted schools and hospitals.

      I also have good reason not to trust what Saakashvili says. For three
      days before the attack I had been getting calls from many Georgian
      friends warning me to get out. They said Saakashvili was planning an
      attack. Most of the Georgians living in South Ossetia left because they
      knew what was coming.

      On the night of Aug. 7, Saakashvili went on television and assured the
      frightened civilian population of South Ossetia that he would not attack
      us. This was long after the time Saakashvili now claims Russians had
      begun "invading" Georgia.

      Ossetians went to bed relieved and thankful for a peaceful night.

      Less than two hours later, according to credible international accounts,
      his artillery, bombers, and three brigades of ground troops unleashed
      what I can only describe as a fierce hell on our city. In the moment, we
      knew only our fear as we hid. Afterward I spoke with hundreds of
      Ossetians to find out what was done to us.

      My friend's elderly father tried to douse the flames set by Georgian
      fire on the home he had built with his hands. His leg was severed by
      shrapnel from Georgian weapons. He bled to death while his disabled wife
      crawled from their burning home.

      Ossetians saw Georgian tanks firing into basements where women and
      children hid for safety They saw fleeing families shot down by Georgian
      snipers. We learned that the Georgian military had used Grad rocket
      systems and cluster bombs against Tskhinvali.

      Yes, I would very much like to see an international commission
      investigate the truth of what happened.

      When I came out from hiding, thanking God that the Russians had saved
      our lives, I was dismayed by the reaction of the international media to
      what had happened. There was nothing about Ossetian deaths and the
      unprovoked horrors inflicted by Saakashvili's military. It made my heart

      The truth has been crushed by Georgia's powerful public relations
      machine as mercilessly as Georgian tanks rolled over the defenseless
      civilians of Tskhinvali.

      I know that Americans are a generous and fair people. But Americans
      haven't been told the truth about what happened to us. Americans don't
      understand that Ossetians are an independent, Christian Orthodox people
      with a deep history in our land. The world talks only about Georgian
      freedom. What of freedom for my people? Does our suffering, do our
      voices, mean nothing?

      I don't blame the Georgian people for what happened to us. The vast
      number of Ossetians and Georgians want to live in peace. I blame
      Georgia's leaders.

      Saakashvili has persuaded the world that he is a "beacon" of democracy
      and openness. But he won't even tell his own people the truth. My
      Georgian friends weren't allowed to see any Russian news sites during
      the conflict because all of those sites were blocked by Saakashvili's

      I know we are a small people, and I make no claim to understanding the
      experts in geopolitics with their theories and pronouncements about the
      great powers. But I have fought for women's rights in Ossetia for 12
      years and I believe in the truth.

      In a recent article, Saakashvili cynically dismissed Ossetian suffering
      and deaths because, he said, Russia had "lied" about how many of my
      people were killed by the Georgian military.

      It breaks my heart to even engage in this discussion. No one – including
      Saakashvili – knows how many Ossetians were killed by his Army. I have
      friends who buried loved ones in their backyards because there were no
      alternatives. Many people are still missing.

      Does Saakashvili believe his vicious attack on a civilian city was
      justified if he only killed a few hundred rather than a few thousand? Do
      Americans realize that a military trained and equipped by the US
      government attacked a civilian population as they slept in their beds?
      Can they justify sending another billion dollars to Georgia and nothing
      for those Georgia attacked?

      I have made an urgent appeal to the world for humanitarian relief for
      our people at the website http://helpossetianow.org . I beg the United
      States and the world to find out the truth. Please hear our voices.

      • Lira Tskhovrebova is the founder of the Association of South Ossetian
      Women for Democracy and Human Rights and has worked for more than a
      decade to improve relations between people of Georgian and Ossetian
      descent in the Caucasus.

      Dan Clore

      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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