15
Aug
08

They Are Liars

They are liars. All of them.

I hope everyone has heard about the war in South Ossetia and Georgia. You probably are convinced by what the media reports, in particular that “Russia is the aggressor against innocent Georgia”. Our government is backing Georgia and also telling us about Russia’s aggression. But that is a lie. I have always made fun of the conspiracy theory people, but I find myself in the same position–criticizing the government and sounding crazy. But I cannot keep quite when such an injustice is going on; so please do not take my words as that of a crazy man who hates America–on the contrary, this country has given me many blessings for which I am endlessly thankful; I care about it and am deeply saddened by how effectively the media has fed us propaganda over the last week. Please read the following short account of my story:

I grew up in Abkhazia, a country only hours away from South Ossetia (see map below). I lived through the 1992 war between Georgia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia. I have been bombed and shot at by the Georgians. Right now we are in contact with our family in Abkhazia and we receive information first hand with no media bias. I know what I am talking about.

Georgia attacked South Ossetia, destroying its capital Tskhinvali, killing innocent people; Russia came in to protect the Ossetians. If Russia did not step in, Georgians would further the attack and take over Abkhazia; my family would be slaughtered by now. Yet, I am absolutely shocked, absolutely astonished how the media lies to us, telling us “Russia was the aggressor”. I have never, NEVER thought this can be possible in the US–I always believed that the US government has good intentions. Not anymore. All I heard on the news is that “Georgia is an ally that Russia attacked” and similar such lies. George Bush is supporting Saakashvili, the man who lies left and right, and attacks innocent civilians. I cannot believe my ears.

I am not protecting the Russian government, because I do understand that it is likely corrupt also. Of course they are not innocent. However, that does not mean that WE Americans can support injustice just because it is going against the rival power Russia. The bottom line is that Georgia attacked first; they attacked civilians. Russians fought on behalf of the Ossetians. Yet, the media has zero coverage on the devastation of the South Ossetian people. This is just ridiculous.

Why am I writing this? I do not know what else I can do. I must speak the truth. I am paying taxes to the US government, which supports Georgia, which in turn bombs my homeland; in other words, I am funding the destruction of my own people. How can I keep quite?

I know you don’t go to a photographer’s blog to read about politics, so I will stop now. Please do watch the videos below. Please be informed. Please feel free to ask me any questions (photodu@gmail.com). Please speak the truth.

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41 Responses to “They Are Liars”


  1. 1 ZZ
    August 15, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Looks like another brainwashed Putinite. You get no credit for neatly following the DNC talking points. Russia is an aggressor nation that has no place assaulting the peaceful people of Georgia

  2. 2 danile usenko
    August 15, 2008 at 9:12 am

    zz,

    You don’t know what you are talking about. I was there for the 1992 war between Georgia and Abkhazia. I know this info first hand. I also have relatives there right now that we’ve been calling and receiving their info with no media bias.

    may I ask you how get your info?

  3. 3 ZZ
    August 15, 2008 at 11:46 am

    1992? That was sixteen years ago. How do you know things haven’t changed? If Georgia attacked South Ossetia first, why was there NO mention of it in any media outlet? Don’t you think your family in Abkhazia might be just a little biased?

    This is obviously an attempt by Putin to seize control of the last remaining oil pipleline in the region, and to put a puppet government in place.

  4. 4 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

    zz,

    That is exactly why I am outraged–most of the Western media is lying. By the way, it seems to me that you have not even watched the video I posted. Please do. Also, please read this article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/11/AR2008081101372.html and this one http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/14/gorbachev/index.html

    As far as 1992–my point is that I know the situation better than you do. I know the fact that Saakashvili came into power on the promises of “taking back Abkhazia and South Ossetia”, and that is what he was trying to do. This is the continuation of the conflict started in 1992. Oh, and as far as my relatives being “biased”–well yeah, they are biased–they do not want to be killed by the Georgians.

  5. 5 Natasha
    August 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Daniel,
    I understand how you feel-it’s dear to you homeland that you were raised in. However, people, who live and been raised in US, would not understand you, because they’ve been raised to believe everything media said. Please, do not get angree with everyone, who reads US newspapers and magazines and watch TV, they are not going to support you, just accept the fact. You did your dues, and posted your opinion on your blog. I belive you, since I know how it was in former USSR-nothing changed…Hopefully the truth is going to come out if more people like you are going to speak up.

  6. 6 Daniel
    August 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Unfortunately “freedom of the press” doesn’t translate to “truthful media”. In fact if you consider one major concept, that the media “sells advertising” and not news, then you can start to understand that EVERY news organization is more interested in getting the most viewers than it is in disclosing ALL the facts in an unbiased manner.

    It is also true that many U.S. citizens don’t realize this and believe the media is always telling them the “truth” as well as “what is important to know about”, when it doesn’t.

  7. 7 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    zz,

    I do not know why they are lying. I have always believed that the US government has good intentions in foreign affairs. I do not understand why I am considered a tool of the Russian propaganda. I live in the states; I want the best for the US. It is in my best interests. Anyways, you can call me and we can talk. You can find the phone number on the website, http://www.danielusenko.com

  8. 8 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    ZZ:

    I can equally assume that media *companies*, that are *privately* owned, are going to be biased from the top down. Who knows what interests they have? But it is incorrect to assume they’re always reporting the truth….”one mans victory is another mans massacre”.

    Please, tell me, given all of the personal and business relationships that top-media execs have…why would they be telling you the truth?

    Don’t just question your government, question your media…if you don’t you’re another lemming.

  9. 9 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Daniel/ZZ:

    I don’t know who is telling the truth.

    – It seems this must have been planned (by Russia) a long time. That’s a lot of equipment.
    – Is it possible that rogue elements in S. Ossetia agitated Georgian forces which prompted force by the Georgians in the region? I don’t know, maybe.
    – Is it possible that Russia, under former KGB leaders, are returning to an imperial mentality and are a threat to more than Georgia? I don’t know, maybe. This is what drives the U.S. media thinking though.

    Ask yourself this, what sells better?

    1. The “evil” Russian empire is back on the move, crushing a fledgling democracy.

    or

    2. Russian forces protect border region civilians from persecution in inside Georgian territory.

    This could easily just be “who shot at who first?”….nobody really knows. EVEN THOSE LIVING CLOSE BY.

    However, when it comes to the media, they will headline what gets the biggest audience as it enables them to sell advertising. WAKE UP!

  10. 10 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Also, regarding the government – they probably don’t have much intel in the area themselves, so sadly they listen to the media which shapes public opinion.

    Democracy isn’t prefect. In fact, as stated by a famous person, (paraphrase) “democracy is a terrible system, it just happens to be better than any of the alternatives”.

    I think also, people have a hard time perceiving the Georgians as the “aggressors” against Russia, what chance do they have?

    That’s not to say they weren’t the aggressors against certain people in a certain area…who knows?

    …I don’t think any *single person* knows how the whole thing unfolded. Therefore you’ll get every crazy opinion T.V.

  11. 11 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Pete,

    Yes it’s possible Russia is evil and they planned the attack for a long time. But I really don’t get this argument, which is posed by many–“Since Russia planed this, whey would have attacked anyways, so it was ok for Georgia to start the war with Ossetia”. The problem with that argument is that it is saying “I can do harm to you if I suspect you might do it to me”. Well, the fact is that we don’t know whether Russia would attack them first; what ACTUALLY happened was that Georgia attacked. So let’s not take the “what if Russia…”, let’s just stick to what really happened in actuality. What actually happened was Georgia attacked, and the media is telling us otherwise–that’s the bottom line.

    Thank you for your involvement and attempt to understand the situation.

  12. 12 Just Wondering
    August 15, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    What is Ossetia? Is it a separate country with its own government, a sovereign nation? Is it a sattelite of Russia under Rusian authority? Is it a territory or state of Georgia, like Colorado or Louisiana would be to the U.S.? Fill me in here, anyone with geography/history studies.

  13. 13 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Ossetians are an ethnic group. Prior to the Soviet Union they has their own land. When the Soviet Union was formed, it absorbed Ossetia. When Stalin came into power, he gave Ossetia (along with Abkhazia) to Georgia. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Georgia separated and Ossetia and Abkhazia wanted to be free of Georgia. After a war in 92-93, they agreed on their own land, and you had autonomous Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Georgia. Saakashvili decided to take those back, and that’s why he attacked Ossetia.

    Basically Ossetia is country that separated from Georgia. They like Russia. Georgia doesn’t like Ossetians because they feel it is their land and they want it back

  14. 14 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    OK…so I need to know, why did the Georgia authorities attack these people? Was this area initially claimed by Georgia against the will of its people? Was there mostly violent or peaceful dissent?

    It is difficult for people here to understand why this area of people would want to be under Russian rule when they could live in a democratic state?

    Please clarify these issues…

  15. 15 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Pete,

    Even though this is a serious matter, I want to laugh when I hear “democratic state” as a description of Georgia. Georgia is corrupt (so Is Russia by the way). All this “we are a democracy” saying by Georgia is just a rhetorical tool to identify with Americans. Russia is also a democracy (in theory).

    Well, to answer your question–why Ossetians would rather be part of Russia. Because Russia’s economy is strong and Russia will not harm Ossetians. On the other hand, Ossetia fought a war with Georgia now and 1992 and there is real hatred between the nations. If Georgia was to come into Ossetia and Abkhazia, they would have revenge on the civilians. And yes, you may think I am overexagerating, but I am not; we have seen it first hand in 1992 (it was not only Georgians that were committing crimes against humanity; it was everyone that went crazy). Ask yourself, would you want to be a part of a country who just destroyed your capital (Tskhinvali) along with the civilians there? Or would you rather be part of a country who protected you from assaults.

    Russia doesn’t have righteous motives, I don’t think, but at least they seem to be doing the right thing at the moment.

    thank you for your discussion

  16. 16 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    OK…I just read your post responding to another comment…

    So you’re saying this is an “ethnic area” that was once not part of Georgria, then was, against the will of its people. So these people didn’t want to be under the authority of Georgia, OK.

    So what means did they use to protest? What was so bad about being part of Georgia (a democracy)? Were they being persecuted? …but how can we know this wasn’t all (originally) because of a few violent trouble makers to begin with? You’re saying that the Georgians, without reason, persecuted the Ossetians because of their ethnicity?

    Is it possible that Ossetians could have integrated into the Georgian state (represented with equal rights under the law) but for a few violent Ossetians that would never allow it? Thus, with the resulting conflict the public opinion of the Ossetians turned against Georgia? …fueling an inevitable conflict?

    For anybody living in a democracy it seems strange why the Ossetians wouldn’t want to live under Georgian rule vs. Russian.

    Thank you for presenting your point of view. I still hold to the fact that these things boil up over time and each side owns some responsibility. Of course true innocents get hurt in the process, Ossetian and Georgian alike.

  17. 17 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Ok…you’re answering as I type…let me catch up. I’ll ask more questions if needed…

  18. 18 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    OK…I certainly have no idea about how much of a “democracy” Georgia is. So you’re saying that the Georgian authorities weren’t occupying Ossetia because of the past conflicts and now tried to take it over with force.

    I heard that Georgia has cleaned up much of its corruption. Maybe. Does it have a constitution? Equal rights for all? Freedom of the press? Proportional representation of all citizens? Regular voting? …no democracy is perfect.

  19. 19 Pete
    August 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    My feelings are moving toward one of “let the neighbors squabble” and stay out of it (USA). Not because I doubt you. It seems to me a bit like when a marriage goes bad, outsiders have no idea how to tell who did what first. It seems that both Ossetian and Georgian innocents have been killed – therefore, if what you say is true, this conflict should be resolved quickly. The Ossetian people want Russian rule and the Russians have taken over without the Georgian government being able to do anything about it. Therefore things should stop here.

    If Russia continues past Ossetia there will be big trouble though. If not, and if you’re right, I don’t believe they will or should. Then Georgia will continue to exist as a state, although slightly smaller. It is too late for the international community to get involved, if Georgia was trying to get international support to FIGHT Russia in this area – they failed, not gonna happen.

    So isn’t the status quo going to be the result? Do you see this going further?

  20. 20 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Pete,

    Let me explain the situation in another way: Let’s say that the US decided to absorb Mexico because they feel like they have good land and resources, and the Mexican like the idea because of the economical help they get. So the US decided to also ask the Central American countries to join in, and they also liked the idea. So then, they lived as one big country for almost 100 years, but eventually there was a revolution and all of the Central American countries have again separated from the US. Mexico also wanted to be independent, but America has waged war against it because they didn’t want to let them go. So it happens the US lost, and Mexico became independent. Imagine that later, George Bush runs for election and declares “Vote for me, I will get Mexico back for us”. So he gets elected and attacked the Mexican forces to get the land back.

    This is pretty much what happened in Georgia, with some disanalogies. The new Americans feel like Mexico has no right being independent because it was part of the US for as long as they can remember. Mexicans feel like historically it was their land, and they have the right to separate.

    And yes, things should resolve so that everyone stays in their countries and there is no more war. I hope that’s the case. But who knows, it may also happen that Russia DOES want to take over Georgia, who knows. My point in writing all of this is that in this particular moment, Russia seems to be doing the right thing and the American media has been lying.

  21. 21 PEACE
    August 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    DANIEL, MAY GOD WATCH OVER YOUR RELATIVES AND LOVED ONES.

    YOUR SACRAMENTO SUPPORT GROUP.

  22. 22 danielu
    August 15, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you. We should all pray for the safety of all innocent people, Akhazians, Ossetians, Russians and Georgians alike.

  23. 23 C0m4
    August 16, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Russia lies.
    Russians lie as well.

    They said there’s over 2000 killed civilians and 70% of the sity in ruins.
    Its just a lie.

    2000 killed means there should be about 6000 wounded. The truth is that there’s only about 200-300 wounded. After a week of fighting. There have not been a single picture showing piles of bodies or rows of graves or ANYTHING to prove that accusation.
    The same about “city in ruins”. there was not a single panoramic photo shown to a public. i’ve analysed all images available on internet – the number of destroyed houses is between 15 and 20, which is less than 1% of the city.

    Russia lies, russian lies. All they want is to control the whole world.
    Beware, west.

  24. 24 C0m4
    August 16, 2008 at 6:46 am

    “Prior to the Soviet Union they has their own land.” – yes – that is North Ossetia. South Ossetia was Georgian territory for last couple thousand years. Ossetians came there about 200 years ago in search for better pastures.

    Exactly the same is Abkhazia – georgians were there before abkhazians (who, by the way, doesn’t even have words for “sea” or “boat” in their langiage – a nation living on a coast. lol.) came down from mountains, 200-300 years ago.

    Yes, they live there for quite a long while now. does they have a right to get independace from Georgian? not more than Chechens, of whom 200 000 (two hundred thousand) you Russians brutally slained in Chechnya.

  25. 25 danile usenko
    August 16, 2008 at 9:11 am

    1. There are no such pictures of Gori’s destruction either
    2. Of course you won’t find Tskhinvali’s pictures if you want the American news
    3. It is untrue that Georgians controlled the region for several thousand years. For instance, look at this following map, “Kartli” is for Georgia http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/Georgia-GE/Maps/Map%20of%20Georgia%201450-1515.jpg
    4. And lastly, stop accusing me of what the Russian government did to the Chechens. I think I already said numerous times that I do not think Russia has good intentions in general. Oh, and by the way, the Chechens also sent 2000 troops to fight Saakashvili a week ago.

  26. 26 C0m4
    August 16, 2008 at 10:01 am

    1 – nobody said (yet) that the city of Gory was destroyed by 70% and had 2000 civilians killed in overnight bombardement.

    2 – did i said anything about coutry of origin ? i’ve checked russian web sites as ntv.ru, kp.ru, rian.ru and many others. also i’m a member on nnm.ru – most popular news/warez blog on russian internet where there’s practically no censorship and most gruesome images, which would not do on news agencies are shown there.
    there’s was not a ONE SINGLE EVIDENCE of “70% of city are in ruins” or “2000 civilians killed”

    i’d be more than happy if you’d provide at least any photographic evidence of ruined city of piles of dead bodies.

    3 – as of “Kartli” – http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/Georgia-GE/Maps/Map%20of%20Gerorgia%2012th%20cent%20copy.jpg – Georgian Kingdom at it’s peak.
    http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/Georgia-GE/Maps/Map%20of%20TranscaucasusCampaign1921.jpg – Georgia during war against Communists.

    Did you notice that there’s not a single mention of Ossetia on any on these maps, and Abkhazia is only mentioned as a reference to contemporal geographic location.
    Georgians might have not ruled on these areas at all times, but they lived there ever since their ancestors came there a long long while ago. Abkhazians and Ossetians are newcomers, who been allowed to live there by Georgians – and live peacefully together until Russia decided that it has to expand it’s territories and gain control on the other side of Caucasus Mountain Range. Not Georgians, neither Ossetians or Abkhazians are to blame. They are just toys in Russia’s Byzantine power game.

  27. 27 C0m4
    August 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    4 – i’m not accusing you personally, but tell me why are you repeating Russian propaganda lies if you don’t think that Russia’s government has good intentions ?

  28. 28 danielu
    August 17, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Igor, your comment was deleted because you were calling people names. Please be respectful when leaving comments on my site. You can repost if you’d like.

  29. 29 danielu
    August 17, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Com4,

    I can ask you the same question–why are you just repeating the Georgian/American propaganda. The truth is that we are both receiving information through some media source, and neither of us have seen what happened with our own eyes. You believe that one side is telling the truth; I believe both are lying to an extent, but the the biggest lie is that Saakashvili did not start this war.

    Com4, you are telling all of us that we are talking Russian propaganda, and that the “2000 dead in Tskhinvali” is probably more like 200-300 wounded. Yet you are talking as if you know the actual numbers and have seen them with your own eyes.

    The way you seem to be saying things is as if Georgia can do no wrong and never would. I have seen the conflict of 1992 with my own eyes and I can testify that Georgians are not immune to the problem of evil. Yet, you seem to think that, and you’re telling us the WE are biased?

    I do not support a country, I want to support truth. I believe in this particular instance, there is more truth on the S.Ossetian/Russian side than there is on the Georgian/American side.

  30. 30 Igor
    August 17, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    u right 😦 i just got very mad that guy dont even care about peole that dying there. all he want is to prove that russians r the bad ones ask him if he is on Georgian side than why he want go there and fight for “democracy and freedom” of georgia or he can only talk also he can take some picters there and show it to us.

    [last sentence deleted by the administrator, daniel usenko]

  31. 31 sergey
    August 19, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Dan , if you do not like this country and tired to pay taxes, – get out from this country , and move to Mother Russia!,
    Your relatives were brainwashed by Russian media, and you too! Please meet with the people who visited recently Moldova and ask them what are they thinking about conflict in Transnistria conflict and the “president” of Pridnestroviye, – he is a criminal who controls everything , hospitals , supermarkets , gas stations, cemetery`s, factory`s and of course their media, and Russian government support them,- same as in Abkhazia or South Osetia!

    This country gave YOU a refuge here, please keep that in mind and thank God for that , you have a food on your table, place to live,and opportunity to make money here.
    Do not blame USA for all of the world`s problems!

    P.S. If you believe in First Amendment leave this comments here.

  32. 32 danielusenko
    August 19, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Sergey,

    First, it is true that the US has given me much good and blessings, for which I am very thankful. Therefore, because I care about this country, it hurts me to see the leaders of it lie to its people, and so I speak out. If I hated this country, I would not have hurt so much for what is going on inside of it.

    Secondly, I do not stand for a country, I stand for truth. It doesn’t matter who is doing wrong–America, Russia, or Zimbabwe, it is still wrong. Russia may be wrong to hurt your people in Moldova, and it has also done much wrong in Chechnya, but that doesn’t mean that (a) They are wrong right now (b) That America is right. And as I said in previous posts, Russia’s intentions may not be righteous, but they are defending Ossetians and Abkhazians nevertheless. In other words, my point is–just because you hate Russia, does not mean they are always wrong, and just because you love America, does not mean that the US is always right.

    Thirdly, we are not “brainwashed by Russia”, we have seen war with our own eyes, and what the Georgian army has done to our land. We have relatives there right now as well, whom, as I said in the article Saakashvili would not care to spare. Please don’t argue to me about something of which I know about.

    And fourthly, when you post on this blog, you are speaking at a private venue. So to be granted the First Amendment, be respectful to the owner.

  33. 33 Natasha
    August 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, Daniel
    Do you see what’s going on? My advice: when it comes to your salary, religion or politics – you would always find the opposition and conflict. It’s never been quiet between two largest countries like USA and Russia, but it’s getting very hot…between those two.

  34. 34 daniel usenko
    August 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    I know that obviously not everyone agrees with me. I believe it’s better to be in opposition to someone than to keep quite about injustice

  35. 35 b
    September 2, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    hey zz,
    You don’t think the government has not bought out the papers, why wouldnt they, they could controle everything from elections to the market. They would be a kid in a candy store.

  36. 36 Olga
    September 6, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Salam, Daniel!

    I grew up in Tskhinval, the rest of my story is the same as yours 🙂

    I’m glad that you are posting about this; I have been equally as frustrated by the coverage of the news. I have family in Tskhinval who lived through these recent events. I will believe them before I believe any other media coverage. Believe me, even if the city is not exactly 70% destroyed, its pretty close. The recent death toll was up to 1490. There were a lot of people killed in their homes, many of whom still lay unburied under the rubbles. To anyone who refuses to believe the devastation and wants to see pictures, I suggest they go there themselves. These people don’t have the time or resources to take pictures of their city; they are grieving the death and destruction of their homeland, as am I.

    To those that say we hate this country and should not speak against it: just because we are immigrants, and care for our history and our people, does not mean that we do not love this land as well. I am so grateful to be here and for all the opportunities given to me here. As an American, and also, as an Ossetian, I have a right to question what my government and what the media is depicting. Any self-respecting individual should. Always.

    On a lighter note, Daniel, I love your photography. I am happy to see that someone from a brotherly country (yes! country! Happy Independence!), and a brother to me, has such wonderful talent, and is so successful. May you and your family be blessed!

    Valieva Olga

  37. 37 danielu
    September 6, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Hey Olga,

    Thank you for your comment. During the war in South Ossetia, I have spent hours upon hours trying to speak out againsts the propoganda we were fed in America. The reason I was so upset about the lies is BECAUSE I love the US and the injustice really disappointed me. Since you have relatives directly in the region, you are a very very strong source of truth. Therefore, do your best to influece the sphere of people you are around. If all those that know the truth spoke out, we wouldn’t be brainwashed by the media.

    And thank you for the kind words about my photography. I am glad you are enjoying it. It is a great blessing and joy to hear people say nice things about my work.

    And yes, we are independent! (Hopefully the rest of the world realizes that too).

    Have a wonderful night.

    daniel

  38. 38 ale
    September 26, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Dear Daniel,

    You are a very talented photographer and I truly enjoy your photos. As for the issue at hand, they are complex and tragic. Thankfully you do have an outlet for discussion (your comments are not subject to cyber attacks by this government). However, I have just returned from Georgia and would like to add a few comments from my first hand experience. Before I do, I must say that Russia Today (the source of the clip you posted) is no where near a reliable news source. They forbid their correspondent in Georgia from reporting that Russia bombed Gori and he then quit in protest. It is a very biased news source funded by the Kremlin.

    I must also say that while I am not a supporter of the current US administration, and I find it has NUMEROUS faults, I do not believe it has been lying about what happened in Georgia. The Russian leadership and military on the other hand has done so blatantly.

    As for coverage by Western media of Tskhinvali, well they were forbidden access by Russian military. When they were finally allowed in several days later they were ambushed by Ossetian militia and had four cars stolen at gun point while Russian military stood by. As for the death toll in Tskhinvali, while VERY VERY tragic and awful, it is not the 2000 originally claimed by Moscow, but under 100, actually only 44 have been confirmed according to Human Rights Watch. Russia has not presented any evidence of Georgian “genocide”. There is however quite a bit of evidence being presented to show the cleansing of Georgians from Tskhinvali region as well as the Russian “security zone” and the burning and bulldozing of their villages – this is documented and there are satellite photos (unosat.org)

    I also take issue with your claim that Georgia “absorbed S. Ossetia” this is not true as S. Ossetia never existed before the Soviet Union. Yes the wars are all terrible and Gamsakhurdia pursued horrible policies and his actions continue to have terrible ramifications, but Saakashvili is not a dictator and there is no evidence of genocide by Georgia against Ossetians.
    As for the destruction of Tskhinvali, well it was not in good shape before this recent war and both Georgia and Russia are responsible for its destruction. I believe Ossetians and Georgians can live together in one Georgia and the key is to finding a way to connect by moving past the rhetoric and propaganda of people like Medvedev, Putin, Kokoity, Bagapsh and Shamba.

    While I do believe that Saakashvili does have his flaws, he is not the dictator Russia makes him out to be. Samochablo (S. Ossetia) is part of Georgia and it is controlled by rebels and war lords who use the territory to traffic drugs and weapons, these rebel leaders have done nothing for the people who live under their control. On the contrary the Georgian government has tried to crack down on illegal actions and also send in shipments of aid to people living in the region. This is a fact. It may have been a stunt, but it is true. In the case of the August fighting it is quite clear that Russia was the aggressor. Putin made it quite clear when the west recognized Kosovo that Georgia would pay the price. Over the past several years Putin has worked toward regime change in Georgia, he put in place economic embargoes, bombed Georgia, and then began preparing a trap. Russia dredged Ochamchire harbor, rebuild the rail through Abkhazia and rebuild roads inside Russia to a closed Georgian border and also amassed troops on the border. Ethnic Georgian villages were attacked by Ossetian militia before the Georgian military took action. If Washington State were attacked would you not expect your government to protect you?

    According to international observers and the US Embassy, it was South Ossetian forces who first fired large caliber artillery shells at Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages in Ossetian controlled territory on Aug. 1. Soon after Russia began moving tanks and BMPs into Roki Tunnel. There is also evident that when Georgian forces began to move toward Tskhinvali on August 7th, Russian forces had already passed through the Roki tunnel, (see September 16th article in the New York Times).

    My heart goes out to everyone who paid the price for this ill-fated war regardless of their ethnicity, but having been there, I must say that for once the western media was not so far off the mark. Russia cannot behave this way in the 21st century. They need to pull out of Georgia and let a truly international observer force do its work throughout Georgia – Tskhinvali and Abkhazia included. Russia has NOT been an observer but a party to the conflict for over 15 years and that is now clear to the world. I too have family from Abkhazia who lost everything in the 1992-94 war and I have been to Abkhazia and can honestly say that NO ONE won that war. I am sure you know that. I believe that the only way to resolve this is to find a way to bring together the people, not the leaders, to work toward a better future for all those who have suffered losses in these conflicts. If you are interested please let me know.

    I wish that everyone may live in peace in their own homes.

    ALE

  39. 39 danielu
    September 28, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Ale,

    Thank you for the compliments on my work, as well as the well thought-through challenge to my view. I wish I had the time to respond to the specifics of your comment, but unfortunately I do not have the time at the moment, nor do I think it will be useful at this point. Although we disagree on the details of the matter, I think what’s most important is that we agree on the fact that innocent people are suffering because of political ambitions of the elite. And also, I sincerely think that to a degree we are both buying into the lies of one side or the other. Let us then, pray and hope for the peace and justice and clarity on the matter.

    daniel

  40. 40 ale
    October 1, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Agreed. And I will look forward to following your work.

    Best wishes, ALE


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