Sunday, August 10, 2008

Natalia Antanova on Russia/Georgia: "Darkness Falls"


at Global Comment:

What horrifies is me is not just the violence, as if it isn’t bad enough, but the fact that being ethnically half-Russian and half-Ukrainian, I grew knowing that the Georgians are our friends. I grew up in a household in love with Georgian culture. To my Russian mother, Georgia was “the most beautiful place in the world,” and she wasn’t alone in this by far.

The people baying for blood on both sides, have they honestly forgotten our common ties? If the forgetting is this easy, perhaps we really ought to be worried about the future of Russia and Ukraine. The unthinkable is already happening before us, and history has entered a gloomy and bewildering chapter. This is the sort of thing that happens when empires fail; it’s bloody and vile. It reeks of gunpowder and rot and the dried-up glue that used to hold together our old, red memorial wreaths.

...The absurdities of nationalism know no bounds.

The joy with which such people greet pictures of dead Georgians is diabolical. Their desire to see Russian soldiers fall due to some misguided notions regarding “glory” is equally diabolical. They do not value Georgian lives, but neither do they value the lives of their own troops or the lives of South Ossetians they are supposed to care about.

The loudest of the loud among us do not have sons serving in the Russian army, or so I have noticed.

This isn’t to say that I am a fan of Georgia’s President Saakashvili, however. I think it’s laughable that some writers are busy painting a picture of the genteel Saakashvili and uniformly bloodthirsty, fanged Russians. Have we learned nothing from Georgia’s squashed opposition? Do we really think that Saakashvili has the best interests of his people in mind? Or the best interests of the South Ossetians who are, predictably, almost invisible in this conflict?

Political elites benefit from grand-standing, regular people just lose their limbs in the process.

The West is no better in this regard...

read the rest.



Brown Shoes said...

Her/somebody's point (maybe a commenter?) about media bias towards Russia was made kind of shockingly clear to me when one of the local papers featured a pretty bloody picture of some Georgians, with (to me) the clear implication that this was Russian brutality, nothing more or less.

Julie said...

God that picture is so upsetting!

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