The conflict in South Ossetia in August may have been short, but the consequences will continue for a long time. A website has been set up by those affected by the fighting to allow fellow victims share stories and make sure no one ever forgets the tragedy and suffering of the people.
The website http://www.helpossetianow.org shows the war in the republic through the eyes of its people: of the civilians who suffered the Georgian bombardment late at night when most of them were sleeping.
On August 7 Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili stated on television that his country is for peaceful negotiations with South Ossetia and wouldn't fire a single shot, but according to the peacekeepers, Georgian troops had already surrounded the South Ossetian capital preparing for an attack.
When the fighting started, thousands of Ossetians were fleeing to Russia trying to save their lives. Many civilians were deliberately killed in their attempt to escape.
Some of those who survived the onslaught have shared their stories on the http://www.helpossetianow.org/ website.
“My wife was killed when our car was caught up in the shelling. I was wounded in the leg and my son received a serious head injury,” says Tskhinval resident Pyotr Petoev.
Some other reminders of the war on the site are equally horrifying.
“Here is the grave of my brother. Every morning when I come out of my house I see the grave. It's very hard for me,” Zalina Kabisova from Tskhinval region says.
One family ravaged by earlier conflicts was wiped out during the summer war and their story has been told by their neighbours.
“The whole family, the whole house, suffered at the hands of Georgian fascists. A 26-year old girl and her mother died this way. The father and the son were killed during the previous conflicts in the 90s and in 2001,” says eye-witness Alla Gasieva.
Lira Tskhovrebova, who runs the website, collected the stories.
“One should do anything they can to prevent what happened in August from happening again. And to achieve that goal, the world should know the truth about the war in South Ossetia!” emphasized Lira Tskhovrebova.
Lira says an Ossetian bias doesn’t affect her coverage as her own mother is Georgian. New stories are constantly being added to her site – the new voices eager to be heard by the rest of the world.
Tim Cavanaugh, columnist for Reason magazine, discusses the efforts of activist Lira Tskhovrebova to tell the South Ossetian side of the Georgian invasion, the numerous accounts of Georgian soldiers deliberately killing civilians, the U.S. media failure to accurately portray the conflict and the mixed signals Saakashvili received from U.S. neocon agitators and the State Department.
MP3 here. (34:08)
Tim Cavanaugh represents Liar Tskhoverbova, chairwoman of the Association of South Ossetian Women for Democracy and Human Rights. He is a columnist for Reason magazine and former web editor for the Los Angeles Times.
Georgia's shameful attack on South Ossetia - By Lira Tskhovrebova - Los Angeles Times