Good Morning Heartache – Ossetia

After a brief appearance on Al Jazeera, I was walking out of the studio feeling relieved until I briefly reviewed the interview in my head. I suddenly realized that I had actually made a statement in the second question that contradicted my initial message about America’s foreign policy strategy in the “War on Terror.”

As you can imagine, I was in a panic. I kept going over the mistake in my head. The ceaseless repetition had me seriously thinking about jumping out of the window of the forth floor Reuters studio – I’m my own worst critic – when luckily I ran into the production director who stopped me in my tracks. “Did you hear the United Nations Security Council is convening?” he asked. “No,” I responded. Didn’t he know I had just given a completely embarrassing interview on Al Jazeera?

“The Ossetia thing just blew up and the Russian military is moving in. They should be at war with Georgia any second,” he informed me.

Ossetia? My G-d. My vain impulse to dwell on my own misstatements gave way to a greater concern – another war has begun.

How many people in this world are going to have to continue to suffer at the hands of those endlessly vying for useless power? Each one of these conflict-ridden States was born from people who fled one empirical form of repression/conflict/war after the other and have had barely a generation to recover.

While reacquainting myself with another nonsensical conflict, I quickly caught up with the trials and tribulations of Russia and Georgia. Both are, you guessed it, fighting over a piece of land they feel is theirs and, both are oblivious to the fact that the land has people in it. Yes, Ossetia, North and South, have people who are paying the price while Russia’s Putin, who is evidently still calling the shots despite there being another President, and Georgia’s Shaakashvili have a childish, but exceptionally dangerous, peeing match. Sometimes watching these world leaders is like being in a playground full of feuding two year olds incessantly fighting over toys. Problem in these guys have toys that kill.

Ossetia and Georgia’s other province Abkhazia, who also is demanding independence were, along with many other groups of people who were unable to fend for themselves, gobbled up and repressed by one empire after another. In today’s great power view some deserve independence and others don’t. These two obviously do not in the Georgian view and do in the Russian one. Who can keep up? Either way these States need a reprieve. In the words of one 94-year-old frail Ossetian grandmother, “I’ve been in this [war] my whole life, why can’t they just let us live.”

Listen up people, the cold war is over and it is time to stop using people like pawns in a chess game and start doing business in a different way. I bet neither of these countries can claim they are doing all they can for their people – basic law enforcement, poverty reduction, education, healthcare, and the like – in order to justify wasting time and money on war and destruction.

But why help people when it is much easier to wage war against them, right? War is easier than rolling up your sleeves and working with friends and enemies alike so life gets better for those your governing. Battle stirs up that nationalistic DNA leaders so brilliantly cultivate. This allows governments to trick their people into believing their government is actually protecting them from some “threat” even though they are not. Unfortunately, the “threat” is usually a bogus vulnerability some jaded advisor made up yesterday. And then, people bye it despite the fact that that same government is allowing them to starve.

After centuries of a divide and conquer mentality, it is high time that people are allowed to have some space so they may live and heal from centuries of traumatic hegemonic stress. Georgia who has a population that was brutalized by Soviet rule should know this first hand. Both powers need to leave Ossetia (and Abkhazia) alone to decide their own fate and be responsible for that as well. Seems they have decided on independence although Georgia, Russia and the rest of the world are ignoring this.

It is also time for us all to evolve. We need to stop treating each other like yesterday’s garbage and get working together to clean up our systems and our planet. We can do business another way. Has anyone heard of a win-win negotiation where both parties are respected and make gains? No, I am not saying that this is not going to be complex or easy, nor am I saying all people can be “good,” but I am saying we need to try something other than war.

Like many of you, I watched BBC and saw several older women who could have been my grandmother, wailing, bloody lying on the ground amidst devastated homes while fires incinerated their families in the background. This is not ok.

Governments do not own these people, more importantly governments should not dare to sacrifice them at their leisure. It is no wonder young children, enemies, friends and suicide bombers alike turn to violence. These types of “bombing ‘till you drop” campaigns clearly communicate to all that violence is the only way to get things done.

Isn’t it time to find other alternatives and possibilities? We talk everyday about morality, but live with ourselves while we watch innocent civilians reap the fires of war. Simultaneously and ironically, we applaud as people pick up their weapons. Until, that is, those weapons are used against our own.

Think about it.

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