Thursday, 16 October 2008
Okay, so we get this, right? Buffer zone gets abandoned by occupiers, people return to selective chaos - some houses targeted for bombing or burning, others next door untouched. Fruit ripening on the trees, few people daring to pick it with fears of active mines uppermost. I'm not going to speculate on whether it was Russians, or Ossetian or other mercenary groups primarily responsible. But the damage remains. There was lots of new building going on as well, as we drove towards Gori from the main highway - grids of hundreds of houses for refugees/IDPS who have nowhere to winter. The people returning to their ruined houses and as-yet untouched UXO (unexploded ordnance) are understandably upset at how long restoration of normality is taking and will take. But I have to say that I'm impressed, comparing the current situation to what I saw of refugees after the earlier civil wars (early 1990s) of Georgia from 1999 onwards. We must just continue with this momentum - foreign observers ensuring some accoutability will help with that, I think - until things are as normal as possible for as many people as possible once more. That's what it's about, the people.