Genocide. Four months later. War in the Eyes of Children

Fri, 26/03/2010 - 18:12

Soslan Bekoev, 14, “Albion” School

My first day after arrival in Vladikavkaz before the war
I went to Vladikavkaz together with my mum to see my granny. Mum had to return Я приехал the same day, she could leave her work.
Now, I have to stay in Vladikavkaz. I have got a new school and new teachers. My parents do their utmost to have me in a calm situation to continue studies. It was not long ago that I had a house in Tskhinval and a granny there. I cannot help but keep recalling the life destroyed by Georgian extremists. As it were movie shots, I keep in mind the pictures of that horrific August of 2008. My mother, Maya Kharebova, works for an informational agency in Tskhinval, and I could read her journalist reports, newspaper features, brief TV news reported by the informational agency, conversations of journalists; everything was concentrated on those event, which could be also restored through my diary notes.

1 August. Constant calls from Vladikavkaz in the evening. News reports are telling about the shelling of Tskhinval. Is it true? Mum is in her office, as usual. She is calming everybody down, though I see her frightened…
2 August, Saturday. Tskhinval, South Ossetia
People are all pondering over something. You can easily feel, they are waiting for something. I still do not want to believe that something awful cal happen. The most important is to prevent people from suffering. It appeared that it can happen.
3 August, Sunday, Tskhinval South Ossetia, four days before the war
The night was comparatively calm. Since morning, my mom has already prepared new report on the situation. God thanks it was clam. Evacuation of women and children has started. At the central square of Tskhinval opposite to the government buildings, the gathering of everybody willing to leave was organized. At night, "PAZ" busses started to arrive. Then, several "GAZelle" mini-vans were added and police "URAL" with barred windows. The latter attached even more tragic look to the whole process. Imagine a police car with barred windows and children's faces behind them…
It is planned to evacuate them today to the neighboring Dzau district and then to Vladikavkaz.
I cannot believe these events are real. Where did they take the children? The most important is not to panic. People are trying to calm down each other.

4 August, Monday. Tskhinval, South Ossetia
Mom continues preparing materials on the situation in the republic. I have a feeling that people do not fully understand what is happening and the danger. But it is probably only my feelings. Being here among worried and anxious people makes you feel the same, share their mood and yield to the circumstances. God thanks I understand it! But, still… The evacuation of children and elderly will end today. Mom continues reporting:" About 2,500 people were taken to North Ossetia. Some of them are staying at the relatives and friends, others were accommodated at health centers and dormitories, or were taken farther to other entities of the Southern Federal Country". xXZCThe weather is nice; It is neither cold nor hot. Birds are singing. Leafage is stirring, The well-groomed lawns in the center, the sun is winking through the veil of light clouds; there are many armed people all around. It is painful for everyone. No one can now imagine that in few days it would be even worse.
It is so heavy to read all this. I start recalling all what had happened. Everything that my people and my family had to suffer through. I go on reading.

5 August, Tuesday, Tskhinval, South Ossetia. Two days before the war.
The day happened to be calm. There was again the hope that everything is going to be all right. But reflection of anxiety remained on the faces of people. They keep going to their offices, as usual.
They say, there is a panic among the population that there will be war. Those who are stronger try to calm these talks down, try to convince not to listen to these rumors. Throughout these days, my granny in Vladikavkaz is begging my mom to come for at least one day. Of course, my mod did not even think about leaving the works, but we desperate for spending a day with our family. So, we decided to leave for one day.

6 August, Wednesday. Vladikavkaz. A day before the war
Mom keeps calling her colleagues. The situation has not changed for better, and mom is going to return to Tskhinval next day. Her only thought is that she should be there. Our relatives are there. And I will stay in Vladikavkaz for a while.

7 August, Tursday. Few hours before the war
We decided in the morning that mom is going back to Tskhinval tomorrow. People are waiting for her there. The whole day passed without any changes. At night around midnight we were watching TV. All TV channels were broadcasting the Olympic Games in Beijing. I thought I would be watching the opening ceremony. I was waiting for it since long time. A mobile phone call. Georgia started heavy shelling, it is impossible to go out. "Please, transmit this information as quickly as possible to news agencies", said mom's colleagues. She asks if it is war. Most probably yes. Yes! – followed the answer.
It is 11: 35 p.m. We asked mom if she needed help. She thinks only about the necessity to do everything possible. Then SMSs and calls had followed – Tskhinval is under bombardment. It is extremely difficult to tell about things happening after.

8 August, Vladikavkaz. Night. They say the war began
There is no phone connection. It is possible to reach someone only after 15-20 tries. We managed to reach only some people, and we are happy about that. We need at least some information. I cannot believe in things happening, and I believe that this is an ordinary shooting and it will be finished by the morning, as it happened before. And we will calm down. This feeling vanishes. Everyone understand that it is all serious. We cannot help but stare at the TV. We cannot sleep, and mom is trying to pass on the news received from Tskhinval. I try hard to sleep, but I can't. My mom has worked throughout the night. I slept for a while.

Without the right for life
We keep watching the TV. The phones are ringing. Mom continues passing the information. I am observing all this. I think about the time when this nightmare is finished. Georgian are trying to seize Tskhinval. TV reports say that they have advanced with their tanks into the city. My dad and my grand-mothers are there. I wish they could escape from there.
It has been 16 hours since the war has started. No one would imagine that such was is possible. This cruelty could not be justified by anything. It is a crime. This is what my parents say.

Without the right for death
In the afternoon on 8 August there was another fact. We could reach my granny in Tskhinval and tried to calm her down. She kept asking when this nightmare is going to end. She was also asking about what was reported on TV. There was already no electricity in Tskhinval.
It was obvious that she was exhausted and frightened, but she did not mention it. We are also afraid and worried about her and our relatives, but we cannot say that. It would make them more nervous.

Without the right for help
9 August. I still cannot understand why it all has happened. Why are innocent people killed, no one condemns the killers. We talked to granny in the morning. Then the connection failed. We could not reach her ever after. We understood that something terrible had happened. Mom was nervous but she tried not to show her fear in my presence. I hoped that everything would be all right. It was not all right. My granny was killed during air bombing by Georgian planes. Our house burnt down.

Without the right for truth
Sad days had followed. We learnt only bad news. I decided to stay in Vladikavkaz, I did not want to go anywhere and there was no place to go.
I met with my friends from Tskhinval and told them what I knew. They also shared their impressions. We were happy to be alive, but none of us could smile. I could not cope with the understanding that granny has died. And, I still cannot.
Each of us had successfully passed the exams. The only thing we should have thought about were the holidays. We had plans for the summer. I wanted to go to the seaside. It was my only wish for the summer. It could not come true. I was thinking about the place we could leave or stay at.
I know, this summer will be a part of the history. It was the worst summer ever. For many people this summer was the last one – they did not return to their schools, university, they did not see their relatives and friends…
Many brave defenders of their motherland gave their lives for honor and bright future of their children and their Motherland. Ossetia is proud of its heroes who could resist and defend the independence after a horrible war last August. Ossetian paid a high price for their victory. Georgian aggression took away the lives of thousands of peaceful inhabitants.
I will never forget that summer. I am sure I would not like to read the book describing that summer. I would mean for me that I should once again live through it. When I was writing all these notes, I lived it through again and again. I do not want to recall this war again. May the future life of our Ossetia be peaceful and may all children know about wars only from history books, and for those who suffered through this war, may this life be bright and peaceful and let my mom write about peaceful achievements of our people, about prosperity and power of our independent Motherland.

Мой мир