Duck! and Gather

Archive for August 11th, 2008

At the same time last week that the world was focused on the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, a story of war began emerging out of the country Georgia. Georgia is one among many former Soviet republics that broke away from the USSR when the latter collapsed in 1989.

Check out the Wikipedia page on Georgia. The population of the country is dominated by ethnic Georgians — that is, except for certain enclaves within the country. Two such enclaves are South Ossetia (dominated by ethnic Ossetians) and Abkhazia (dominated by ethnic Abkhazians).

At the same time that Georgia broke away from the USSR, South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia. But while Georgia has been recognized by the international community as a sovereign nation, the same courtesy has not been granted to South Ossetia or Abkhazia. So since the early 1990s, those two enclaves have been acting as “de facto” sovereign self-governing countries.

That history brings us up to the events of last week. Since Friday, the top media story across the world not involving the Olympics has concerned a war between Russia and Georgia within these two enclaves, and also in parts of Georgia proper.

Until this present moment, the American media has covered this story in a comical “fairy tale” sort of way. That is, the media — including the New York Times, CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press, and pretty much any other leading American media voice that I could find — was painting this war story as a juvenile black/white, good guy vs. bad guy story. In this fairly tale, Russia is the bad guy; Georgia the good guy.

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for the money has gone too far

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