Friday, August 08, 2008
We were born at night, when the she-wolf whelped.
It feels a bit weird to be writing this, after a recent post. But Russia's invaded Georgia.
I don't claim to know much about the situation, but I do know a bit more than the average American. Before I moved to New York, I worked on a production of a show called The Man Who Tried to Save the World -- about the American, Fred C. Cuny, an American relief worker -- and maybe spy --who disappeared in the last Chechan War. I learned a bit of Chechen language (enough to translate a few lines their national anthem, sort of -- see title quote), and enough to learn their country was more than bomb craters and ravaged cities.
Even the briefest of study of the area reveals a long, nasty history of military brutality. It'd be nice if you could reduce that brutality to just one side, but you can't. The Russian/Soviet/Russian occupation of the area has been anything but pleasant (they pretty much removed the entire Chechan ethnicity away from the Chechan homeland, so there are no natural-born Chechans), but so has the Chechan reaction to that occupation. They've done horrible things to innocent people, too -- murder of aide workers, innocent children of different ethnic backgrounds...
And the situation is happening all over again in Georgia, for the same reasons, it seems. The old super-structure of the old USSR feels like it needs to prove itself against the machinations of some tiny republic with a history of a free past. Whatever he says, Putin is aligning himself exactly with the old-school Soviet rulers, and only someone as deeply stupid as Bush would ever believe otherwise.
And most of America will be looking at Beijing.