In the cities of Gori Tskhinvali, Georgia - bordered by the Black Sea, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia - all hell has broken loose on earth. Imagine the peaceful picture at left clouded this morning by billowing smoke and people scrambling for protection. It's not a stretch.
On the Russian border today there are conflicting reports about the air strikes that occurred over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, a region embroiled in territorial tensions and issues over sovereignty for years. This potential war is not rocket science. We've heard it before in many parts of the world.
Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991 but has endured civil war, ethnic cleansing, clashes in the southern part of the country and struggles for President power and control.
Somebody stop this echo in the universe. I beg you.
Just days ago twenty busloads of people began to evacuate into Russia (who offered assistance) the majority holding Russian passports, leaving South Ossetia -the center of the conflict - which started between Georgian troops and parliamentary soldiers. Both sides say the other started it.
Meanwhile Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, called for a ceasefire offering amnesty and calling for peace talks. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has asked that Georgia troops withdraw completely and quit the conflict zone. The fighting worsened.
And who gets caught in the crossfire?
Where have I heard this before?
Is there an echo in here?
"The situation reached the point that Georgian peacekeepers have been shooting at Russian peacekeepers."
Read that sentence again.
" Where have I heard that before?
All across the world we are all saying the same thing. No one wants war. Or so they say.
But my eyes see something else. And one must wonder how words and negotiations and written treaties can keep up with the speed of barreling tanks and military jets in the sky. Why does the latter make a louder noise than the power of the word? After all, it is the almighty word we are relying on to stop this mess. Isn't it? If not then why do we keep asking people to weigh in with their words? Do we really think someone will spout forth a brilliant new revelation on the way to achieve peace? No. We are all saying the same thing.
At the core all wars look the same to me. "Stop hitting me so that I may speak. Who started it? You started it. I don't trust you."
And the cycle begins again - with louder and bigger bombs to drown out the words.
Semantics of war are not based on hatred; they are grounded and fed by the insecurities of nations locked in mistrust by the evidence of their actions - not their words. Perhaps if we based our reality on the action of non-violence, the echo would change and we would see a worldwide catastrophic outbreak of unstoppable peace.
Update: This post was written August 9, 2008 when the conflict began. I just read that on September 25 a 13-year-old was killed in South Ossetia by an explosive device and the madness rages on.
Photos: Creative Commons 2.0, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, yzhenkova Yulia, correspondent of "Solidarnost"