Ossetia - Ир, Ирыстон

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 8, 2008 03:41pm | Post a Comment
Remember how Russia was grousing when Kosovo declared independence? Remember how they said it would open a Pandora's Box of evils like autonomy, diversity, cultural expression and self-determination? Well, in an unprecedented about face, Russia invaded the breakaway region of South Ossetia today to repel US-encouraged Georgia's forces who launched a surprise attack on the hapless Ossetians at the encouragement of the Bush administration, killing unconfirmed numbers of Ossetian civilians without provocation. Perhaps the most surprising thing is how most of the media have used this to denounce Russia, and not to defend the Ossetians, whose homeland was invaded without apparent provocation.

Condoleeza Rice said, “This is not 1968, and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can invade its neighbor, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it,” she said. “Things have changed.” It's sort of funny coming from the people who invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, occupied their capitals, overthrew their governments and got away with it. But they're not our neighbor so it's ok. So why did the media throw their support behind the breakaway republics of Yugoslavia but not Georgia? Because Georgia is a tool and partner in the US's efforts to expand influence in the area, so they aren't beholden to the same standards as our enemies.

The Ossetians homeland lies both in Russia and Georgia. They're an Aryan people who moved to the region some 7,000 years ago. The word "Ossetia" comes from the Georgian name for them. Their own name for their country is Irættæ. Their ancestors founded the kingdom of Alania, which was a beneficiary of the Silk Road. They migrated to their current home in the Caucasus to flee the Mongol Horde. When the USSR collapsed, some Ossetians proposed reviving the name of Alania. Soon afterward, the term Alania was revived in many enterprises and added to the official title of the Russian-occupied north, making it Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.


South Ossetia and Georgia both were taken over by the Russian Empire in 1801.

Efforts were made to collect and record Ossetian folk music at the dawn of recording technology (in the late 19th century).

Following the Russian Revolution, Ossetia was divided in two. There were several Ossetian rebellions in a struggle to re-establish independence. 5,000 Ossetians lost their lives due to fighting and 13,000 died from hunger and disease.

Under Soviet rule, Ossetia produced a number of symphonies, ballets, operas and other music. The first Ossetian opera was Christopher Pliev's Kosta. Ilya Gabaraev is another well-known Ossetian composer [relative to other "well-known" Ossetians, although Joe Stalin (né Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) was Ossestian.]

South Ossetia has been a de facto independent country since 1992 although they're unrecognized by the UN, NATO or even UNPO. They held a vote and 95% of eligible South Ossetians voted.  99% voted for independence.

This morning, the Georgian military resumed fighting with the Ossetians in a bid to steal their land. 1,400 civilians were killed. In response, the Russians have moved in and are attacking the Georgians.

In the video game Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, you guide company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. In the first mission, the "Ghosts" must wipe out Ossetian rebels who are hiding out in farms surrounded by forest. Your battalion sneaks around, aided with night vision and sniper rifles. Lots of *psrt* "lights out" and *krak* "scratch another one." The Russian army discovers the operation and the ghosts have to evacuate in a SH-60 Seahawk from atop the American Embassy in T'bilsi --the Georgian capital. It's a great game. Totally immoral, politically backward (you also have to kill Eritreans trying to achieve independence), a horrible message, and (if I recall correctly) it's endorsed by Donald Rumsfeld.

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

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Georgia (3), Autonomy (5), Alania (1), Ossetia (1), Silk Road (1), Soviet Union (4), Video Games (26), Aryans (3), Caucasus (2), Russia (4), Ghost Recon (1), Ossetian Music (1)