Georgia

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Trabzon, Black Sea, Turkey, August 2008. In the Istanbul-Baku direct bus, a Georgian child returns home. His mother had sent him away during the conflict with Russia.

At the Turco-Georgian border we had a chance to discuss, we were trapped for just under four hours, at midday, not for the formalities, but because of bad organization. We crossed on foot but our bus could not follow, there were no traffic lines, just a potholed, dirt road, muddy from the rain, and huge trailers kept blocking the way of the cars and buses while they cleared customs, it was an inextricable maze. Georgian officials – unphased by the beating they were taking from the Russians – ate the rest of the time. After shaking hands with our bus driver, the somber, young customs officer demanded to see every single bag under the bus, even though they knew we were on transit, and a trader had 18 pieces!

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Lanchkhuti, Georgia, August 2008.

Actually, we were surprised to find so much Russian presence but also sympathy in the wake of the ongoing Georgia-Russia conflict. There was a middle-aged woman, a trader too, who turned to be Uzbek (obvious from her face, even though she was of Russian father, living in Azerbaijan). She hit her palm with the other hand, as if crashing it, when we asked her about Bush in Georgia, she did the same with Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, she knew about all these places that suffered badly from the U.S.. A red-locked Georgian girl did not show any animosity about Russia. Alex, a 23-year old Azeri who later took us under his wings upon arrival in the capital, said it plainly, Azerbaijan is on equally good terms with both Russia and the U.S., but Georgians are stupid!

David from Stantours was scornful too of those Europeans and North Americans who fucked up with Kosovo, recognizing it as an independent state, inviting Moscow to do the same with Ossetia and Abkhazia, and what about Nato’s bombings of Serbia?

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Lanchkhuti, Georgia, August 2008.

Somewhere in the center of the country. We didn’t see any of the conflict, zipped through Georgia in a few hours, in Batumi the road is removed from the sea, was the U.S. Navy destroyer really there? It was dark when we arrived in Gori, Stalin’s birthplace and the site of a roadblock manned by the Russians. We dropped a passenger so quickly I didn’t have time to take a photo.Back to top.

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