Thursday, August 14, 2008


I looked outside Tuesday afternoon to see something burning on the horizon. Smoke billowed from the District Four docks, snaking into the wind above the skyline and mingling with the ever-present monsoon. It was the thick blue-gray of a thunderhead in the humid distance. I watched the plume for a long time. It reminded me of war coverage: distant photos of conflict followed by close-up ramifications. It made me think of Georgia. Under a EU-brokered ceasefire, Russian troops pulled out of Gori today,* handing the battlefield back over to returning law enforcement officers and those who wish to photograph ramifications. The Russian army is still encamped around the countryside. It occupied the city as part of a push to liberate the separatist enclave of South Ossetia, a disputed region nonetheless located within the political frontiers of an ex-Soviet sovereignty. Gori is well outside this disputed zone. As is Georgia's capital Tbilisi, the target of several Russian bombs. It’s all pretty ironic: Russia feels it has the ethical advantage, but in light of Chechnya that's another way of saying Russia feels the ethical right to act contradictorily in regarding territorial interests. Ah, the nineteenth century--how we'd nearly forgotten ye. Riding Tuesday's train of thought: did you know that Sunshine and I were entertaining the idea of applying for a job in Tbilisi? Initially this seemed to have been quashed by the Russians. But this problem will stabilize into a contained simmer, a cold war if you will, before we’d get there. Aren't we entertaining the thought of working in Kosovo? It's either the world's newest country or a separatist Albanian enclave of Serbia, depending on who you talk to. Someday maybe even South Ossetia will have its very own positions to apply for, smoke on the horizon notwithstanding. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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