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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Negro is not niggardly and the best offense is defense

(lifted off

I just visited to catch up on some local news and see the president has tasted a bit of his own shoe leather.

Remember the Washington DC mayoral aide David Howard, who had to resign for saying the word "niggardly" when referring to the tight budget he would have to manage? Fortunately, this is Georgia where even losing a war with Russia won't make a president resign, which is why I'm surprised Misha is getting some heat for calling his Prime Minister a "negro."

The deal is, Misha got pissed off when he found out some Spanish tourists got shaken down by some knucklehead customs officers. The article states Misha turned to some Finance Ministry guy and Prime Minister Nika Gilauri and said, “... are we Negroes or what? Explain to me why are we acting like savages?”

The president's press service released a statement regretting the president's comment was misinterpreted, which is not an apology, mind you.

“Words said by the President of Georgia have nothing to do with any race and they were not used in the context of racial discrimination,” the statement also mentioned.

But the word negro
is either a derogatory slur or an old school racial description. It is nothing else. I don't understand why Misha just didn't say "Russian." Nobody would have noticed and it would have been an accurate description.

Speaking of Russia, Misha is on one of his civil defense benders again, going on about how
Georgia should develop a military industry and that every village should be prepared to defend itself against a Russian invasion.

"There should be small, trained teams in each village and each settlement with minimal required arms so that everyone should be able to defend own land, village, street, town and region,” the president said.

If the president had been in a Georgian village during the August 2008 war, then he would have seen that even a large trained team couldn't protect villages from being bombed by Russian planes. If he had actually talked to people in these villages then he would have learned that they are tired of being pawns in a conflict between Putin and Saakashvili, they don't want to be armed with weapons to protect their homes, they want water, gas and jobs.

(lifted from

Yes, Russia is occupying Georgian territory and yes Putin wants to string Misha up by his nuts - you cannot deny the threat is still there. But how many wars must Georgia lose before the president stops saying stuff like, “If the enemy force decides to advance from the ethnically cleansed territories, each and every square meter of the Georgian land should burn beneath [the enemy force] – that is the task.” ?

And if the president was earnest about the plan to win the hearts and minds of the separatists, why would he say "Georgia’s eventual political goal is to liberate our territories and to achieve full de-occupation?" Georgia has been saying that for nearly 2 decades and look what it has achieved. I think it's fair to say that if this talk loud and carry a small stick diplomacy hasn't worked well these past 20 years why would it now?


Anonymous said...

Good article, except for the obvious falsehood that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are "occupied" territories. Twisting the truth in Orwellian fashion is a trait of the Saakashvili regime which the author should not copy.

Paul Rimple said...

Mr. Mrs. Anonymous,

I appreciate your comment, but look, the UN, EC et al respect Georgia's territorial integrity and all that jazz: "The (EC) Assembly reaffirms its attachment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and reiterates its call on Russia to withdraw its recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as the inviolability of its borders...specifically requests Russia to withdraw from the Akhalgori district, Upper Abkhazia, the Georgian enclave around Tskhinvali and Perevi village, and to reduce its military presence to pre-conflict levels.."

I twist no truths my friend, although I admit "occupied" is up to interpretation. Abkahzia insists they are not occupied because they invited Russian troops to protect them from Georgians. The problem is 188 countries in the world do not recognize the independence of Georgian separatists. I didn't invent that.

Article 42 of the Laws and Customs of War on Land (Fourth Hague Convention); October 18, 1907,[1] territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.

This too is open to interpretation. Georgia and 187 other countries see Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian territory. Regardless of who started the war, Russia signed an agreement saying it would withdraw its forces to pre-war boundaries, but it hasn't. Its armies remain even deeper into Georgian territory than before. These aren't Russian gymnasts in Akhalgori. It is the army.

While the truth only matters to those that believe it, I will continue to call spades spades, as I see them.

Orwell had bohemian fashion sense, which is allright with me. But be careful putting Saakashvili in some exclusive Orwellspeak category when the fact is, Misha is just a politician. Show me a politician that does not doublespeak and I will introduce you to a man with a goat that has 3 wooden legs.


I see you also have a particular affection to that photo from - my favourite, too!

Anonymous said...

Just because the EU (or "international community", insert what you like here) prefers to call the world flat doesn't mean it's true. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not considered occupied or part of Georgia by the people who actually live there, and that's all that matters. Neither does Russia make laws in Abkhazia or South Ossetia or is in control of the day to day running of these territories, so article 42 of the Hauge convention that you mention does not apply. As for Abkhazia and South Ossetia being "Georgian territory." Well; honestly I have come to expect no better form Tbilisi-based Western journalists such as yourself, but even an intelligent man like you must agree that Georgia in reality has lost these territories for good, and that continuing to refer to them as "Georgian" land nearly 20 years after they seceeded is rather spurious?

Paul Rimple said...

Hi Mr./Mrs. Anonymous,

I'll repeat, truth is ambiguous, but the majority rules. That is the point. I am quite aware of the attitude in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, but what they believe has no value where it counts, if we're talking about global recognition.

Because you missed it the second time, I'll spell it out for you again. Until the rest of the world acknowledges the independence of Georgia's separatist regions, I will continue to identify them as separatists, whether I live in Tbilisi, Moscow, or Kalamazoo. To do otherwise would be spurious.

Anonymous said...

Disagree. Reality isn't what you call it, it is what is. Denying reality is bad for you, which it has been for Georgia during the last 20 years. So it will be for the West too when there is another war in the Caucasus, and the oil pipelines are again jepoardised. But be my guest; feel free to contribute to the West's and Georgia's self deception - too bad you won't help any of them make any progress that way.

Paul Rimple said...

Sadly, you are disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing and not at all responding to my comment. However, I appreciate your contribution to this thread.

I said "truth" not "reality." "It is what it is" sounded cool after a bong hit in high school, but if you know anything about these conflicts, then you will know each side has their own version - their own truth.

As to the reality you mentioned, I think I made that extremely clear in the text and don't understand why your knickers are in a wad.

I only know of one oil pipeline in Georgia.

Journalists have a duty to be objective, except in places where the State owns the media. We western journalists identify Abkhazia and South Ossetia as separatists, defacto, self-proclaimed, breakaway territories, etc, because they are, insofar as 99.6% of the world recognizes them as such. If the UN recognizes their independence, we'll be able to drop the prefixes. The Abkhaz foreign ministry understands this, you should too.

Anonymous said...

I am not arguing for the sake of arguing - my points are both important and vaild. As for you, it is clear that you are interested neither in "truth" nor "reality" but but just in parroting the official propaganda that comes out of Tbilisi, as well as pandering to the Georgians and their nationalist delusions.

This is probably a condition for you to stay long and propsper in that country, but that doesn't make it any less deplorable.

Also, "you" western journalists refer to Kosovo as an independent state, despite it not being recognised by over 2/3rds of the world. Where is your objectivity in that?

Paul Rimple said...

If you were so interested in truth or reality why do you hide behind the name Anonymous?

You know, you're not helping the separatists much by frothing at the mouth like a mad sheep and "parroting the official propaganda" that comes out of Sukhum, Moscow and Tskhinvali. They need intelligent voices to help make their case.

By choosing me as your target, you have proven that you don't actually read what I write and are thus incapable of engaging in discourse without it being cavillous and denunciatory.

But thank you for proving my point that truth matters to those that believe it. So now would you like to meet that guy with a goat that has 3 wooden legs?...