12.18.2008

"When asked who burnt this village down, he admitted: 'It was the Ossetians.'"

Al Jazeera goes inside an ethnic Georgian village in South Ossetia:
It's hard to believe that this used to be a bustling community with its own schools and businesses.

Some of the destruction is clearly ethnically motivated, but some of the looting is probably the work of profiteers.

There really was not much left to take, so we were surprised when we heard banging in the distance.

As we approached the noise we saw a man in mismatching fatigues using a hammer to tear off the metal frame of a gate.

He ran off as soon as he saw us. Following him down a path we saw about half a dozen other men.

They were clearly not happy to see us, and threatened us with violence if we refused to leave.

The ethnic Ossetians I talked to in Gori felt no fear of reprisals from Georgians; nor did the Georgians harbor malice toward the Ossetians.

Marina Geoshvilli, an ethnic Ossetian resident of Gori, opened her store on the first day refugees returned to the city. She was not worried about reprisals.


The levels of damage, from the pictures on the AJ article, seem about equal to those in most parts of Gori -- caved-in roofs, shattered windows, but not too many walls down or structures completely destroyed.