My worst memories are of when we had to go to the neighboring village to sleep at night. It was especially hard because it was winter
I am from the village Otrevi. I was already living in Tskhinvali from the beginning of the 90s. My parents were in the village.
The first time I processed that the war had started was on 5th of August. I was standing in the yard with my friends.
Нæмыджы фæдтæ цы хъуамæ фæуыдаиккой? Хæдзар сцалцæг кодтам æмæ сæ фæдтæ къултыл дæр æмæ рудзгуытыл дæр нал зыныныц. Гуырдзиæгтæ мидæмæ гом дуарæй æхстой.
On the morning of the 8th of August, after the heavy firings the whole night, I ran to my neighbor to see how they were doing.
But I still can’t understand why they wanted that war.
On the 6th of August, we were at the cafe, Farn, in the city center. Who would’ve thought that a bomb would fall out of the sky and hit the cafe in two days?
We don’t mean anyone any harm, we were born with Ossetians, we were raised with Ossetians, we said. It was exactly so, we got along great before that.
Suddenly, just as the truck was taking a sharp turn, there was gunfire. People didn’t even have time to scream let alone escape.
I replay this often, that she calls her son and someone picks up the phone there and tells her he is dead.
This distinction between Ossetian and Georgian didn't exist before, then what happened, I don’t know
Georgian police were already in Tskhinvali, separately Georgian and Ossetian nationalist leaders were agitating people.
It’s a cursed affair to fight over land. Because that’s not what our end is, we won’t leave this earth with more than two meters anyway.
The first time I was ever afraid was when I was 5 years old. It was the 23rd of November, 1989.
War started for me when Zviad came to power. Many here swore that war was out of the question, Soviet Union would never allow that.
Our village was burned the first time on the 12th of May in 1992. We were making Chacha in the yard.
Now my heart aches when my husband tells the story, I yell at him. Don’t remind me of that time, I tell him. What’s it all for?
On the 7th of August, half an hour before midnight, the gunfire began. We jumped out of bed, my mother didn’t even know what was happening.
The corpse was washed up by the river Representatives of the police and representatives of the prosecutor's office also went to examine it.
This slogan left the most bitter impression on me: Curse the woman who carries an Ossetian in her womb
They shot him and killed him right then and there. That kind of boy, some would say, what kind of mother had raised him?
As we were firing farewell shots for him, we could hear a sound on the other side, someone else was firing with us from Georgia
May God protect everyone from the pain I experienced then. I ran off. In front of the school, a sulfur spring was flowing.
My mother was Ossetian, and they were cursing her, how could you raise Georgian kids, they said. What am I supposed to do?
I didn’t change my name or anything at all. You should be what you are.
Georgians aren't liked in South Ossetia today. Were it not for the second war, the generation would have been replaced and there would have been peace.
Like I’ve been saying, I have everything written down. When I went there, some people were writing things down, so on one mission, I started too
What could I do?ǃ I came back and returned to work. Then I served for twenty years, I participated in every battle. Wherever a bullet fell, I was there.
Can you imagine, independence was declared and none of the political leaders had political experienceǃ That was the cause of all this.
The kids stayed behind, they gave me apartments, and I left them all. All five of them. They didn't want to so they didn’t come.
That's where I met Mr, Jaba Ioseliani. He was a regular man. It’s a pleasure to have you part of our group, he said. At first, there were 50 of us.
Before getting out of my father's car, I broke off a small part of the car, for some reason I really wanted to leave a keepsake.
Then one period they really attacked us. That was later, after 2008.
They would storm in homes. Some were kidnapped. The things they did!
It all started for me with Adamon Nykhas meetings. I never missed it.
I am from the village Otrevi. I was already living in Tskhinval from the beginning of the 90s. My parents were in the village.
We spent our childhood in war and battle fronts.
There’s no house, no land, my son is dead, I’ve got only his grave there.
The entire night, the Ossetians scorched us, didn’t have any mercy on us. I was on the front lines.
I hoped to return, but who will let you go back in? My house is no longer alive.
I was against the breakdown of the Soviet Union. It was dangerous. People still remembered what had happened in 1920.
The war started on November 23, 1989, for us. They wanted to hold a rally here. So many people came down to the villages including many from Svaneti.
Armed clashes broke out in the city. There were murders. An emergency curfew was declared in Tskhinval.
When the unrest started, my aunt got up and took her grandkids, all the little ones, and ran off to Vladikavkaz.
A few times they brought us out like they were going to take us somewhere. I always thought they were about to execute us.
Now we reminisce and exist. If it were you, wouldn't you reminisce? Wouldn't you think, it was like that, it was like this, wouldn't you miss it?
The houses were always burning around us, like you see in the movies. You just sit there helpless, just watching.
My parents had left their village on the 8th of August. Half way through, my mother’s legs started hurting.
Georgian snipers stood on the heights across the river, and they were shooting up the city from there.
We didn’t sleep after that night. They fired all the time. On the 7th, Saakashvili spoke and said there wouldn’t be a war.
When they used to change their last names and try to convince me that they weren’t Ossetian, my heart would always break
The whole village was fleeing. They left everything behind, fled with the shirts on their back.
In the morning my mother called. She watched a Georgian news program on Facebook, where they used the video that my mother took of me
They came in and took the cattle from everybody who had them. They had automatics and things.
We sold our house in Tbilisi. We better leave, I said. ‘Cause, you’re going to a foreign country, and you need to bring something with you, right?
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