Saturday, August 09, 2008

This Is Why God Invented Folk Dance Festivals

OK, so the Russians are invading Georgia. I watched the News Hour with Lehrer, so I feel slightly more up on the whole thing than your average box of rocks, but I have very little to say on the subject that you can't read elsewhere from, oh, people with PhDs on the subject, so I'm not going to get into Russia wanting to block Georgia from active engagement with the outside world, or my sense of nausea about Russia these days in general, or the geopolitical adjacency to Iran and Afghanistan and such places. I'm not even going to tease The Departing Mr. Bush for having publicly announced that he could see Vladimir Putin's soul. Lots of people see things that aren't there after a long plane ride.

However, I am going to say this: Europe needs to get the hell over the idea that differences in traditional embroidery patterns are some sort of rational basis for border establishment, and the rest of the world needs to stop indulging them in this stupidity.

What, you say, is the Balabusta ranting about now? She's ranting about the phrase, heard several times during last night's news coverage, that the South Ossetians are 'ethnically distinct'.

I'm sure they are. However, there are 70,000 of them, and according to some counts, 1500 civilians have already died in this hoe-down, so why don't we agree that the Ossetians can have a separate dance category at the all-Georgia folk dance festival, that the Tblisi government will deliver their mail and fix their roads, and that Russia will get back across their border and get the hell over it?

I'm sorry, but every time you see this 'ethnically distinct' thing accompanied by tanks, it never turns out even vaguely well. Words like 'Sudentenland' and 'Srbrenica' come floating up in my mind, accompanied by a nauseous memory of watching talking heads explain how the same Yugoslavians who'd lived perfectly calmly next door to each other for generations now had to rip one another to shreds, often literally, because of Important Ethnic Rivalries.

People, people, I got more ethnic distinctions going on in my APARTMENT BUILDING than the entire nation of Georgia's got, and so far no one has opened fire. (The people next door have thrown dishes, but that was an internal affair, and no one else was involved.)

Talking heads of the world: I will accept any explanation other than this. Tell me that Russia wants Georgia's Reese's Pieces stockpiles and I will nod wisely. But no more ethnic. No more distinct. Not once we've got tanks rolling. Persist in this nonsense, and I shall throw stuff at my TV.

1 comment:

aliyah06 said...

Russia wants the monopoly on Asian gas and oil flowing westward, and the only pipelines not under Russian control run through -- Georgia! On their way to south Turkey port and western Georgia port respectively. Hence, Russia's drive down the middle to plant it's army within striking distance of the pipelines; the many bomb craters all around the pipelines (they missed, repeatedly); and the seizure of the said western Georgian port which Russia reportedly is NOT giving back to Georgia. It's all about oil -- nothing to do with embroidery patterns, despite the "ethnic tensions" excuse which has been flogged to death by waaaay too many invading dictatorships in the last 100 years....