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The Outcomes of Stupid Ambitions

05.09.2008
Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

The plans have changed: Levan Otkhvani, 7 can not go to school any more because his village was bombed by Russian bombers on August 10, 2008. The family of Otkhvani consisting of 5 members left the village last and went to Imereti as IDPs.

“On the morning of August 10, I was feeding hens when unusual silence in the village annoyed me. I left my yard to find out what was going on. There was no one around. No women, no children… I noticed several boys speaking in a low voice. I could not make out what they were talking about. Suddenly, a shell fell in our yard. I knew I could not stay there any more. We had to leave the village immediately. I feel deceived. We were told that there was nothing to worry about. However, the soldiers escaped the moment the threat became tangible. No soldiers could be seen by the time we left the village. They went and left us to die,” recalls Patman Otkhvani from Kodori.  This 61-year-old woman lives in a tiny room in Kutaisi Auto- mechanical College with her husband, so, daughter-in-law and grandson. 60 IDPs live in this college. Due to rusty doors and windows, it is impossible to air rooms. They are all stuffed. 300 IDPs used to live in this building... Most of them left. Others have no place to go and have to live in difficult conditions. It is not far from heroism to stay in this place.
When you enter the building you see vividly in what conditions Svanetian IDPs live. They do not need to speak about their problems. Everything is obvious for an onlooker. Wooden boxes- assumedly former waste bins are used as chairs and beds. They are the most valuable for IDPs. It is better to lie on wooden boxes than on a cement floor.
“They say, “we will take you from here and that’s why we do not bring you beds.” However, they do not say where they will take us. No one cares what we need and want. They think we are used to living in these conditions because we say nothing and do not complain. We used to live happily in our region. We had been safeguarding Kodori Gorge for 15 years and we lost it in two years.  Everything was lost for someone’s stupid ambitions. Malkhaz Akishbaia, head of the Government of Abkhazia scaresly visited Kodori Gorge. He used to say that he was settling problems from Tbilisi and no one could enter the gorge including Russians. When we scolded him for fleeing in a critical moment and leaving us to die he blamed governors of villages that they should have warned us to leave the villages. There is no use of reprimanding him now. We need attention and care at this moment. After all we are human beings,“ states Patman Otkhvani.

Mrs. Patman had been asking her husband to leave the village. He refused to escape to the last moment. He says it was difficult for him to leave the house.

„I still can not believe everything that is going on. I did not think we would cede our land so easily. If not bombing we would save the Kodori Gorge. We lost the land we had been preserving for 15 years simply, just like that. It is unrealistic to think about returning the gorge now. We might return it only together with Sokhumi. There is no other option,“ states Vazha Otkhvani with tears in his eyes.
Everyone speaks about past in this place. Even children, the youngest of whom is 2 years old: „ We had beautiful gorge with forest, water..“ Now they have nothing. Only a heap of old, torn clothes which can be seen at the lobby. They can be used only for setting fire in winter. They have faucets with no water in them and spoilt canalization pipelines. The smell of which irritates irritated people even more.

„We take water from the street which comes once in two days. It should have come today. However, we returned with empty buckets. I wish it comes...“

Today the IDPs have two wishes, water and the goverment representatives to come. They say if the authorities come they will tell about their problems in details.
„They say on TV that we live in normal conditions, the goverment is trying its best to ease our conditions. Well, it is a lie. Akishbaia came and left a package with crispse and dried bread. If I had opened the package when he was there I would have throw them in his face and say that he must not fool people. We are all human beings and no one knows what happens with us in future,“ states angry Patman Otkhvani and takes the package out of closet. There is a peace of soap, a comb, a shampoo and a package of washing powder. They were ordered that the powder must be shared by two families.

 



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