Respondent: Pepela Nemsadze, Village of Zemo (upper) Khviti, Nikozi local council
Date of the interview: August 13, 2008; Venue: M. Nodia
I arrived on the 9th. I arrived because my son is a military officer, he was guarding the country, all lights were out, and I could not receive any information, I left the village in order to hear my son's voice and learn what situation he was in, how he was. On a second day, when I was returning, I could not make my way to the village. My husband stayed in the village and he is still there. What situation he is in right now I don't know- We called him, but they are so resistant, even if they were really suffering, he would still tell me he is fine more or less. My daughter in law called me, told me the house was destroyed, not completely demolished but destroyed. Neighbor has got a bunker and there are 12 people hiding in it…They tell me situation in a village is more or less safe now. They tell me that as we were leaving, the village was being attacked by air bombing, the jets were already flying over the village. The situation was bad, I was sick too, and I was almost pushed into the local bus, and I left the site just with my cloths on. I left because I wanted to learn what was going on, (because there was no electricity I could not get any information) but I was unable to go back…we left under fire, women and children escaped, they came here. I am so stubborn I would not leave, I would not leave my husband, he would not leave anyway, but the reason was…the night before, it hit the neighbors house…it is a destitute family ..her husband was killed earlier, during Zviad's times, and now her son also died as I know. Her house was hit, on the other side, and my house is near it, and the pieces fell on our house as well. Window glasses shattered, my husband was standing close and he surprisingly survived, the wall saved him. The window frames fell off, big stones as well..this happened at night, my husband survived by a miracle. I was also close, standing near a door, he was outside, looking at what was happening. And he went back in, he was scared…it happened like this. They were probably located at the gardens in our village, and they were targeting us directly, a couple of them exploded at this place.. then I heard it exploding near and the house got demolished.. I was there…there were casualties.. two women died at this very incident. They were outside on a balcony, were hit by the shrapnel and both of them died.
I know that during these two nights Nuri and Avlevi –these two villages were bombed, loud explosions could be heard from there, and then our side responded as well, and may be because shooting was also coming from our side, when took their positions then they were targeting because of that. They were ready to kill us all and they (Georgians) had to do something ..they demolished two villages that night. Then they attacked us, nearby villages.
I was not going to leave for good. My motherland village is Akhaldaba, and I thought I would stay there, but people had also left this place. I though I would then go to Gori, but almost everyone has left Gori as well. And I was not able to leave the transport. It was a private bus, If I wanted to leave everyone had to step out to let me out. That's how I happened to come to Tbilisi. I am able to reach them by phone once in a while and know that he is hiding in a bunker. Are they telling me the truth or something bad has happened upon me I don't know. .. I have not talked to my husband directly, I only talk to the other person. I call during the day and may be they are not together during the day, or are they lying? I don't know…
We have 7 members in our family. I have two sons who are married, and me and my husband….My son is an artillery officer. He was on a front line…we could not get any information about him, he is such a person himself that won't tell me anything even if he is in trouble. He did not come home even for a minute because he wanted to be next to them (the solders) who are to him as his children….
It was an air bombing…They were shooting from some kind of equipment…When I was still there tanks were not coming and after that….Just yesterday were received information from Akhaldaba that Russian army is moving forward spending dawn the ammunition on the people…the forest was burning and fire was in the neighborhoods as well. This was according yesterday's information and today I know nothing. We are very depressed, I can hardly think. especially when I think about the children, boys who grew up in my hands…I taught them in the school.. A lot of boys from us went on contracted military service. And there are many who are missing now, two, no, three I know for sure are dead. I don't know about others, they are missing.. this is the situation…