I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Winston Churchill

Aug 15, 2008

Katie Melua on Georgian Tragedy

Source: here

Friday, August 15, 2008

Latest Blog - August 15th, 2008

Have the last 7 days actually happened?

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Germany in middle of my summer tour with BBC World News telling me that my home country is being torn to pieces.
Throughout this week I haven't been able to stop watching the news. I've never seen it like this before, it's never made me feel so naked, isolated and angry. When there's a war it's always in some distant land and then they switch to the weather and sports. I nearly hit the TV with the remote control when it went to sports. While the conflict was going on in Georgia I couldn't believe that world around me was functioning normally, or that I was functioning normally. Especially doing these last two gigs, they have felt very weird. I've been removed from them yet have never felt so grateful and happy to be anywhere but on the stage.

The scariest day was last Monday when I couldn't get hold of anyone including my mother and brother who were originally out there on holiday.
When I spoke to mum last Friday she said everything would be fine and all seemed pretty normal on the streets of the seaside town where they were. But then my phone stopped working and I was hearing all these things on the news which petrified me about the conflict moving further in to Georgia and towards Tbilisi where my grandparents live. I finally got hold of them all on Tuesday and they said there had not been any fighting or violence in the capitol or anywhere apart from Gori.

With the Russians still being in Gori there are reports that they have stopped fighting but you don't need to be killing a country's people or its soldiers to paralyse it. You see, Gori is right in the middle of the only road that goes from west to east across Georgia. It's the road that my mum and brother need to travel on to catch their return flight out of Tbilisi.

It's also the road that I travel on every year to get from the capital to the sea towns. It's always such a great car journey, 6 hours of stunning countryside, with the landscape changing from desert-like hills to dark forests, stunning rivers then a mountain that you have to get over where there is usually a bus in front of you struggling slowly around the scary turns of the steep mountain. So for me the thought that this road is currently a danger and a menacing one is unbelievable.

My mum and brother have tried twice to make that journey back to the capital but every time they been turned back by Georgian police advising them that it's too risky. There are reports of people travelling the other way, getting as far as Gori and having their cars and all their goods stolen. I have also heard of a 25 year old girl who is missing. She was travelling with a group of people on that road, near Gori where they were ambushed. She was kidnapped and has not been seen since then.

One of the most frustrating things in the last few days has been trying to get a clear picture of the conflict. Yesterday, according to my family, Gori was still occupied, while at the same time I saw on the news that the Russians were leaving. Maybe it will take them a few days? Maybe they're blowing up un-detonated bombs before they go? Who knows. I would just like my country to get back its stability.

Georgia has always had shaky politics especially after the break up of the Soviet Union and the civil war that followed in the 90's. More recently things appeared to be getting better, the economy was growing, the major cities were starting to look cleaner, electricity black-outs like the ones when I lived there were almost unheard of. But after this last week everything seems uncertain again.

Sue my publicist has told me that she has been inundated with requests for me to talk about this in the media. What am I meant to say? It just doesn't feel right to put this on the same platform as when I'm talking about my music to journalists, with lights, make-up and all the ridiculousness of show business. I don't want to be some face that makes this conflict more personal for the average Britain, because they know some singer that comes from there that sings about bicycles. That's ridiculous! Conflict is conflict. It just so happens that this conflict is on my homeland, on my memories and where pretty much all of my family is right now.

10 days ago I felt secure, happy and looking forward to visiting Georgia for the summer holidays. Now I'm not sure what to feel. All I know is that once Georgia mends itself after another conflict in its recent history then I'll never take that feeling of safety for granted and neither should the millions of people that live in countries of peace.

Katie x


Anonymous said...

who do you people expect to defend you???
nobody will go against the russians! you have to make a blood bath with their soldiers!

არმური said...

Against Russian on another there will be a weight the world!
All of us shall see it!

არმური said...

Against Russian on another there will be a weight the world!
All of us shall see it!

Marat said...

>> I don't want to be some face that makes this conflict more personal for the average Britain
But you had been. And you made everything perfectly. No doubt about "who is wrong and who is right". But no aggression or hysterics - just right particle of a great drama, with individual details. So nobody can blame you now...
Good job, Katie. On your level, you made your best for Georgia.