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Killed at Zar for the sake of a mad idea

2009-05-21 16:24

2788.jpegOn 20 May 1992, a transport column carrying refugees from South Ossetia, who were leaving Tskhinval in anticipation of a war with Georgia, was attacked by the Georgian gunmen. 32 Ossetians including women, children and old people were shot point-blank, 16 more people being seriously wounded. This was how the first President of the independent Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia realized the idea of the Ossetians being alien to the Georgians and having to leave. Leaders change but their attitude to the non-Georgians remains the same.

The wounded lay bleeding among the bodies of those killed on the Zar road. Three people that managed to survive reached the nearest village and reported the brutal shooting. «Chkara! (Quick!)», shouted those who have jumped out from behind the road embankment, guns in hands. Vadim Pukhaev was a little over 20; he had been traveling in the truck body with other refugees. As soon as the shooting started, he got out. Here is his evidence: "When there was silence, I climbed back to the truck body to get my brother but no one's voice was heard. At first I thought that everybody in the truck was killed except me but my brother groaned as I lifted him; blood was all over his body. It was all over the truck body, too. I pulled my brother out of the truck and only then did I notice that he was wounded in the shoulder. Then, Tamik Chibirov, who was also wounded, blood all over him, jumped out of the truck. He was evidently in a state of shock. Shouting that we have been killed he started running towards the forest having left his wife and children in the truck. In a while, I helped another woman with a shot arm and another girl of 20 to get out of the truck. A white VAZ-2121 that had been following us was not far from the truck. There were 4 people there. Except one, Suren Tskhovrebov, everyone was killed".

A four-year-old Astemir Malkalov was saved from death by his mother who covered the boy with her body. Having been wounded in the legs, Astemir survived. The horrible sight of "the blood running out of Mummy's belly" has stamped in the boy's memory. At that moment, as well as 15 years later, he could not understand what his, or his mother's personal blame was. "What have I done to the Georgian people? What for did an eleven-year-old Bartadz Kabisov die? What did my mother give her life for? Is being Ossetians our only blame?", he was asking at the ceremony of opening a memorial to the victims of the Ossetians genocide at the place of the Zar tragedy.

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