Conflict in Georgia: Is there an end in sight?August 12, 2008
Five years ago I took a course entitled “Russia in Crisis.” At that time we were discussing the Georgian conflict. When I read the headlines on Russia and Georgia now, I can’t help but think, still? After years of bombs, tanks, and soldiers there has been no resolution. Call me an idealist, but when combat hasn’t solved anything over this amount of time, it is time for concessions and negotiations.
The violence has caused a mass exodus of people from Southern Ossentia, the current center of conflict in Georgia. The United Nations refugee agency states that approximately 100,000 people have been uprooted from the area. As mentioned in a previous blog, research shows that women are disproportionately vulnerable during war and disasters because of factors related to gender discrimination. The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children notes that the neglect of reproductive health during emergencies is particularly concerning for refugee women. The lack of support and aid regarding the issue leads to serious consequences, such as preventable maternal and infant deaths, unwanted pregnancies and subsequent unsafe abortions, and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS.
As someone who has lived their entire life in the United States, I can’t imagine what life is like for these women as their families, friends, and homes are torn apart by constant violence and warfare. As the opposing factions and governments engage in political struggles, it is the civilians of the area that are truly paying the price for the conflict. I hope that soon the dominant powers will be able to overlook politics and strive for reconciliation on behalf of people who are simply looking to live their lives in peace.
Look here to find out how you can help refugees in dire need of food, shelter, water, and safety.