Monday, August 11, 2008

What lies around the next corner ?

There is a Golden Rule, in covering war and that is "Believe a Sixth Sense" , you can be traveling down a road and a member of the team gets that gut feeling that "We should not be here!". Everyone else may feel fine and comfortable, prepared to a bit further down the road around the next corner.
The moment one member gets that feeling and voices that fear we turn around, no questions we turn.
Today Correspondent Steve Harrigan, Producer Anya Ardayeva, our driver Rez and I wanted to try and get as close as we can to the capital of South Ossestia "Tshkinvali" which is now in teh hands of the Russian Army after the Georgians tried to crush the separatists there. No crew has gotten in, some get close but it is an extremely dangerous area with one road in and who controls it can vary and checkpoints can spring up and be manned by Russians, Georgians or anyone who wants to set one up and there rule is law. And law is an AK47 at your head combined with Vodka at times.
The line between safety and danger is rather like drawing a line in the sand during on a very windy day, it shifts every minute and you are never sure where it lies. What was safe an hour ago could be deadly the next minute, it all depends on what lies around the corner.
Yesterday we went to the city of Gori, the birthplace of Stalin. Complete with the house he was born in and a statue in the town square dominates this city. Gori is about an hour from Tsibilsi the capital of Georgia. Yesterday it was quiet after a Russian jet had bombed the day before, and the pictures showed me in the ruins of an apartment block.
Today as we approached Gori, artillery guns were on the road overlooking the city, camouflaged with tree branches making them harder to spot from the air. In one of the few shops still open and running a bakery soldiers were carrying out trays of freshly baked bread and loading them into civilian cars to take to soldiers.
Our driver spoke with a few of them and they all assured us that the road we wanted to take was safe.

We left town to head to Tshkinvali, troops with artillery guns were hidden in the trees, then tanks under bridges and under the canopy of a grove. We stopped and hopped out of the car, walking over wanting to get some footage of the Georgian tanks, before I even lifted the camera up, the tankers indicated NO, we drove on out to the front

Six hours later ... Tabilisi nearly midnight

I wrote this much and basically .... the shit hit the fan

Russian troops are in georgia proper

Georgian troops are in disarray and have pulled back to defend the Capital Tabilisi where I am

A second front has opened in the West of the country Russian troops are in there

And i suppose my title stands , even without finishing the story

what lies around the next corner ?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr.James...You'll never know how much your blogs from Georgia are appreciated. We glean every grain of information we can from them. We get enough from this blog for a pretty good meal...or picture of what is going on with you and your crew. Our thoughts and concerns are with you all over there on the other side of the world, the not so nice side. Keep up your great work under bad circumstances, which is head and shoulders above all the rest of news reporting. And we will keep on reading and watching you all in action. War is hell..isn't it. And, Mr. James, just betweem us, we don't believe all those stories they tell about you and your camera fetish. Probably just jealousy.
A&N...waiting with much interest for your next Arizona USA