Someone Else’s War


They were born in Georgia and grew up here with other Georgian kids; they went to Georgian schools and learnt the Georgian language- they hardly knew any language other than Georgian; they even wrote poetry in Georgian and declaimed Georgian poesy while partying with their peers; they made traditional Georgian toasts and drank Georgian wine, claiming Georgia as their only motherland and swearing by its name and glory; they reminisced their dead, as Georgians do, when memories sallied forward as sacred images; they fell in love with their Georgian high school sweethearts and reared their kids in a purely Georgian way, just as they were reared by their parents; they recognized Christ, and, when worshiping Mohamed, they still cherished friendships with their Christian brothers and sisters; they were Georgians physically, mentally and spiritually. They still are. And while they are dying in someone else’s wars, they still bear in mind the land they loved and still love.

Today, 50 of these young men from Georgia have been recruited by the Islamic State to fight for their cause against the rest of the world. Some of them had, in the past, done their duty honorably to serve their motherland Georgia with weapons in their hands. Some were too young to be among the Georgian patriots in previous wars. Well, we all serve our own purposes and we are all called for and stand ready to defend the vested interests of our own countries. The Islamic State is probably acting in a similar fashion, but what bothers me is that the sons of Georgia, who have by birth been destined to fight their own wars when the crucial instant of belligerency would dictate, are now waging someone else’s war far from their native country.

Why are they doing this? Part of the explanation should be in the depths of the newest world order which often goes wrong out of hand against the will of piece lovers and makers. Not all is fair and smooth in the world to satisfy and sate us all. The inequality and misbalanced distribution of wealth is still the vice that bothers Mankind and forges weighty reasons for wars. There is no judgment in the pipeline of whether this is fair or unfair. The world is by inertia living the way it is living. Those who are extremely dissatisfied get extremely angry and the extreme anger builds up the extremes that make wars. Some think that those wars are fair, some qualify it as terror. Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict accumulate forces to defend their cause.

The flagrantly aggressive and decidedly belligerent Islamic State needs supporters and it operates a vast and powerful PR machine for recruiting purposes. The machine has been effective in Georgia, too, as it happens to be in the rest of the world. The Islamic State Armed Forces are more internationally-minded and organized than any well-known international body. They have fighters in their ranks from literally every part of the globe, including Georgia. And their warriors represent X-number of religions and ideologies, fanatically giving their lives to the Jihad cause. I will not offend them by means of using choice epithets like ‘brainwashed’ and ‘easily convinced,’ but I cannot refrain from describing these warrior Georgian kids as masterfully indoctrinated . . . at least.

But there must be other factors – besides ideological – that affect the decision of Georgian youth to fight on the side of the raging Islam and to readily spill their Georgian blood to salvage the truth they believe is irrefutably fair and strong. Could there be some socially-based streaks to the process, too? I suspect so!

How busy are the young men and women in those regions of Georgia? What are their chances of making careers at home? Can they be as functional as they would like to see themselves in the surroundings where they grow up? Do we have any idea how ambitious they are in terms of building their own lives? I am sure they hate to be dependent on their parents’ miserable fortunes and meager salaries or pensions. They dream wildly of being independent, and the sooner the better. Those boys and girls are falling in love with each other and they want to be married but the circumstances they are part of, by way of their regular living routine, does not allow a happy conjugal life.

The dire situation I hate to be describing here could very well be a weakness that the Islamic State is taking advantage of for recruiting Georgia’s sons, and daughters into the bargain, to widen and strengthen their ever militant forces. Meanwhile, we would all rather hear that our youth are serving Georgia’s national ideals rather than heading off to fight someone else’s war.

Nugzar B. Ruhadze

14 April 2016 19:57