Although it only lasted five days, for the displaced civilians the conflict in South Ossetia was a big war.
In the village of Zemo Nikosi, less than two kilometers from South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali, burnt-out houses remain uncleared, and the town’s residents are still fearful. “The situation is very bad and we are afraid,” said one resident. “I pray to God that we will not see again the things that we saw. I am a 75 year- old woman, my time is nearly up, but I feel sorry for the young people who are here now. I hope that they will not see the horrors there have been in the past.” The Georgian town of Gori was bombed and occupied by Russian forces. Residents say that hope sustains them. “Of course, we need peace,” said another resident. “It is vital for the future of our children. We do not want to go through again what we have experienced. We have to hope because without it we could not go on. We have to hope.” Both Russia and Georgia blame each other for the conflict. In Georgia’s capital Tblisi, resentment of the Russians is ever present. “The Russians try to show everyone that Georgia is aggressive, Georgia is not stable and also to show everyone that Russians are just peacekeepers and they care about peace.” But the 26,000 displaced people who still live in temporary housing in Georgia are not interested in pointing fingers, they just want stability and peace.