Monday, July 27, 2009

South Ossetia (2)

The Ossetians and Georgians living in South Ossetia generally live in separate villages with only short distances between them. The next village up the valley from an Ossetian village will be often be a Georgian one. These people have lived in uneasy peace for a hundred years, despite their close proximity. The villagers will sometimes buy and sell from each other, but generally just get on with their live. Sometime a young man from an Ossetian village would fall in love with a girl from a Georgian village, causing anguish to their families. The modern Romeo and Juliet would have to decide might find themselves on the fringe of both their villages.

People can live in peace despite their different religion and different culture provided they are left to themselves. The problem comes when a state is established to control all of the villages. Democracy does not resolve the problem. If Georgian win a majority in the government, Ossetians will start to feel aggrieved. If the Russians gain control, the Georgians will feel oppressed. One culture always suffers, when the other is gets control.

Georgian and Ossetian villagers who have lived together in peace suddenly become enemies when they have to decide which cultural group should rule over everyone. They were quite happy to live close to people from a different culture, because they could ignore them most of the time. However, they were very clear that they did not want to get into a situation where that other group had control over them.

Most political commentators would say that religious or cultural differences are the problem. That is not true. Religious and cultural differences only become a problem, when people from different background are forced together in one state. The state is the problem, whether or not it is democratic, because it allows the winning cultural group to control all others.

Political authorities attempt to impose their control over an entire region. The state takes resources from some people and gives them to others. This will usually work in favour of the majority cultural group. Minority groups always end up feeling abused.

The solution is not to eliminate cultural and religious differences. Nobody really wants to be put dumped into a great melting pot. The solution is to get rid of the state. Then people of different cultures will be able to live in peace in their villages. The people of South Ossetia do not need the Russians or the Georgian governments to control them. Peace would be easier to obtain, if both government kept out. Meddling of western governments will not advance peace, because they always want to pick which side will control the entire area.

This same problem exists all over the world. People of different tribes and religions have live along side each other in many places. Colonial governments often put several these tribal groups together in one nation, where not nation existed. With independence, democracy gave one tribal group control of all the others. Oppression of other tribal and groups was inevitable and internecine war eventually followed.

The solution is not to eliminate tribal and religious difference. The problem is caused by the emergence of the nation-state during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The nation state is a system of control. The only answer is to get rid of the nation state.

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