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Abkhazia's archive: fire of war, ashes of history

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Uploaded on Nov 30, 2008

To whom it may concern,

In addition to the many unspeakable tragedies of the Balkan wars, one act of cultural vandalism caught the world's attention, as it happened as the world's cameras were trained on Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was the destruction of the Library of Sarajevo, which stored manuscripts and other documents recording the multi-cultural heritage of the state, at the end of August 1992. With help from libraries and cultural organisations around the world, many of the losses were made good in the post-war years of reconstruction.

Two months after the Sarajevo library was left in ruins, similar deliberate acts were perpetrated in another part of Europe in a war which was never the centre of media-attention, though the consequences of the war resurfaced in August 2008 with Russia's recognition of the Republic of Abkhazia in Transcaucasia. Georgian troops entered Abkhazia on 14th August 1992, sparking a 14-month war. At the end of October, the Abkhazian Research Institute of History, Language and Literature named after Dmitry Gulia, which housed an important library and archive, was deliberately torched by the invaders, who were bent on destroying the documentary evidence that proved Abkhazians' residence in their historical homeland; also targeted was the capital's public library. Though help to restore the losses has come from institutions and private donors in Russia, no further assistance has been offered by the wider international community. The short film you are about to watch is designed to alert the world to this cultural loss and thereby to encourage all in a position to do so to make the kind of help described above for Sarajevo available also to Abkhazia.

http://circassianworld.blogspot.com/2...

For more information & contact: info@circassianworld.com

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Abkhazia's archive: fire of war, ashes of history

by Thomas de Waal

The documented history of the cosmopolitan Black Sea territory of Abkhazia was destroyed in war on 22 October 1992. Its Greek archivist is conserving what little remains, reports Thomas de Waal.

http://www.opendemocracy.net/democrac...

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Abkhazia: Cultural Tragedy Revisited

An archivist reflects on the destruction a decade ago of a priceless record of Abkhazia's cosmopolitan past.

By Thomas de Waal in Sukhumi (CRS No. 122, 28-Mar-02)
http://www.iwpr.net/?p=crs&s=f&am...

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UNPO Abkhazia Report, November 1992, b. Human Rights and Cultural Destruction

http://www.unpo.org/downloads/AbkGeo1...

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Origins and Evolution of the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict, by Stephen Shenfield

http://www.circassianworld.com/Geo_Ab...

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Soviet Abkhazia 1989, Facts and Thoughts by Viktor A. Popkov

http://www.circassianworld.com/Popkov...

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A chapter from Sam Topalidis' book; 'A Pontic Greek History'

Note 2.3 Ascherson (1,1995, pp. 253-4), describes how the State Archives building was destroyed during the civil war in Abkhazia.

One day in the winter of 1992, a white Lada without number-plates, containing four men from the Georgian National Guard, drew up outside. The guardsmen shot the door open and then flung incendiary grenades into the hall and stairwel. ... Sukhum citizens tried vainly to break through the cordon and enter the building to rescue burning boks and papers. ... The archives also contained the entire documentation of the Grek community, including a library, a collection of historical research from all the Grek villages of Abkhazia and complete files of the Grek language newspapers going back to the first years after the revolution.

Please note that this story was previously quoted in Agtzidis (Jan 1994). Agtzidis (1994) states on page 27 that, Kharalombos Politidis witnessed the catastrophe described above. Clogg (1999) add that these irreplaceable documents for around 45 Greek communities in Abkhazia included the only complete set of the Pontic Grek newspaper Kokinos Kapnas. This story is distressing, since records of my parent's families in Yiashtoha and Portch, near Sukhum could be lost forever.

''A Pontic Greek History'', by Sam Topalidis, 2007 - Australia - p.140

http://circassianworld.blogspot.com/2...

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