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The Earley Edition has officially moved to My dot com, that is. Thanks for joining me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ethnic tensions

Russia's taken a bit of a beating by 'terrorists' in the last week or or so. Two planes, a car bomb in Moscow, and the latest attack on the school in Beslan. It's all a bit frightening, but I would still maintain it's not the norm, and it's not going to happen here anytime soon. When people start talking about ethnicity, think for a minute about who belongs to each 'ethnic' group supposedly involved in a conflict. Who defined those groups? Where do their ethnic boundaries lie?

Reporting the news is particularly difficult here. Do you take the time to report what happened, or why it happened? Often the why of an ethnic conflict is left out in the cold - explained away simply as decades-old, inbuilt, inevitable, tribal, or just the way 'they' are.

This attack on the school in Beslan is starting to be talked about as ethnic tensions between two local groups, the Ingush and the Ossetians. Before it gets away, you might be interested to read a brief article explaining the history between the two.

It will be interesting to see how it gets played by Russian President Vladimir Putin - as Ingush (Muslims who are apparently sympathetic to Chechens) and Ossetian (who identify themselves as Russian), or as part of the greater Chechnya v Russia conflict. There's going to be much larger ramifications for the town of Besla if ethnic Ingush are attacked and driven from their homes in large numbers. Unfortunately, as a part of that, we could see the hardening of any extremist tendencies amongst disaffected Ingush, which will only bolster Chechen and wider Islamic fundamentalist groups. It was called, in today's Australian I think, although I can't find it online right now, Russia's 9/11.

Putin is still determined to use force against Chechen separatists, refusing to talk to them; he must do something differently, and soon, if he hopes to stop attacks.

Some interesting, perhaps useful, story links:

the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 9/08/2004 12:33:00 am || || Return to Top