It was 24 years too late, but journalist and Peace Counts founder Michael Gleich couldn’t help thinking of the two Germanies. Near the city of Gori on the border between Georgia and Ossetia, a group of journalists asked what impression the border region made on him – a kind of impromptu press conference. He told their cameras and microphones that the sight saddened him, showing once again the fateful, long-term negative effects of violent conflict.
The war was over five years ago. But since then no one has traveled freely between the neighboring countries of Georgia and South Ossetia in the Caucasus. Georgia – like most other nations – regards South Ossetia as its own stolen territory, while Russia provides it diplomatic recognition and military support. The border is closely watched. Russian soldiers stand guard on the South Ossetian side.
The twelve young journalists’ visit to the border region and their researches among the local population were fieldwork: an exercise as part of their training in “Conflict-Sensitive Reporting” taking place in Georgia’s capital Tiflis. Michael Gleich participated in the workshop at the invitation of Georgia’s International Center for Conflict and Negotiation, introducing the participants to Peace Counts and presenting features on peace builders around the world as positive examples of constructive journalism.