Empty land, Promised land, Forbidden land
Empty land, Promised land, Forbidden land is the result of four trips together with writer Arnold van Bruggen between 2007 and 2013 to the tiny country of Abkhazia. Abkhazia is isolated, ruined, and seemingly without ambition. The country broke away from Georgia after a short, violent civil war in ’92-’93 and was recognized as independent in 2008 by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the atoll of Nauru. The story is particularly tragic for the thousands of refugees who fled in the early nineties and have little prospect of returning. We visited the refugees in Georgia and described the attempts made by the Abkhazian government to repopulate the empty, war-ravaged country with new immigrants.
“I want to think, do, and dream Abkhazian. But I often think and dream in Russian and many of our traditions have been lost.”
“We need the courage to look forward, not to look back so much”
There’s an ongoing crusade against Abkhazia. It’s as if the Cold War mentality still prevails
“Georgia can’t give up Abkhazia, just like you can’t give up your liver.”