Living on the edge: An American voice in South Ossetia
RT: Many of our viewers know you through your interviews, but for those who don’t, can you explain how an American like yourself came to be in South Ossetia?
Mestas: My wife is from South Ossetia. We’ve been married almost 9 years now. And I’ve been traveling to South Ossetia over the past maybe 8 years. And, it’s a great place to be.
RT: You had to live through some very difficult moments last year when the war started. Can you describe it for us? When did you find out about the war? What was happening with your family at that time?
The following quotes by Joe Mestas are taken from our interview.
Born in Tampa, Florida, Joe Mestas is married to an Ossetian woman and has lived in South Ossetia for 9 years now. His wife and 6-year-old daughter barely escaped last year’s August war because they happened to be visiting relatives in the city of Djava, close to Russian-South Ossetian border. But war reached them even there when a Georgian fighter-bomber dropped a bomb just 150 meters from the house they were living in. As a result, Mestas’s daughter experienced a nervous breakdown and is terrified of airplanes to this day.
“Ossetians have been under aggression from Georgia for many years, since the genocide attempted in 1900s. They won’t go under the rule of Georgia… Saakashvili will not agree on South Ossetian independence. Saakashvili is mentally unstable, unpredictable liar that should be tried in an international court for his war crimes."
“I hope that international community would come to understand that the attempted genocide conducted by the Saakashvili regime outweighs any territorial integrity issue and I support South Ossetian independence 100%… I take my hat off to Russia for what it did last year. The international community said Russia used excessive force. What did you expect Russia to do? Come in with ten men and plastic guns? I think they should have gone further all the way to Tbilisi."
“I wish that the things I have to say will de reached in America and seen by more people because more people need to see the truth. They would probably contact their congressmen and senators to tell them quit sending money to Georgia and Saakashvili regime. Saddam Hussein was hanged for his part in killings of his own people. Last year Saakashvili was responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians, women and children in South Ossetia – and what punishment did he get? Billions of dollars of support from the international community.”