Posted at 6:18 PM on August 15, 2008
by Sanden Totten
This week we talk with someone living in Tbilisi about how the conflict with Russia is changing the Georgian national psyche. We also give you the straight story on how the U.S. government plans to cut the cost of college. We'll tell you about a sad new trend in the workplace and an analysis of the Olympics . . . and the unintelligible stylings of Bela Karolyi.
My name is Medea Kikabidze-Beal, I am of Georgian origin residing in Oakland, CA for seven years together with my American husband, John Beal and our daughter Magdalen. I am a U.S. State Department's Interpreter and when this war started in Georgia I was in Iowa working for IRIS, Inc. with the group of Georgians visiting U.S. with the community connection program.
Mr. Sanden Totten from your radio contacted me with the request to find a potential Georgian candidate for the interview in Tbilisi, which I did, but apparently it turns out that you decided to interview not Georgian (but surprisingly with Georgian name with obvious British and NOT Georgian accent with flawless English, who doesn't even know where the center of brutal events of this war, town of Gori is situated. On your wrong question he answers wrongly). Gori is NOT located anywhere near Russia, it is in the heart of Georgia, which doesn't have any relationship with Russia neither geographically nor economically. You are reporting about the war in a sovereign independent country invaded by russians for the whole state of Minessota, listeners of which most likely haven't ever heard of Georgia before, but now when the whole world talks about this war you are misinforming your listeners broadly by saying that Georgia is in Central Asia. If you don't know the geography, at least you could ask someone who does, not to mention wikipedia or any other internet sources. Georgia is a democratically developing European Orthodox Christian country located in the mountains of Caucasus in between of Black and Caspian Seas hundreds of miles west from Central Asia. Not everybody can know everything, but I think for a journalist, who claims to be an unbiased mediator between listeners and events happening in the world it is a shame to report unchecked information.
Dear Ms. Kikabidze-Beal,
My name is Andro Dadiani, and I am indeed Georgian - lived in Tbilisi for 33 years (less the few years I spent in the grad. school in US).
As a matter of fact, during the interview I did give the correction to Jeff's comment about Gori being a Northern town, however the explanation didn't make it to the edited version of the show.
As for my British accent or the flawless English (which, by the way, I learnt at Tbilisi State University) - that's a real compliment to my British-trained professors.
Also, trust me that I do know well where the "brutal center of this war" is, as well as the depth and scale of the brutality - and I know it not from the media coverage.
If you wish to communicate with me further, you are welcome to contact me at email@example.com.
Thanks to you both for your comments. Andro did, in fact, correct my question about Gori when I asked it -- we apologize that in editing that segment his correction was lost. That error was ours, not his.
And I appreciate the correction on the reference to Central Asia. Georgia's located in kind of a tough spot to define -- there's no easy "blanket" term for that part of the world. As you say, "located in the mountains of Caucasus in between of Black and Caspian Seas" might be the best we can do. "The Caucusus" might be a good way to go, but for most Americans unfortunately that's not an easy reference.
Our assumption was that "Central Asia" might help listeners quickly place events, but you're 100% right that Georgia falls outside what it typically defined as Central Asia. (For what it's worth, it's an error that Marketplace -- via NPR -- has made as well.)
We'll correct it with a note in next week's show.