"Father returned for mother ... then the bomb landed …”
10 August, 2018
"Father returned for mother ... then the bomb landed …”
10 years on, this is a different August. But this month is a time of remembrance and of hard memories and hurt. On the 8th of August, 2008, at 9:00 am. Russian bombers appeared in sky above Gori. The first air attacks were on the Verkhovs settlement. The sound of the explosion ... people running away from houses engulfed in flames.

Zviad Razmadze was at home with his 7-year-old son and seven months pregnant wife, Maka. The power of the explosion
was so fierce as to jam the door of their apartment preventing them from getting out. So Zviadi put his son on his back, then climbs from the balcony of the third floor apartment and down the natural gas pipe into the yard where he then hides his son in the garage.He told him:

"Stay here, do not go anywhere, I will go and get your mum and we will leave this place…”

This is the last thing his father ever said to him. When his father started to climb up the pipe again, more shells fell onto the Razmadze's building.
Zviadi’s body fell from the 3rd floor balcony .... Later his brother Zaza finds the body of Zviadi and the scene of the Razmadzes' tragedy became a symbol of the August war. This photo shocked the world.

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Razmadzes' Tragedy - Symbol of the August war

Before…
Seven months pregnant Zviad'swife Maka had been crying for help from inside the flat. Neighbours, managed to break down the door and get her to an ambulance ... An urgent operation was conducted in Gori military hospital, but Maka Mesropashvili who was 27 years old, tragically died...

The power of the explosion threw 7 years old Ditointo the air. Aneighbour found him and took him to Gori hospital, where his dead parents were ... The wounded child survived.

The second hero of the war and in the iconic photo of Zaza Razmadze, was Zviadi's brother He subsequently died from an electrocution accident in 2014. Years have passed and the mother of Zaza and Zviad Razmadze now recalls that tragic day in an interview:

“We left Eredvi in 1993. We managed to buy a flat. Zaza and Zviadi worked together in Prophylaxis ... On the 4th of August , Zviadi sent me, with my grandchildren to Tbilisi to see my sister. At that time there was no danger in Gori. Then Zaza called me and said that there was some unrest and asked us not to return there. He said that he would sleep in the carriage Zviadi and his wife and son would go to the village of Kheltubani, to his mother-in-law’s.

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A Russian fighter jet fires on a Georgian position near Tskhinvali, Photo courtesy: http://archive.boston.com

On the 8th of August, I talked to Zviadi at about 12 o'clock. I could see what looked like my house burning on the TV. I could not believe it and convinced myself that it was not mine. It was even announced that a pregnant girl was killed in the apartment. My daughter-in-law, Maka, was 7 months pregnant, but I did not think it was her. I was convinced that they were with Maka's parents.There were four pregnant women in my apartment block at the time and I was crying. I did not know which of them had died. When Zaza went passed the building and saw it burning he rushed into the block, even though it was on fire ... looking for family members… He recognized his dead brother’s colorful t-shirt and almost went crazy. Maka was alive at that point. She was taken to the hospital, but lived only four hours. Before she died, she asked where is Zviadi? Please take care of Dito. "

“I lost an uncle 4 years ago…”
Dito is now 17 years old and lives in the village of Keltubani in the Gori region. He has never spoken about this tragic incident. After the war, for the first time he broke his silence to "Kviris Palitra" and recollected the day that took away his parents and childhood dreams.

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Residents of Dzuarikau throw gifts of food to Russian soldiers, Photo courtesy: http://archive.boston.com

Dito Razmadze
: "We were at home when the bombing started. My father brought me down from the balcony via the gas pipe in the yard . He put me in the garage and then returned to rescue my mother ... then another bomb dropped ... I do not remember much more ... I spent three months in the clinic.

I do not want to look at my home again. My grandmother and grandfather looked after me after the death of my parents. We do not talk about my mother and father, but they are always in my thoughts.The most difficult days are the holidays, their birthdays, the date of their deaths, Easter...

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A car passes as fire engulfs the woods near the Georgian town of Gori, Photo courtesy: http://archive.boston.com

Foundation "Iavnana" helped me very much. Every year I used to go abroad for summer schools. There I had a chance to learn and go on excursions. After the war, the shrapnels were left into my head, I was in terrible pain. All the procedures and medicines were funded by the Foundation and it still continues.

I lost my uncle 4 years ago. Electricity struck. He was attempting to set up a trade booth and tragically died. Now I'm in the 12th grade. I would like to take up aviation training abroad. Hopefully, it will work out. "

It is also hard for Dito's grandparents to remember that day still. Time cannot repair pain, on the contrary, it becomes even more severe...

Amiran Mesropashvili, Maka's father: " When bombardment started, my daughter and my son-in-law were with us, their apartment was in the military building and they got scared because of bombardment. My son-in-law decided to got to  there. Then I went back to my daughter and asked where she was going to. Maka was seven months pregnant, and answered me that she would be with her husband in all case.

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Maka and Dito

The next morning I called her and she told me that Zviadi was making preparations and they would come to us. Shortly, after that conversation,an explosion was heard. I looked and could see their house was burning ... Within a few minutes his brother Zaza arrived. When he learned that Zviadi and Maka were still in the house, he went away shocked. I immediately went to them as well. When I reached there, I saw my son-in-law was dead. Their flat was engulfed in flames. I learned that Maka was taken to hospital. When I came to the clinic, I went to the operating room. Three hours later I was told that she had died. Firstly, I brought my son-in-law to my house, and then Maka. Unfortunately, the unborn child did not survive either . My grandson was also hospitalized. Due to the explosion ,Dito was away from the building and that’s what saved him. He had injuries to his head, limbs and back"

When Gori and the villages were abandoned, Mesropishilis were mourning the deaths of Zviadi and Maka… The next day, the bodies were rushed to the village cemetery, and buried quickly.

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Georgian villagers evacuate near the city of Tskhinvali, Photo courtesy: http://archive.boston.com

Amiran Mesropashvili: "The dead were buried the next day. I was afraid not to leave them unburied. There were only five people left in the village. They excavated a tomb and then I made a sigh of Forgiveness and went to Tbilisi.

I was the father of four children. Now I cannot pay attention to my children, Dito has no parents and I do everything for him. My daughter was a wonderful person and I was proud of her. Even today, wherever we mention her name, all remember her with love.

August is the most difficult for us. I am still working there and I look at my daughter’s and son-in-law’s house even now. The winter supplies - compotes, cans and jams made by my daughter are still untouched in the basement. They are where Maka left them ten years ago."

On the last home of Zviad and Maka, a few years ago, peach tree grew. Both of them loved this fruit especially. Now their tomb is overshadowedby fruit-filled peaches…

Nino Mesropashvili, Dito's grandmother: "My first child was Maka and my first grandson was Dito. When I went to the hospital, I did not go in.I felt that I already knew what the results would be. I knew we would not have Maka as well after Zvadi. I remember horrible shootings - wounded were brought ... I helped as I could. Then I learned that I did not have Maka anymore. She was expecting a second son. My son-in-law was very happy, to be a father of two boys…

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Georgian soldiers walk in Gori, Photo courtesy: http://archive.boston.com

Dito always asks me, when will I take off my black clothes and stop mourning?! I cannot bear tears in my eyes. But I answer: that I will take off the black clothing at his wedding and I will be very joyful... I will definitely keep my promise.

They say, time is a healer ... However, missing them is worse and more severe.I enter into my daughter’s apartment of my daughter very rarely,and only in extreme need. Neither I, nor Dito want to go there. I hope that I will be the last mother to lose a child.”

P.S. Dito is the son of war. Before he was born, Samachablo's war exiled him from Eredvi, and then the August war left him an orphan. Dito is often seen by the grave of his parents, under the shadow of the floral peach tree ... He is a child of war ... a child of the August war ... time, when the fighting is over, we can call peace. Peace is a time to cease firing and avoid killing , but the war for Dito's family is not over.There is a fear of peace and war alike. War ended in 2008, but the family’s struggle continues with the memories of their loved ones ... Dito? Dito knows that he must carry the status of a child of war with honour ... and should become the man his parents dreamed of …

Related stories:

The win dedicated to the Georgians who died during the 2008 conflict

The World talks about the 2008 war

The 10th anniversary of the 2008 war through a young graphic designer’s eye

"August War 2008" – Photo exhibition dedicated to fallen journalists
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