I've prided myself since childhood on my knowledge of world geography. Imagine my chagrin, then, when I was perusing the BBC news headlines and thought a Harry Potter location had somehow broken into the Muggles world.
"Breakaway Abkhazia votes in poll," blared the headline.
Azkaban broke away from the world of wizards, I thought for just the briefest of brief moments. Then, just as quickly, I thought "What the hell is wrong with me?"
In the back of my mind I'm just like kids my grandchildren's ages -- and, truth be told, a lot of people my age and the ages of my grown children -- who are anxiously awaiting the final volume of Harry Potter's adventures to be released this summer. But, I really must get a grip and not let the mystical world rule my reality.
As any sane person knows, Azkaban is an eerie place that is located somewhere off the main British Isles, or not, and serves as the location for a high-security wizard prison in all the Harry Potter tales.
Abkhazia, on the other hand, is a region on the Black Sea that has been trying since a brief war in 1990 to secede from the Republic of Georgia. It now has held parliamentarian elections, much to the annoyance of the government of Georgia and the delight of the government of Russia which has been egging the Abkhazianerianites on because it has its own disagreements with Georgia.
Breakaway President Sergei Bagapsh, who seems to possess wizard-like powers since no one has shot him yet, said from the capital city of Sukhumki that elections being held in a state that has both an opposition party and a free press shows it's a self-reliant republic and not under anyone else's thumb.
No country recognizes Abkhazia's claims to independence but Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba, another breakaway official with nine lives, said, "Our objective is to show everyone that we meet modern European standards."
Azkaban, of course, is not looking to break away from anyone. It just wants to avoid breakouts.
ON THE WEB
• CIA World Factbook on Georgia
• World Atlas map and information page
• About Georgia
• A guide to Azkaban
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