Set against a backdrop of the dramatic Southern Caucasus, NGO is the story of a humanitarian aid mission during the 2008 conflict in South Ossetia, and a Russian military expedition to intercept a covert shipment of sophisticated American arms.
Dr Felicity Beauvoir stands on the bridge of the Maersk Intrepid as it docks at the port of Poti on Georgia’s Black Sea coast. The ship carries a cargo of humanitarian aid and the members of her team. Waiting on the dock is their chef de mission, Alan Steiger, the man she loves. Felicity hasn’t seen Alan in three years, since they were thrown together under harrowing circumstances in Iraq, right before he returned home to his wife and kids in the States.
Kapitan Garik Pavlovich of the Russian 58th Army’s 19th Motor Rifle Brigade commands a detachment of elite T-90 tanks. His mission is both audacious and dangerous, threatening to open the conflict on a whole new front, as he travels deep inside enemy territory via the mythic Mamison Pass. His biggest challenge though is to manage his bureaucrat passenger, Eduard from the SVR, Russia’s post-Soviet equivalent of the KGB.
Vaja Sidamonidze is a proud Mingrelian and a proud Georgian but he’s disappointed his country hasn’t reached its potential, stifled by the parochial and the self-interest of the opportunistic few. Vaja learned to drive a truck in the Soviet Army and after Perestroika, at the time of Georgian independence he found his place in the new free market world when he bought an ex-government truck and began his transport company. Vaja is forced to draw upon long forgotten soldiering skills to protect his compatriots and a group of foreigners as the raging conflict destroys his life’s work. But Vaja has already lost more than anyone could bear, for somewhere in Georgia’s seemingly interminable civil wars Vaja lost his only son.
Herb Tasker’s still a country boy at heart, despite having climbed the corporate ladder of a Fortune 500 company. Herb’s decided to give something back to society so now he works for a not-for-profit humanitarian aid organisation. However, Herb holds the secret to the tragedy unfolding around them.
NGO explores the tension between political, military and humanitarian aspects of conflict. Political failure, bureaucratic mismanagement, the dehumanising effect of petty bureaucracy, and the shortcomings of mass media reportage are all major themes. Underscoring it all is the personal human tragedy of conflict.