Melting Pot of Georgia
23 February, 2012

 

As any other nation of today, Georgia could also be thought of as a miniature melting pot with Abkhazians, Armenians, Azeris, Byelorussians, Bulgarians, Estonians, Germans, Greeks, Jews, Moldavians, Ossetians, Poles, Russians, Turks and Ukrainians living, working and mixing together, but the question is if we are turning into a truly homogenous and harmonious society  as a result of our being stirred within the same crucible?

 

Let me fearlessly recognize that I am definitely inclined to use the privilege of entertaining certain amount of reasonable doubt here! One of the greatest reasons of this is the egregious lack of desire and sense of responsibility as well as the absence of a bluntly declared obligation to learn the Georgian language, saying nothing about the absence of commonality of the culture. I don’t of course mean sporadic overachievers who are ready to learn anything new, including the language of the country they dwell in.

Persons of various ethnic backgrounds living in Georgia carry a Georgian passport for identification and recognize themselves as Georgian citizens, but they will adamantly remain part of their own ethnic identity and culture, and ignore the necessity of learning the local state language. Moreover, when talked to in Georgian, they will fumble with a response in the still lingering Russian language. Doesn’t this sound weird? None of them will feel obligated to learn Georgian unless an occasional circumstance coerces them into doing so. You will not even hear the state language of Georgia in the regions of certain ethnic prevalence.

This does not help Georgia’s national significance and its unity, hurts national pride and is asking for a natural question – Why? This is all very serious but not the worst part of the situation. I am bothered mostly when both oral and written attempts are made to picture Georgia as a land of disintegrated multitude of ethnicities, speaking various languages and living in different cultural milieu. A couple of decades ago, the late Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov instigated – either deliberately or inadvertently – a serious indignation of the Georgian people by calling Georgia a little empire delineating this nation of multi-ethnical content in that disloyal and erroneous way for a learned man as he used to be.

Let Sakharov’s adherents, if there are any, know once and for all that Georgia is one nation under God with an extremely interesting gamut of indigenous customs, habits, arts, dialects and cuisine, speaking one language, sharing the same history, spilling the same blood for motherland when necessary, enjoying common culture, and talking to the rest of the world as a monolithic political entity, this all being nothing but the truth.

I have one quizzical comment up my long sleeve though, meant for ethnic Georgians to hear without failure – melting pot is a funny little place to be living, and there is nothing in there that can guarantee the survival and maintenance of Georgian ethnicity if this means anything at all for the future of this nation: Let us multiply exponentially! Nothing else will help. The more the better! The more we are, the bigger is a chance that other nationalities take up our language and immerse into our great culture completely. Nothing will matter if we wane away. Nothing will make sense if we are no longer around.

 

Other Stories
Our Posterity
Do we remember the celebrated text of the Preamble to the United States Constitution? Isn’t it amazing that it so accurately fits into the best political beliefs of the Georgian people? Listen to this slightly altered version of the Preamble, tailored on Georgia: We the people of SAKARTVELO, in order to form a more perfect republic, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...
Phrase-Mongering
I have always wondered if phrase-mongering was part of our national character and everyday life. A considerable number of good and nice people in this country are desperately carried away with verbiage. We love to talk without putting much meaning into the words and phrases we are using when communicating with each other at any age and on any level, including political. What matters most for us is to say something as if the main function of a word we utter is to serve as an emotional exhaust. We are saying something because we just want to say it. We just have a physical need to say what we are saying.
Which way to go?
Historical destinies of the Georgian people have it that we always stood at crossroads, looking around in fear and doubts about the painful geopolitical choices we had to make. A crossroad-mode of existence has persisted up until now, keeping us in abeyance interminably without a clearly-cut model of the nation’s future. The annals are pointing at only one historical period, called the “Golden Era” – in 11th and 12th centuries – when Georgia was a large powerful country, playing its significant regional and international role. At all other times, Georgia was torn apart between some great powers – holders of geopolitical reigns at this or that historical stage in the duration of more than two millennia.
Geopolitical Daydream
I am opening my eyes in one of these fine spring mornings and guess what – the TV set, in front of which I had fallen asleep the previous night, is still on, with my favorite anchor shoving the breaking news
Referendums... Plebiscites ...
Discontent prevails, dissatisfaction perseveres, displeasure persists, disgruntlement reigns and disapproval continues everywhere in the world. A sense of misery and desolation is more commonplace among humans than a feeling of bliss and delight – based on average global measurements. Not a single government of any country throughout history has ever performed to complete satisfaction of the governed. In this lovely world of direct, pure, representative, participatory, deliberative, mature, immature, partial, full, embryonic, developed or whatever sort of democracy, humans are more angered, annoyed and irritated at the performance of their elected, imposed or hereditary rulers than pleased, content and happily settled.
Russia vs. Humanity
Russia is today under huge stress if not in deep trouble. On a more generalized note, she has always been invariably worried and exasperated. This is Russia’s character, formed and tempered by her historical fate. Russia is used to a role of an unfair player in matters international. Otherwise, why has Russia been putting up with that much pressure and condemnation since she was shaped into statehood many centuries ago? How come that Russia has that much patience to listen to those unending disparaging comments in her address on the part of the rest of the world? Has Russia any serious reasons to reconcile herself with the massive unconcealed odium that is thrown on her big neurotic head from every direction?
Foreign Relations
Let us put it as trivially as we can – even a child in a nursery school today knows what Foreign Relations means. If we define it in a more or less quizzical way, Foreign Relations would connote the nations, rubbing up against each other in amicable or hostile circumstance, seeking as much benefit from one another as a particular situation would allow at the moment of interaction. Wow, what a perfectly comprehensive new definition, ready for entry into any reputable reference book on the subject.
Soviet Pattern Recurrence

When Putin said that the collapse of the USSR was the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century, he had probably wished to let the world know that he was regretful about the inevitable soviet calamity that had come about so instantaneously. Who knows, the tsar in democratic clothing could have been right. Looking back into the last twenty-five years of history, the momentous change in the life of the populous human conglomerate, called the Soviet People was indeed a disaster, which swept away the halcyon years of peaceful existence for otherwise demoralized and despondent experimental nation.

Minorities
Fair and right treatment of minorities by the nations of the world is one of the most pronounced features of our times, and one of the outstanding achievements too. Achievement yes, but not every nation has achieved the status of a fair-and-right handler of minorities in their own countries. I wonder where Georgia stands in this respect. Does this nation have a right sense of what Minority means? Are we reasonable enough a people to co-exist with minorities in our land lovingly and peacefully? Or are we still shrugging our shoulders and goggling our eyes at those who do not look, behave and feel exactly as the majority does?
To go or not to go
There cannot be more fun in the world than having a chance to attend Olympic Games – the most fascinating pastime, invented by man ever. Not everybody is lucky enough to have the pleasure of course. Some of us get an occasional chance though, like myself – I have had my felicitous Olympic moments a couple of times in the past. There is no way to disallow the opportunity of feeling part of the global Olympic family. The temptation is so big that you just pack up and take off to where the games are on, even if you are laid up with a tough case of pneumonia or bleeding ulcers in the stomach.
HOMILY
I love reading into the sermons of His Holiness . . . and not only reading – I usually listen in considerately and digest them meticulously. The sermons of his Beatitude are like a high-morality text-book reading matter, the modern Bible of itself, written and voiced with caring deliberation for the people of Georgia of various confessions and denominations. Speaking of those superb homilies, I cannot help mentioning that my breath was taken by the last Sunday sermon, delivered with strong sense of truth and civil determination. This excerpt – We love being liberated, we lack restraint, and we entertain excess in enjoyment, delight and grief – has impressed me to death.
Telling Right from Wrong
Even a child would know that life is full of right and wrong, but a child might not be aware that the balance between the two might determine how comfortable our life is. If right prevails, our life feels good, and if wrong preponderates, the life feels bad. Very plainly put, isn’t it? But sounds uncannily logical! I wonder what is more abundant in Georgia – right or wrong. As if I don’t know! And are we good enough to tell right from wrong when the difference is asking to be revealed? My bones and brains, and the guilty conscience are telling me that wrong is showing more viability and resilience here.
Making a Difference
Making a difference is a very difficult thing to achieve. Not everybody can make a difference. Only a chosen few can make a difference.
Celebrating Twice
I know what faith means, and I respect people’s sense of preference for religious belonging. I do not go to church, but that does not mean that I am an atheist. I was brought up as a nonbeliever but I would sooner say that there is God than not, although I am more inclined to respond undecidedly to the question about God’s existence, which probably makes me an agnostic rather than a convinced believer. Whatever I make out of my wretched self, I treat with an unambiguous respect any faith, any cult, any religion that man wanted to perpetuate in thousands of years that our civilization is counting. I was born into a communist’s family.
Resolutions 2014
The Christmas Day is much, much bigger in America than the first day of New Year. Christmas is everything with its sales, presents, feasts and family reunions – not as much in its religious content though any more. Sorry, but the Christmas and New Year commercialism has overpowered anything that is called faith. New Year in the States is something pointedly trivial, meaning nothing more than a start of the arriving New Year. People would even go to work in America if the 1st of January falls on a weekday. The only thing that makes a New Year meaningful in the United States is the New Year’s Resolutions.
Going Physical
Some might think that it should be a terribly big deal whether the politicians in Georgia box or wrestle publicly inside the premises of the legislative body, but I wish I were a professional psychoanalyst to better explain the fistfights, occurring from time to time in the Georgian parliament. It is so funny that these guys want to lick each other instead of sparring, making use of their smarts, if there are any, instead of their physical mass.
Restoration of Justice
This is today the most frequently used term in the Georgian media, in our political circles and on grass-roots level all over the country. Restoration of justice! I need to recognize that the term is absolutely overwhelming and multi-meaningful. Saying that justice needs to be restored means that we are voluntarily admitting that justice was not administered, in its own time, in the most appropriate way, and we are all part of that faulty social process.
Initialing the Future
The prevailing political sentiment in this Nation is that we are Europeans more than anything else – looks, manners, tastes, thoughts, aspirations . . . But certain patterns of our culture and social behavior would still make a looker-on think that part of us is Asian, which does not mean at all that Georgia should give up on dreaming of fulltime economic and political integration in the European Union, which is Georgia’s final address and ultimate destination. EU is our future! And that future has already been initialed in black-and-white, officially, right in front of the entire world, including the teeth-grinding Russians. Oops! I am sorry Russia! Congrats Georgia! Shame on you, Ukraine! What’s wrong with you, man? Why are you scared that much?
Who are we after all?
I mean, who are we Georgians, in principle? What sort of phenomenon are we? I know that we are a people, a nation, a country. . . that much I know, of course. What gives me a feeling of discomfort and puts me at a loss is the ceaselessly nagging question of what kind of people, nation and country we are.
It is well known and widely recognized that we usually impress others with our national character, which they say resembles ‘Mediterranean,’ if this kind of classification could be considered philosophically justifiable at all.
Fifth Inauguration
Four presidents and five inaugurations! Not much, ha! And still, the history is made, the history of democratically organized Georgia - young, trying and scrambling. Presidential inaugurations are important... to a certain extent, and they are only done to formalize the results of elections thereby. Inaugurations should not be allowed to shatter the life in the country and to paralyze traffic in the capital city; they should be compatible with the country’s size and international weight and power; they cannot be overly expensive, bothering and extravagant; and they have to make certain constructive political sense. I think we have every reason to say that the fifth presidential inauguration in Georgia was compatible with all those parameters and demands.
Presidential Palace
It was built as a presidential palace of Georgia. And money was spent on it – the taxpayers’ money. A lot of money! What happened after is very much in the Georgian political tradition – eradicating both good and bad that are connecting us with previous governments! I would definitely get rid of anything that is in our people’s way to be better off, but I would not bother to reject the things that might still be helpful even if those things are inherited from erstwhile authorities. The palace that was built in Tbilisi as a presidential office and residence looks gorgeous and I thought it could serve our state as the White House has proudly been serving the people and the government of the United States of America in a very long time.
First lady
The ardent and extended talk in media, and beyond, about First Lady and her role in our society is clearly symptomatic. It is an indication that Georgia has matured as a working democracy and it is firmly on its way of westernizing itself for real.
Are two heads really better?
Georgia now has a new President which is good. Or is it? Our democratically organized state has followed a couple of existing western examples to build its democratic statehood. We have not based it on only European or only on American political paradigms. Our constitution has borrowed bits from here and bits from there, and finally we received something good enough for our modern national state to proceed with its development successfully, but I don’t think the model is optimal and rational enough for turning Georgia into a functioning strong democracy.
Leaders, leaders, leaders...
I have said this many times, and I am saying it again... Georgia is a classic example of a country whose most valuable production is a leader as such. It is the most popular commodity we have ever created industrially. We produce leaders. That’s what we do! We are the most prolific nursery of leaders in the entire human world. All of us are leaders – the entire nation!
New ways, New means...
Georgia is a republic – socialist, presidential or parliamentary – whatever! Georgia is a democracy – unreal, partial or transitional – who cares! Georgia is a state – ancient, modern or futuristic – why to bother? Georgia is a territory – whole, split or undefined – when to get a clue? Georgia is a terra firma – steady, tremulous or shaky – where to get the idea?
GJ Editor's comment
17 April, 2014
Do we remember the celebrated text of the Preamble to the United States Constitution? Isn’t it amazing that it so accurately fits into the best political beliefs of the Georgian people? Listen to this slightly altered version of the Preamble, tailored on Georgia: We the people of SAKARTVELO, in order to form a more perfect republic, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...
Also on the Web
Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili appeared in a video conference from the USA that marked the opening of a library built in Georgia by his initiative.
Elimination stage of Ukrainian “Voice” show is complete and contestants have taken their places on the ring. Ani Lorak, the trainer, pitched a Georgian singer Megi Gogitidze
This recording was made by a rear dash-cam in Tbilisi and was posted on a Facebook page “Meet the Terrible Drivers”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been taught how to DJ, during the latest part of their royal tour of Australia.
How do passers-by in Tbilisi react to seeing a man in need of assistance?
“A Georgian woman has always been the cornerstone of her family and even in times of emancipation, she should be able to adhere to this role
On April 21, yet another episode of Georgian “X-Factor” was aired. Salome Tetiashvili, a 19-year-old singer known to the Georgian public via the internet, made an appearance.
Operatives of Tbilisi’s MIA detective branch conducted an investigation, as a result of which 47-year-old Zaal I. was apprehended on the grounds of illegal possession of large amounts of narcotic
Mikheil Saakashvili celebrated Easter with Georgians living in New York. Footage uploaded to the ex-president’s Facebook account show Georgian emigrants partying in one of the clubs.
Irakli Pirtskhalava, a Georgian singer performing in Russia, spent his Easter holidays in Georgia.
GEL Exchange
EUR
1
EUR
2.4270
USD
1
USD
1.7564
GBP
1
GBP
2.9560
RUB
100
RUB
4.9229