‘I will endure it together with my people but where is the limit?
09 June, 2011
‘I will endure it together with my people but where is the limit?

Interview with Luka Kurtanidze

“I feel more pain in my heart than in my body,” said to us Luka Kurtanidze, the World Champion, who was scandalously abased by the Special Forces on Rustaveli Avenue.

A: I was one of those protesters who went through the 26 May horror. My skull is broken in several places. No place on my body was left uninjured. Yet, physical abuse and bashing on the head can be endured but the verbal abuse that all of us experienced is something more ominous and unbearable. When the Special Forces were approaching the Parliamentary building, I was standing on the mobile stage together with the Popular Council leaders. When the crackdown started, I left the stage. The human wave threw me inside the Rustaveli theatre. I do not want to recall what happened there.

Q: Nino Burjanadze told me that Luka Kurtanidze was called out by name by the Special Forces and then beaten with extreme cruelty.

A: That’s true. It seems to me, they bore a grudge against me. I don’t know why. I went through hell that night. I would not have believed in my wildest dreams that such a thing – my compatriot harassing me in my own country - could ever happen to me.

Q: Still, what did you endure?

A: When you are threatened with a weapon and ordered to freeze so that two hundred men could jump at you and beat you, what would you feel? I am perplexed why they buried me alive, why so much aggression? They were bashing me with iron clubs with all their strength. I got beaten purposefully ten times heavier than the rest of the people there. Then they handcuffed me only to bulldoze me all over again. After that, they – unmasked guys - took me to the Freedom Square. If not for them, masked guys outside could have beaten me to death for sure and thrown me on some roof or into the Mtvkari River as they did to a number of other protesters. From the Freedom Square they sent me to the Police Department. There I met normal people, who somehow remembered that I still did something good for the country – and others, whom I will not forget for exceptional harassing treatment. I wonder where they got such hate and cruelty from. I used to glorify my country abroad, did not I? When the hymn of my homeland was played, tears would come to my eyes… I just pity them because they are so cruel. So much hate will destroy and poison their lives. No one lives in peace after committing such sins and showing such cynicism. God saw how they treated me. I did not deserve it. But it seems they were fulfilling the order of somebody else to punish me, leaving no intact part on my body. Till today I am on psychotropic mediations and sedatives. I saw blood-covered people being beaten without mercy.

In the Police Department one officer ripped my clothes in tethers, while I was handcuffed, insulted me verbally and then happily took pictures next to me. I could not understand why he was so happy – because of my misfortune and my humiliation? Who was he going to show those pictures, to his own children or relatives? On seeing me in ripped clothes, the famous Georgian actor and producer Soso Jachvliani took off his shirt to cover me. They transported me to the court half-naked.

How could you blaspheme somebody and call him a traitor when he has devoted himself to his homeland? Betrayal of one’s own homeland is worse than death for me. They’d better shoot me instead of calling me a traitor. God forgive them for everything.

I am grateful to the Patriarch, for he invited me. He blessed and caressed me. He told me that I was the man who brought one of the happiest moments to Georgia and called me a hero. His words strengthened me - or else I was about to start thinking bad things after facing such hate and cruelty. Two days ago I managed to get up, stand on my feet and go outside to see people. It is love and sympathy of my compatriots that makes me sustain some hopes after all.

Akaki Minashvili, member of the Parliamentary Majority seems to have called me to leave Georgia. If everybody leaves this Eden, who would take over it? I was through the war and other calamities, at some point subsisted on mere bread but never thought of abandoning my motherland because for me it would be equal to betrayal. So, I will not leave my country now. I do not want warm office chair. Nor I seek to become a politician. I only want us Georgians to live decently. Is it the reason why I am viewed as a traitor? If the Georgian nation likes this situation and the rule, I will endure it together with my people but where is the limit?