Stockholm Syndrome
25 November, 2010
Stockholm Syndrome

Mancho Ekliani
I like Russian language. Kill me but I like it a lot. I studied it in school. I almost flunked the written exam, but I loved reading Lermontov in Russian. I still read whatever fiction books I can find in Russian. There is something about reading Bulgakov in Russian that just doesn’t make it into English translation. Same goes for a German Translation of Chavchavadze - it just doesn't hold a candle to the original Georgian.
I have

no political motivation for speaking out for the language. I am as opposed to the current Russian Government as any IDP could be. My blood boils when they use this beautiful language to spew hatred towards my country. But I recognize that they are not speaking the language of Gogol or Dostoyevsky. They have made up their own language full of lies, corruption and hate; and in some cases, I frankly suspect, pure psychosis.  
Most people in Georgia in their thirties can tell a difference between Korney Chukovsky and Sergei Lavrov, even if Russians can’t. So why not separate the Megalomaniac who wants to cleanse the world of all Georgians from 'Doctor Aybolit' a nice doctor who cures every creature in need? We need to have a line drawn where Megalomaniacs are not allowed to cross over and spoil a poem for little children called 'Telephone'. 
Last week BBC's Tom Esslemont reported about English language taking over Russian as the first foreign language in Georgia. Of coarse that’s not it at all. When Russian language ruled in Georgia, Russia had taken over Georgia and instituted itself as the master of the land, making Russian language compulsory. Study of English language had come about quite differently. Even thought some die-hard Russian-loving Georgians with Stockholm Syndrome will disagree, America did not fight a war to take over Georgia. English is not a language of a former master. At least it isn’t for Georgians. India and many other countries might disagree.
One of the teachers in the BBC interview Lisa Marillo pointed out that after learning Russian, the students would only be enhancing their knowledge by learning a language which, let’s face it, would open up different doors than knowledge of Russian language would.
As a friend’s daughter recently told me, she was excited to learn English. She had personal motivation because she wanted to understand lyrics of some popular American and British Songs. She also confessed that it was simply easier to study English than Russian. It’s true. Given the chance to study French or Chinese (Mandarin), I chose French. I wasn’t thinking about the future and how useful it will be to know Mandarin. I just thought of 'Three Musketeers' and how much I wanted to learn the language of Alexandre Dumas. Besides which French is hands down easier to study than Mandarin. But as my grandfather once said, “The easy way out is not usually the best way out.” He first said this in Megrelian, a language I don’t speak. My other grandfather said it in Svanetian, and I was more confused than ever. Shame, I felt shame.
So why did I stop at French and refuse to take up Mandarin? Is it impossible to learn more than two languages? Why haven’t I learned my own ancestral languages? The Dutch do it, the Swiss do it, and if they are capable of keeping five languages in their heads; so should we. We should be able to learn English and have a choice of leaning other foreign languages. Russian language should not be judged by the terrorists who hold it for ransom, but by the free people who love and praise it.                
Knowledge is power, in any language, and we need all the power we can get.


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