REEXAMINING ZVIAD GAMSAKHURDiA’S ROLE IN HISTORY IS NECESSARY
23 September, 2010
REEXAMINING ZVIAD GAMSAKHURDiA’S ROLE IN HISTORY IS NECESSARY

 

Circumstances of Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s tragic death will be explored. International information sources report that an ad hoc parliamentary commission will probe what happened to the first president of the post-communist Georgia.


The initiator of the project, opposition MP Jondi Bagaturia, leader of the Kartuli Dasi party, said the commission will include 11 members from across the political spectrum. Parliament voted 78-1 to establish the commission with the aim, according to Jondi Bagaturia, “to provide a legal and political assessment of

the overthrow of the first Georgian president and his tragic death under strange circumstances.” Lawmakers, members of the commission are yet to be selected. They will work for a period of three months.
The official version of Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s death is suicide, but people in Georgia, as far as I witnessed, do not believe it. Two bullet holes to the head contradict the possibility of a suicide, and Georgians do not accept the official version because Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a devout Georgian Orthodox believer and would never take his life. Too many people were interested in his death: He had too many enemies in Moscow, with stooges in Georgia. The aim of the commission is to learn the truth who perpetrated this horrendous crime. But, I hope, it will not stop on that. There is something very important to be done as well: To reexamine Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s place in history.


Each time when I come to visit my friends in Georgia I wonder why there is no monument to Zviad Gamsakhurdia. And why the street once renamed after him, the former Stalin Embankment, now bears the name of Geidar Aliev. What good did Aliev to Georgia, and why the fame of the Founder of Independent Georgia has been degraded rudely?


Visiting Mtatsminda Pantheon I see graves of two closest friends and collaborators who stood together to the very end and now rest in peace just yards away from each other, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava. I ask myself: Why a noble monument in the center of Tbilisi has been erected to Merab, and one of the best streets in the city bears his name, while his friend and brother-in-arms who led the struggle for independence is not honored in the same way in his city and in his country? There were wicked people who did their best to separate them from each other while they were alive: Are these crooks still successful?


You would not see books by and about Zviad Gamsakhurdia on sale, and his widow told me she could not find booksellers or vendors to distribute his autobiography, published outside Georgia, because nobody there would take up such a project. It seemed unbelievable to me, but when I spoke with some influential people in Tbilisi about the prospects of myself writing a book on Gamsakhurdia whom I had met and interviewed, they told me: The time is not good for such books. It is a controversial question still provoking clashes, and no publisher would risk producing it. Why? Is not Georgia a democratic country where one can speak out freely, even on controversial questions?
I deeply admire Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and I entitled my essay on him, published in a Georgian newspaper on the eve of his being elected, “President of My Dream.” After this great man was reburied in Tbilisi, I published in America recollections on him and extracts from my yet unpublished interview, and brought copies of this magazine to Tbilisi. A prestigious literary magazine accepted my essay, translated it into Georgian… but has never published it. Why?

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