Can Georgia Handle This?
23 May, 2013
Can Georgia Handle This?
We are used to handling minor social rifts as well as major political chasms in Georgia, but this does not mean that we are handling them right. Handling a problem adequately means to ask from us enough knowledge, skills and experience, compatible with the problem that we are intending to handle. Handling the problems of minorities is a new trend in this political culture. Citizenry of Georgia, having lived as part of a totalitarian soviet regime for 70 years, have never
experienced anything like handling lawful persistent demands of various groups of people, euphemistically called Constitutional Rights.
There were no minorities in the defaced soviet homogenous society. Nobody differed. We were all ‘equal’. Opinions were in unison and uniform. It is also true that almost a quarter of a century has passed since the fall of the soviet regime but, as it seems now, that amount of time was not enough for turning former soviet species into democratically minded people with modern humanistic values. In the former USSR, we did not know, for instance, that abortion was a political issue – not just medical. We had no idea that a certain prominent individual had a chance to come to power via real electoral process. We had no clue that persons of special sexual orientation could enjoy human rights as any of us might. An attempt of staging a gay parade the other day had a very slim chance in Tbilisi to have turned into a successful show of peaceful individuals albeit homosexual. The parade organizers had their fair and solid reasons to present their proteges to our seemingly tolerant but somewhat unpredictable public. The Georgian gay population was ready to make a lifetime statement about the freedom of choice and the constitutionality of their Modus Vivendi. But alas! The act had turned out to be premature and shockingly abortive. Violence followed and homophobia triumphed. The anti-gay-parade force consisted of the local clergy and the agitated crowed of young men whose main motivation for denying the right of self-expression to the gay part of our population was ‘illegality and irrelevance of the gay propaganda in Georgia’. The opponents of the gay manifestation maintained their own arguments which also deserved to be listened to – ‘we are not going to share the western values which are against high morality, healthy way of life, straight orientation of our youth and a demographic upheaval in the country’. Well, these kinds of thoughts might be quite acceptable and sharable in the West too. Who knows, it might be too early for Georgia to embrace the gay life style which is clearly conducive to legalization of gay marriage. Most of the Georgians are not prepared to adopt this kind of lifestyle. Period! Is this good or bad? I don’t know. Could be both – bad and good! Whatever the arguments are being thrown into the ‘Gay vs. Straight’ controversy, one thing is clear: violence does not pay. Violence is bad and should be punished. Gays have always been there in Georgia as in any other country. They are simply abandoning the closeted existence and opening up. The example of the West is certainly contagious, but the rejecting power in Georgia is also very strong. As a matter of fact, nothing outrageously tragic has happened – people differ in their opinions and way of life and they sometimes clash. Clash is certainly bad news, but the good news is that Georgia is capable of upholding the discussion of worldwide issues like gay life. Our esteemed friends in Europe and America, please refrain from immature conclusions about Georgia! Give us a chance – things are working out in favor of tolerance and democracy here. Georgia can handle it all in good faith.
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