Word ‘Occupation’ in European Resolution
27 January, 2011
Word ‘Occupation’ in European Resolution

A young woman stands in front of the police cordon. All the way back, luggage and furniture are being chaotically thrown inside trailers. The woman swallows tears and utters downheartedly: ‘We cannot go back because my mother is buried here and I ought to stay. I had to abandon my father’s grave in the land of my childhood. Our one-year-old boy has to be treated in intensive care unit often because of his illness. When he gets sick in Tsintskaro where

shall I take him for treatment?’ In front of Georgian Parliament young parents are standing and hugging their shivering children and shiver themselves too, for want of warmth. The third – smallest - child hides behind the father’s feet peeping out from there at the camera. These pictures are not fruits of somebody’s imagination. They are for real. It’s the episode of Georgian IDPs evicted from their homes in the midst of winter cold. Many questions demand answers. Why now, why in mid-winter? Why do it so unexpectedly, clumsily and cynically? We talked to expert Gia Khukhashvili on this and other significant events of the past week:

Q: I dubbed all these as big persecution. Why do you think the Authorities resorted to such grossly unpopular measures?
A: I think it would not be exaggeration if we say that these poor people are not seen as humans. What we saw was unimaginable cruelty and cynicism. Even if these actions somehow tally with a common sense and logic, the way it is done is ugly.
Q: These actions were observed by the EU monitors, opposition and of course, Georgian public. But even an international opinion seems to be disregarded…
A: I also saw those people in the EU uniforms on a web site. Frankly, I am not quite sure if they really were European representative. Perhaps, somebody wants to make the public think that everything is alright and done in full compliance with law. I wonder about full names of all those people in uniforms and who they did represent in reality. If anything, the European Union has not stated its official position so far.
Q: Last week emotions ran high following the issue of suggested re- construction of churches in historical Tao-Klarjeti and in parallel re-building of mosques in Georgia. The public opinion is divided: one part believes historical Georgian treasures need to be always taken care of, while others see a national danger in the construction of mosques.
A: By the way, construction of mosques is not a problem in Georgia. I do not think anybody would have faced such a massive protest in any unrelated project of mosque construction plans. The “exchange” or “barter” are not terms to be used for such sensitive issues. This story would not have spurred so much noise had the Georgian Patriarchate been involved in the matter. In reality, in this case the Patriarchate was demonstratively disregarded all along, generating negative sentiments and suspicions in Georgia.
Q: The Tunis events shook the world. Social problems there led to the popular uprising and regime change. Not that critical and overwhelming but something similar – mass anxiety – took hold of European countries as well. Interestingly, Tunisian gross domestic product is higher than that of Georgia.
A: The risk of social revolution is always present in a country. But such revolution has never happened in Georgia and I think would never happen for two simple reasons: first, social revolution requires consolidating forces, popular leftist political forces and more importantly, trade unions. Unfortunately, we do not have trade unions here but leftist forces do exist in the country without a slight ability of consolidating and galvanizing protests; the second reason is Georgian character and mentality. Georgians are always embarrassed to acknowledge that their protests stem from hunger. They prefer to name it with idealistic words - alluding to hunger but saying something else. In most of the cases, participants of protest rallies were driven by social agenda but nobody said that in the open, nobody ever mentioned freedom of speech, democracy and so on. Hence, social revolution is feasible but it would have a different name. Sadly, this type of risk does exist in Georgia still.
Q: Last week, our national TV informed us about another victory of Georgia. It turned out that the latest resolution of the European Parliament contains the word “occupation”. What difference does it make?
A: First, let us note that this document contains a lot of other things so that the word occupation is painstakingly hard to notice among them. While the fact of the word’s presence is good by itself, it is not serious to talk about imaginary accents placed on the word. I doubt any legal European paper would be flagged with words such as occupation or occupier because this would obligate imposition of sanctions against the occupying country. That is the main difference of the reality from fairy tales: the resolution does mention the occupied territories but Europeans are shyly keeping mum about the identity of the occupier. So, the resolution only pinched Russia without scolding it biting, unlike other instances of Western political fury.

‘Europeans shyly keep
mum about occupier’s identity’

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