“They Arrested My Pension for My Different Views”
30 August, 2012
“They Arrested My Pension for My Different Views”

Disabled man set out to travel from village to town in wheelchair

There is a strange man living in Giorgitsminda village of Sagarejo district (Kakheti region, eastern Georgia). His name is Suliko Jamalashvili. Even if the fate left him attached to a wheelchair, he can drive a car unattended. He is involved in opposition actions, writes satirical pieces on politicians and partakes in a marathon of disabled people. We went to visit this energetic and optimistic man.

A: If this is the

real State, how could it leave a disabled man without social assistance?! I have neither insurance, nor any other allowance. My pension is no equal to the official subsistence rate. But this fact did not stop them to arrest even this little sum.

Q: Why did they seize your pension?

A: Because my views differ from those of the Authorities. Years ago the State gave land to peasants. Praising Shevardnadze is a donkey work but in his time we were not paying land tax and no one induced us to pay it either. Then came the new government and fined me for not paying land tax. The Authorities loathed me for frequenting opposition rallies. It became harder for me to pay accruing fines when they reached 2000 Lari. So there they arrested my pension. Now it is 10 months that I have not received pension. But they did not stop there. I received the court notification that they arrested my car as well. I asked representatives of local authorities why they seized my car when the fines are already being deduced from my pension. My pension money has already covered 700 Lari of fines out of total 2000 Lari. As I cannot move my legs, automatic steering in the car helps me immensely in driving. I sustained a nerve trauma in a car crash back in 1985… At the time I did not expect that I would get over with the challenge. But I managed it.

Q: How do you earn for living?

A: I farm cows and pigs. Once I went to Lagodekhi and bought fuel there to resell it in my village. But the Government tagged me as a smuggler even if I did not carry the fuel from the Azeri side over the border. I was simply buying locally available fuel in Georgia. People in uniforms would stalk me here and there, be it an Alazani bridge or Gurjaani town. They grabbed my fuel without presenting any documentary confirmation. In the pre-election period of 2008, they robbed me of 800 liter fuel and used the booty to allocate 20 liters per household in my own village. I too received my share (he laughs). I said to my neighbors – look people, how much I appreciate you - the Authorities are giving you my fuel! Misha Saakashvili does not listen to people. He paints something on one side but gives no dime that the other side falls away. And let them seek less gratification from us for their deeds! Are not they doing all the stuff by means of our own money?! Governor and heads of local self-governance got hectares of land. We lost external market, while internal market is entirely in the hands of the Authorities.

Q: Why do you support Ivanishvili?

A: I think he would free business and, with all his fortune, is not likely to rob the country. Export and selling of agricultural products would be easier.

Q: If he fails to live up to your expectations, would you oppose him also?

A: In such a case, we would have to dismiss him too. Members of Georgian Dream go from village to village, and I accompany them. Once a woman of National movement approached us and started to quarrel with us asking us what we wanted from Misha when no President has proven to be worthwhile. I countered that when no President proves to be worthwhile we have the right to at least dream about a better one. Then they went to call Bidzina Russia’s puppet and us – traitors. What can you tell them? They elected this skyscraper president and now are polishing his shoes, kissing his hands and blurting Misha-Misha ecstatically. Some people cannot feed their children, yet keep reiterating that Misha is a Tough Guy in self-immolation. Try as I may, I cannot explain this phenomenon. Maybe it has a bearing with a factor of fear. Fear is a nasty thing. Neighbors cover their mouths with their hands to hide their words when telling something political to other neighbors. Despite all these, a charge of resistance is spreading in the population. Even if my President got rid of a little disabled man in my person, I retain my physical and spiritual strengths. By the way, in 1991-1992 I took part in the marathon of disabled persons held in Kiev. I quickly overtook a rather large distance in a wheelchair. So, if there are no devilish tricks, I am going to Telavi town from my village in this wheelchair.

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