Prison for finding bible
12 May, 2011
Prison for finding bible

Letter from Saingilo

The letter was delivered by two young people. To avoid unnecessary problems for them back home, we decided not to reveal their identities.

“On 18 April this year, Georgian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Teimuraz Sharashenidze and his deputy Gela Giorgadze paid a visit to our village Aliabad. The villagers have plenty of problems. So, we were looking forward to meeting the Ambassador. For years, we have been asking for setting up of a Georgian k

indergarten and a school in the village. We are even deprived of giving Georgian names to our children. They imposed this prohibition on us in 1996(!); besides, they forcefully changed our surnames in early 20th century. For decades we are requesting to return our original surnames but to no avail. Azeries are building mosques in Georgia but building a single church in Azerbaijan is an immense hassle. We request attention of Georgian Authorities and hope that they will help us. It is a great disappointment for us that our hopes always remain unfulfilled. Is there no single person among you who care about us?”
The story of the Ingilo youth is heart-breaking. We feel obliged to share it with our readers:
A: “They took away passports from the population and returned them with changed names! After altering the surnames they deprived us of Georgian names! When a child is born in Azerbaijan, the parents are given a list of Muslim names to choose from it. If you refuse, they won’t issue a birth certificate to them. There are a lot of such children in our village by now. They turned six but cannot go to school. Due to such conditions the number of pupils decreased drastically. They go from family to family prior to September “advising” parents not to take their children to a Georgian school, or else they to find  problems. It can be, for example, a problem to find a job or the danger of getting fired. That is why Georgian schools are increasingly lacking pupils. They will not open new classes for only 7-8 children. Sea of Mosques is being built in Georgia, and no one blocks Azeries from doing it. However, in Azerbaijan you will get jailed even if they find the Bible or a New Testament with you!
Q: Is there a law that prohibits carrying the Bible or the New Testament?
A: What is law for Azeri bureaucrats? They can do anything to you. When the Azeri President or other delegation visits Georgia, thousands of Azeries meet them and wave Azerbaijan flags. But here if they find a Georgian flag with you, they will make everything to keep you in prison. Once I was in Baku with my one-year old son. The boy had a fillet on his head in the form of the Georgian flag. They detained us just for it. They started to question us aggressively why we were there, who we were and so on. They were angry, demanding how I dared to attach the Georgian flag fillet to my child in Baku. Perhaps you don’t believe that such things happen somewhere but unfortunately they are real. It’s a doleful reality.
They found a Georgian flag with my three friends and all of them were arrested and given 10-day administrative punishment – of course formally they were accused of a different misdemeanor. It couldbe hooliganism or drugs – in the latter case they would plant  drugs in your pocket. Or alternatively, they would put a cow in your yard and swoop on you in the morning to get you handcuffed for a make-believe robbery. But most painful is the behavior of Georgian officials. They have none of state-minded approach to our travail.
We tried to get in touch with the Georgian Ambassador in Azerbaijan but succeeded only to talk with the First Secretary of the Embassy, press attache Kakha Abuladze who made the following comment:
A: It’s absolutely true that the citizens with Azeri surnames are disallowed from reverting to their Georgian surnames. But they cannot do it to the people with Georgian surnames. The problem is the fact that Ingilos cannot self-identify themselves. If you ask them whether they are Georgians or Azeries, they reply that they are Ingilos.
Q: Is there such a law in Azerbaijan?
A: Yes, there is. The Public Register has it. It was this very topic discussed at the meeting held in the school. Quite on the contrary – the Ambassador advised them to revert to the surnames of their ancestors; identify themselves as Georgians; in that case they won’t be subjected to the proscription of Georgian names. In this our embassy is ready to help them as it is our duty.
Q: But they cannot regain their surnames!
A: We told them many times to write a formal collective complain so that we’ll be able to start the formal case. Without the collective complain we cannot do anything. They say they are afraid of prosecution if they complain. What can we do?
P.S. In the feudal era Saingilo was the part of Georgia, namely, its eastern part -  Kakheti Region. Now it is an Azeri territory. The word “Saingilo” came to use in the 19th century to denote the area inhabited by forcibly Islamized Georgians or so called Ingilos. The word Ingilo in Turkish means something like “newly converted to true faith”. In early medieval centuries the area of Saingilo used to be a part of a Georgian Province Hereti. In the 11th century it was incorporated in the Georgian region of Machi Princedom, part of Kakheti Kingdom. In the 16th-17th centuries, political changes in Kakheti Kingdom, continuous Ottoman and Persian aggression and incursions of Dagestan feudalist raiders wreaked havoc to the area, demeaning it economically and politically. The number of local Georgian population was diminished and replaced by Tsakhurs and Avars from Daghestan. Simultaneously, Georgians were forced to adopt Muslim faith. In time, Saingilo lost links to Kakheti Kingdom. In the current administrative division, Saingilo covers Belakani, Zakatala and Kakhi districts of Azerbaijan.


Other Stories
International observers about the presidential election in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
First Ladies of Independent Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia. It was the last election in which the president will be selected by popular vote.
Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
Deadline for the second round of presidential elections in Georgia is December 2
Presidential elections were held on the 28th of October in Georgia. None of the candidates managed to get majority of votes, so the second round of elections is to be appointed.
The USA National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Georgia
National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton visited Georgia today.
People are detained at the Cannabis Festival
Today, Georgian political movement Girchi holds an event in the Dedaena Park called the Cannabis Festival.
Top safest countries and Georgia is among them - new survey says
Georgia is among the safest countries in the world. This fact is substantiated by various surveys and researches.
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Fight in Gori – head of administration uses a bin full of manure
There was an incident yesterday in Gori municipality, Georgia at the entrance of the municipality building.
2 Georgian detainees freed from the Tskhinvali prison
Georgian detainees Maia Otinashvili and Akaki Dotiashvili are freed from the Tskhinvali prison. They had been accused of illegally crossing a so-called the borderline into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Georgia might provide Far East countries with armored vehicles
LEPL State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" might provide several Far East countries with armored vehicles, - “Delta” has informed InterPressNews about it.
Who can be the next first lady of Georgia?
On the 28th of October, presidential elections will be held in Georgia. The last elections in October 2013 resulted in a victory for Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream (the ruling party).
Another Georgian kidnapped at the occupational line, stays detained
Maia Otinashvili (a mother of three children) was detained in her own garden on the 19th of September. Eyewitnesses claim that she was kidnapped by armed people with masks.
Fight broke out in the Georgian TV show
Fight in the Georgian Show Archevani (a choice) broke out between the guests yesterday.
7 amendments that come in force today in Georgia
On the 1st of October, 7 new amendments come in force in Georgia.
Speaker of the parliament plays Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What do the politicians do when they have free time? It is an interesting issue in every country.
What are the new New Year decorations for Tbilisi
New Year decorations and its price in Tbilisi is always a matter of discussion in the capital.
Mamuka Bakhtadze gives a speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
Mamuka Bakhtadze, the prime minister of Georgia is attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly from the 24th of September.
Georgia will ban use, import and production of plastic bags
The Georgian government has decided to tighten rules regulating use of plastic bags in Georgia.
The parliament returns to Tbilisi
The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from January 2019. Currently, the building is located in Kutaisi (west Georgia).
Mamuka Bakhtadze is visiting the USA within the working visit
The Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze Brought a wreath to the tomb of the Georgian military serviceman John Malkhaz Shalikashvili.
Use of plastic bags to be reduced from the 1st of October
Within the framework of the Green Economics and Environmental Protection Policy the Georgian government has approved new regulations
Four Russian Journalists have not been allowed to enter Georgia
Three members of the Russian delegation were not allowed to enter Georgia as this would have violated the Law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30