Work for it
07 February, 2013
Work for it
I recently attended a lecture given by an expert on Amedeo Modigliani. It was an interesting lecture, comprised of short anecdotes about the research that went into compiling a book on the artist and one story caught my attention. The story was about a highly regarded art museum in Paris whose workers refused the researcher entry to their library and to the back room stock.
The researcher privy to ways of French had to resort to brib
ing, gift giving, calling in favors, and calling people who had a pull with museum director who would in turn call the workers to let the researcher in. There was no reason behind not helping the academician, on the contrary the research would later be greatly appreciated and used by the museum, but at the time the mentality was to refuse any point of entry. His story reminded me of my ventures into the Ministry of Culture when I tried to fill out paperwork for a painting I bought at a charity event in Georgia. One would think I was trying to take out a Parjiani out of the country, the amount of running and paperwork I encountered. But it wasn’t the leg work that got me in the end; it was the unprofessionalism of the middle aged staff, their incompetence and complete disregard for any rules of social engagement.
Not until I barked at them in Russian did I get anything done. Yes, I understand the irony of this happening in the Georgian Ministry of Culture. The reason I am mentioning age is not ageism. I’ve met a doctor in her 50s in 2010. She was sure she would not be able to pass the latest qualification exams and would lose her job, but she studied for the tests anyway. She got the highest marks while 70% of the incoming crowd got cut for dismal marks. Needless to say she was not only not let go, but promoted. It isn’t age of the person that stops them form achieving better for themselves it is the attitude of defeat that brings them down. The researcher at the end of his story said that now when he goes to the same museum, there a new guard of young people who work there and life is easier for everyone, in the sense that they are knowledgeable and their mentality is not one of the past, where an answer to everything was a  no.
One could argue that age brings experience, which would be fine, if for one moment I believed that the people with whom I was dealing in Georgia had any, but they were leftovers from the time when being someone’s nephew was enough to get a position and sit there for the rest of their lives doing nothing.
Nepotism is unavoidable even in the best of democratic countries, but nepotism towards incompetent people when the whole country is trying to regenerate is unacceptable. One could argue that the important person’s nephew might be qualified, and just because he has familial relations in the high up that’s not the reason for not hiring him. I agree. What I don’t agree with is the people are connected and not qualified taking jobs away from those who are.
This is not a personal problem, it is a country wide issue, because those who sit and do nothing take the entire country down with them and that is something Georgia simply cannot afford. I am optimistic, perhaps foolishly so, but I am still optimistic that people who want to run the country, people  who want to help the country be great, who want to see their country independent and strong, these people will not succumb to the propaganda of defeatism and continue to give their best to the nation they love.
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