SOCIETY
Georgian Reaction
30 May, 2013
During the past few days the foreign press abounded with articles about Georgia. The New York Times, Business Insider, BBC News and The Economist dedicated their analyses of the developments that recently took place in Georgia. Surprisingly, the predominant topic in the media was the gay rally held in Tbilisi, although the entire country in the last week seemed to have been concerned about the tragic death of Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. The articles mostly carried information about casualties of
the conflict between the two parties – pro-gay and anti-gay. On one side there were the organizers and participants in the gay parade who wanted to peacefully demonstrate their desire to legitimize their way of life and on the other side there was a crowd of young people, inspired and led by the priests who expressed their anti-homosexual position violently.
Les us discuss the article written in The Economist. It says that a small number of gay rights activists planned a rally in central Tbilisi. In response, a large number of Georgians organized a counter-demonstration. There was a clash between demonstrators which resulted in 28 injured people. This was not what government had in mind and Prime-Minister Ivanishvili commented that sexual minorities are ordinary citizens, and the society will get used to the fact.
‘On May 16th Patriarch Ilia II, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, called for the rally to be cancelled, claiming it would be “a violation of majority’s rights and as an insult to their traditions, religion and… way of thinking”, meaning that homosexuality is a ‘grave sin’. The author states that a small group of Orthodox activists and priests encouraged by the Patriarch’s words held all-night vigil in front of the parliament building. A group of Georgian non-governmental organizations, which were attending the rally to ensure that human rights were preserved, commented that the police was not effective enough in terms of maintaining the order.
The author continues that homophobia is deeply entrenched in Georgian society: in a 2011 public opinion survey, 88% of respondents stated that homosexuality is never justified. The author also thinks that it is vital how the government will react to this acute issue and if the violent clergymen face court trial.
The failure to stand up for gay rights will be an obstacle for the country’s European aspirations. ‘Mr. Ivanishvili would do well to commit to more effective protection of a similar rally next year. Otherwise, May 17th 2013 will go down not as a day of protest against homophobia in Georgia, but rather of its triumph.’- concludes the author.
Georgian society, both homosexuals and heterosexuals failed to show respect towards the families of the killed soldiers when they decided to take part in gay rally or oppose it. From the beginning, one could predict all the consequences this rally would have. I cannot believe that those who organized the gay rally were unaware of the results, and if they were, why would they need to be beaten up? Another big question is about the origin of funding of the Rally.
Historically speaking, Georgians have never discriminated on the bases of race, religion, nationality or gender. I cannot recall anyone breaking into houses of homosexuals and battering them. These people have lived in Georgia and were part of the society, personal lives are private and we all agree that they have to be.
Last week France was passing a new law about gay marriages. Dominique Venner committed a suicide in front of Notre-Dame’s altar, leaving a letter. In his letter, read by a close friend on a Catholic radio station, he said it was an act in “defence of the traditional family” – reports BBC news. Dominique Venner, 78 was an award-winning far-right historian. Mr. Venner had recently been involved in the campaign against the government’s decision to legalize gay marriage. Is the French gentleman’s behavior symptomatic? Could be! And very symbolic too!
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