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Why and For Whom “the Bell Tolls”?

remarks on “the margin” of Internet-forum

09.07.2008 17:48

Vladimir Nesterov

When an editorial staff of our Web site made a decision to open a forum and provide our readers with a rostrum to express their opinions about our publications, frankly speaking, the dispute was rather hot. Somebody was concerned that the today’s strained Russian-Georgian relations, and tough statements of politicians on both sides will evidently affect the opinion of our readers, and the forum will become another line of confrontation. But the desire to know what common people think about the current events, and read their ideas and recommendations prevailed, so the forum has been opened.

As it turned out, our concerns were not groundless, yet the reality proved to be not as bad as expected. Yes, our readers sometimes use gross language, yes, sometimes they are irreconcilable, but often behind this gross language we see their wish to understand the situation, explain to themselves the reason of this to a great extent surrealistic confrontation and foresee its consequences…

Launching the forum, we first of all expected that it will be visited by Georgians residing in Georgia. We know it well that the Internet, choose my words carefully, is not as much in use in Georgia as for example in Russia. But based on numerous judgments that the Georgian authorities “are fixing the life there” we believed that they also “fixed” the Internet in the flats of common people. As it turned out, they haven’t done it yet. A majority of Georgian nationals who visit our forum reside …in Russia. Perhaps, the Internet is too expensive for the common people in Georgia or regarded by them as a luxury.

It seems that in the nearest future the situation with the Internet in Georgia will hardly change to the better. Especially after the authorities of this country made a decision again to increase the defense budget by 27 per cent bringing it up to almost 1 billion Dollars! In so doing, as usual in such cases the social expenditures of the ministries of labor, health care and social safety have been cut. So, the life of common people in Georgia definitely will not become better this year. May be, is it a reason why they leave their native country looking for a better life? Actually it is not a secret that the population of Georgia decreased from the early 90s almost by 1.5 million people.

It explains the fact why a large number of Georgians visiting our forum are nonresidents of Georgia. The country is losing the most active young people striving for success, which is hardly attainable in today’s Georgia. At the same time they remain themselves, young hot-tempered Georgian guys, whose hearts are bleeding for their native country. Yet it is much more convenient “to bleed” far from the Motherland. Everybody understands already that Mikhail Saakashvili “in his efforts to gather the Georgian lands” will spare no lives.

Georgians did not forget brutal dispersion of the rally in Tbilisi last autumn, arrests and massacre of opponents to the regime. And what about a provocation on the Abkhaz-Georgian border during the recent election campaign when peaceful people who agreed for “a good purpose” (as they were explained) to take part in a staged attack on a bus with electors were injured? The words of a wounded local school teacher addressed to Saakashvili soon spread all over Georgia yet they were not broadcasted on TV or radio. Georgia is a country where people have no secrets from each other.

It is not incidentally that Saakashvili has very warm relations with the actual Ukrainian leaders who are as cynical to the people and electors as him. Was it Julia Timoshenko who taught open-hearted and democratic young politician Saakashvili to treat his people as “a biomass”? In Ukraine, they say, “a biomass” is a favorite word of Ms Prime Minister. ..

Naturally, somebody blames on Russia in our forum. It is a piece of cake to find an enemy and see nothing around. In so doing, the cause is substituted with the consequence; the blame is laid on somebody else. Reading the posts in the forum we see what a mess is in the heads of the people, to what extent they have been brainwashed and caged within set judgments designed by other people by the way!

Naturally, Georgia wants to preserve its territorial integrity. At the same time, Abkhazia and South Ossetia want to secede. And this problem is not unsolvable. 35 years ago Europe was sure that the problem of Northern Cyprus will be never solved. But time went by, and the situation was put into motion. Evidently, the parties have to go a long way of negotiations, consultations and mutual concessions. It may take years. But we see that a new generation of people came, and these people start listening and even hearing each other...

Now nobody in the forum even apparent extremists will deny that 15 years ago it was neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia that unleashed the war. Georgia has made fatal faults and has to pay for them. The payment is patience, moderation and search of a consensus. Georgians would rather less listen to the bosses from “the Washington District Party Committee” who play their own game looking for their own benefits only. If they need they will support separatism as easily as they stand for territorial integrity. Cynicism of the XXI century just justifies such approach – it is the time we live in.

In so doing, other states should also have a right to act in their own interests. Including Georgia. But the last-Georgian, last-Abkhazian or last-Ossetian war today in order to please Americans seeking to reach oil and gas stocks of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia is hardly in the interests of Georgia. .

However it is necessary at least to think to understand it. And may be the prime mission of our forum and similar forums is to make the people think.