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'There Is no Way to Peace; Peace Is the Way' - An Appeal to the Georgian Nation

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Abkhazia - a Territory or Population?
Information is collected by Eka Kevanishvili

“Does anyone still have conscious in Georgia?” it was the question which appeared on one of the forums as soon as the Human Rights Center’s “Sorry” Campaign started to be discussed publicly. The question was asked by Abkhaz user. After the severe initial reaction, Heinrich Boell Foundation got interested in the campaign and dedicated one of its traditional discussions to the topic. On Tbilisi forum, users opposed not only the idea but the imitative of holding discussion on the topic.

“I think any kind discussion on this topic will encourage the defeatist ideology and general feeling among the nation. I also think that today’s meeting will be an attempt to establish such kind of feeling in our society. Any kind discussion can be considered as a defeat.”

“I want to underline one more thing and draw your attention to it. The date of discussion was announced on political section of the forum and the authors foresaw the result very well. It was a very clever activity.  However, we wonder who is the author –Republican-NGOs who work in a small room (the hall of the foundation is really too narrow) and want to make the discussion more public or their rivals who oppose the initiative and Republican-NGOs; or the organizers wanted to assess the public opinion on the imitative in order to use as an indicator (a favorite term for NGO members).

“In any case the coin has already been tossed. At least we will see the public reaction on the initiative!”

“The greatest vileness starts from similar discussions. Let us arrange debates on the following topics too: “Should we grant Autonomy to Armenian people in Akhalkalaki?” or “Should we declare Abkhazia an independent country?” or “Should we liquidate Georgia and join Russia as wide cultural autonomy?” These discussions will be similar to the discussion “Should we kiss our Abkhaz brothers or not?”

“Do you think that they are apologizing to those people who have killed my and your relatives? You seem to think that every Abkhaz men was holding a gun and killing Georgian people in Gagra? What will you say if I tell you examples how Abkhaz people rescued Georgian families during the Sokhumi Assault? Maybe they are apologizing to those people who rescued our people at the risk of their lives and they acted more humanly than our own people? Or maybe they are apologizing to those mothers whose children were killed in a helicopter flying from Tkvarcheli in 1993; although members of the Mkhedrioni (armed formation) knew there were children in the helicopter, they bombed it. Somebody must take the first step, however it is pity that similar steps are taken only from our side. Abkhazian people demand apology from the government and the nation; the government is not going to apology, they are going to unleash a war.”

“The nation with hundred thousands of IDPs (in addition to that many other disasters to undergo) will not be able to apologize. Especially when the other side is not going to reply in the same way.”

As usually the audience was divided into two during the discussion of the “Sorry” Campaign. Three months have passed since the campaign started but the situation has not changed at all. However, the society has started to discuss the topic and there are people who are not ashamed to say sorry.

Irakli Kakabadze expresses his opinion on the “Sorry” Campaign openly on the Tbilisi Forum. “I personally think that everybody must apology for his/her behavior and say that s/he is sorry about the disaster that happened. I am ashamed because Kitovani and Shevardnadze ran our country for so many years and I am apologizing to the people from Abkhazia, Kartli, Guria, Samegrelo, Imereti and many other regions for the reason. I think there are many honest people among Abkhaz who think in the same way about Ardzinba and his supporters. On April 9 we did not retreat when Russia attacked us and they lost the battle with us- unarmed people. When stronger opposes the weaker the results are always similar. I express my disapproval to Georgian people’s intention to fight against eighty thousand people. Georgian people have higher dignity than Russian because we are not Imperialists and do not seek domination. I believe it is so but if I am mistaken, we are like Russians and I do not want to be Georgian any more.”

“I will be straight in my statement and say that everybody, (Georgian, Abkhaz and of course Russian people) must be severely punished for having unleashed the war.  Every military criminal (of all nationalities who acted cruelly during those events) and also those people who bargained with weapons and gained much money must be punished. Those criminals were Georgian, Abkhaz and other nationalities too. I openly apologize and do not try to hide myself behind any kind of nickname. I personally apologize for being the member of nation who had Shevardnadze, Kitovani and many similar people in the government and for keeping Saakashvili in the authority now. It is personally a fault of mine and I prefer to admit my fault rather than pretend to be guiltless.”

“In addition to that, I think any kind military activities and murder (especially murdering the women) must be forbidden. Vaza Phshavela and Bob Dylan were stating it and whoever takes part in the war is guilty for this crime. The most courageous is a person who can defend his truth without weapon. I appreciate such kind of bravery-weapon is for cowards.”

“I know that my idea is not that much popular in society but “I am stubborn on my ideas and cannot act in other way” (quote from Georgian literature)-“You Shall Not Murder” - is one of Moses Commandments and I understand it directly. “

The memory of these people and rehabilitation of the self-esteem of our IDPs demand us to be courageous and return to Abkhazia as right people as soon as possible.”

Ordinary citizens discuss the reasons why one nation should apologize to another one.

“I am eager to apologize to those Abkhazian families who were attacked by our military formations for no reasons. Many Georgian patriots were fighting in Abkhazia. Many of them were killed and they were shot from behind. We must apologize to their families!!!”

Neither president nor any other political party can make statements in the name of the whole nation and especially members of NGO cannot do that. After only a referendum we can make statements in the name of nation.
“I personally apologize to Abkhazian families who were harassed during the war as well as Georgian families in Zugdidi, Khobi, Senaki, Abasha and Samtredia. Those families were attacked by Georgian militants. Do you know the opinions of IDPs when you are speaking in their name? The IDPs have already apologized-they were hiding their Abkhaz neighbors when Georgian militants were raiding them.”

“IDPs are less aggressive. Most of them do not really have to apologize and Georgian militants must apologize to these people first of all. Our warriors have lost the war but they are still boasting for having taken part in it. The same situation is in Abkhazia. A boy, who is sitting in a chair for disabled person, was eighteen when he was wounded in the war; but he is ready to reconcile.”

“Sorry” does not mean that we must kneel down in front of Bagapsh and many others and beg pardon from them because we are such a scum. It will be the best apology if we judge those people who unleashed that awful war. Their statements before the war resemble the statements of current officials.”

“I think these people want empty Abkhazia-without people. But it cannot happen to be so-it is 21st century now.”

“We do not intend to creep to Zugdidi to apologize. We want to evaluate the situation in 1991-93 and in doing so we must draw our attention to Abkhazia too. We must admit that that-time Georgian government made biggest mistake which resulted into the death of many Georgian and Abkhaz people as well as of people from other nationalities living in Abkhazia. As far as I remember over 300 000 Georgians and 70 000 Abkhaz people lived in the area. Let them apologize to those 300 000 Georgian people (Abkhaz) and then to those nations who remained in Abkhazia. Nobody demands to meet Bagafsh in Sokhumi!”

“Civil society in Abkhazia is less developed than ours and I think that we, as the people with greater culture, are more responsible for our mistakes. So it is natural that we must create the precedent as the nation with higher conscious.
“Because they are repeating 24 hours a day that fifteen years ago there was a coffin in every peaceful Abkhaz family and Georgian people had fault in it.  Now we are showing them how well those people live who made those families moan over the coffins. Those criminals are either living quite well or their graves are in public pantheons.”

“Abkhazian people will not apologize to us because we are still threatening them with death, resettlement, genocide; we remind them that they have “arrived’” here without invitation, that they are ungrateful Afsuas, strangers, that they are second-level ethnos and we reproach them for not having annihilated them yet and we are so kind to grant them with the chance to live on our land and breathe our air. They will not apologize because separatists will never let them do it.  If any of them ever dares it, I cannot even imagine what will happen to them.”

23 Mar. '08