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

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“We Have No Other Way but Living Together!” – Georgian Students Appeal to Abkhaz People

“We Have No Other Way but Living Together!” – Georgian Students Appeal to Abkhaz People




Nini Topuridze, Nino Gelashvili
“If we want to gain Abkhazia back, we should first gain the hearts of Abkhaz people back; we should restore the broken bridge between the two nations of one state,” “Public diplomacy and peace will help us,” “We should forgive each other’s sins,” said the Georgian students during the discussion of Georgian-Abkhaz problem. However, we encountered radical statements too: “We will gain the territory lost by the war only through the war,” “Abkhaz people are blinded by Russia,” etc.

The Human Rights Center launched “Sorry Campaign” in March of 2007. Within the campaign representatives of the Georgian society, those who agree with the campaign, apologize to Abkhaz people.

The text of the appeal – a manifest – is published on the website www.apsni.org which was created within the campaign. The aim of the Campaign is also clarified: “It is not easy to apologize as well as to accept an apology. The aim of the Sorry Campaign is to change the dynamics and direction of the relationships that have been established between Georgians and Abkhazians during recent years. The Sorry Campaign is not in any way connected with politics; it is a movement that is against war, as we consider that there is no alternative to peaceful dialogue and mutual settlement of the conflict. We want to encourage people to think about the horrors of war and the mistakes we have made.”

“Sorry for not preventing the war; sorry for not having avoided the disaster; sorry for every word that inspired the war; sorry for every bullet that was shot” – the campaign still continues and every person can join it on the following link:http://www.apsni.org/index.php?a=pg&pid=2&lang=en

Three years later, the Human Rights Center got interested in the attitude of Georgian youth about Abkhaz people. Consequently, we asked questions to the students of three state universities in Tbilisi.

1)    How do you foresee the future development of Georgian-Abkhaz relationship?

2)    Will you apologize to Abkhaz people?

3)    What will you say to Abkhaz people?

The questions were asked to the students of the Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University, Tbilisi Ilia State University and Sokhumi State University. Below you can read the answers of the students.

Salome Achba, student of the Ivane Javakhishvili State University.

1)    I am from Abkhazia and naturally I have thought much about this topic. I think the meeting with as many Abkhaz people a s possible is the best way to resolve the problem. We should talk with apolitical people. First of all, we should hear their opinion, requirements and desires; we should sit together and find out what we expect from each other; maybe we still have something in common which can become the starting point of our future relationship.

2)    I think, both parties sinned equally; consequently, both parties should apologize. One of my Abkhaz friends, who lives in Abkhazia, told me: Our problems will be settled when both parties acknowledges their own sins. If only one party apologizes, I think it is useless because both parties have to regret. Besides that, only words of apology without real action does not seem sensible to me.

3)    We will maintain our culture and unique character only within integrated Georgia. Georgian people are not cannibals!

Salome Kvanchiani, student of the I. Javakhishvili State University.

1)    I think we also made mistakes. Georgian and Abkhaz neighbors and relatives still keep contact. We – new generation do not know each other; we should get in touch with each other and make friends like it happened in the past.

2)    If we want to gain Abkhazia back and enter the territory, we should forget our pride and even apologize for that. If this apology will change our feelings, why should not we say Sorry?”

3)    Let us forget what happened. We should not believe the new, invented stories. We should look back to our past. Everybody was victim in this war. Both parties lost people. If we look for offenders, our relation will never improve.

Giorgi Tsiklauri, student of the I. Javakhishvili State University.

1)    The main way to resolve the problem is restoration relationship between young people. Meetings of Abkhaz and Georgian people should be organized more often; we should be close to each other. I know that it is difficult but the both parties should forget the past.

2)    To my opinion both parties should apologize for everything what happened. I appreciate the Sorry Campaign. I think it is very good initiative. I have an opinion and hope to realize it – we all consider that Enguri Bridge is the border between Georgian and Abkhaz peoples. So, I want to arrange a round table on the bridge where we will talk about Georgian-Abkhaz relationship.

3)    Let us forgive each other!!!

Khatia Basharuli, student of the I. Javakhishvili State University.

1)    I think, we cannot gain anything only by political negotiations in Georgian-Abkhaz relationship. Public diplomacy should involve it; people should exchange their opinions.

2)    I do not know how properly the Sorry Campaign will be accepted. I wish the Sorry were said by both parties and not only by Georgian people. I would apologize for every crime that was committed by Georgian side against Abkhaz people;

3)    We have no other way but living together!

Davit Chageilishvili, student of I. Javakhishvili State University:

1)    Much is spoken about the resolution of Georgian-Abkhaz problem recently. Mostly we speak about restoration of cultural, human relationships and friendship. I think, it will have no result. We might gain something if we make some economical offer to Abkhaz people. I am still speaking as an angry person; I know that we also made many mistakes but when I watch the videos of Abkhaz war, I get very angry. I do not think the public diplomacy will change anything; neither war will change much; but I think that everything still goes towards gun-blazing.

2)    Politics is such a thing that sometimes it is necessary even to apologize. Maybe, the apology degrades our dignity but in this case it is not that important. If I knew that my apology could change something for better, I would apology and even cut my right hand; but I think it will not have any results.

3)    What will I tell to Abkhaz people? … I do not know, I have not thought of it. I just wish the both parties acknowledged their mistakes.

Lana Chkhetiani, student of I. Javakhishvli St. University.

1)    I have often thought of Abkhaz conflict. We are the generation who more or less remember the conflict development. I think both parties are guilty. We should not declare only Abkhaz and Russian people enemy and claim that Georgian people are right in everything. We also did something wrong.

2)    I appreciate the Sorry Campaign and join it because both parties shall apologize – we and Abkhaz people.

3)    I want to tell to Abkhaz people that we are not as bad as they hear rumors about us.

Liliana Gureshidze, student of I. Javakhishvili St. University.

1)    I have thought about Abkhaz conflict because there are a lot of IDPs from Abkhazia around me; I see how difficult is their lives. I think the state does not adequately assist the IDPs. Besides that, when I look at the map of Georgia and see how large territory we have lost, I get seriously worried. I think this conflict did not damage only Georgian side; both parties were damaged. There is no winner in this war.

2)    I agree with the Sorry Campaign and think that it was to be initiated long before because life without dialogue for so long time is impossible. We both should apologize to each other and finally we should start cooperation.

3)    Georgian youth does not hate Abkhaz people and if we start dialogue and keep in touch, everything will be settled. Young generation shall improve the situation.

Maia Arabuli, student of Ilia State University

1)    It will be good if Abkhaz people will also be active and at least, we young generations will restore the relationship – for example by internet, because we are not allowed to arrive there. Yes, I have not done anything to change the situation, but have they done anything in that direction?!

2)    If Abkhaz people apologize, I will also apologize.

Giorgi Margvelani, student of Ilia State University

1)    Generally it is difficult for me to speak about this topic. I would rather write about it. Conflict can be resolved, of course. However, public diplomacy shall involve in the process more actively.

2)    I think we have nothing to apologize for. This conflict started neither because of Georgian nor for Abkhaz people; Russian side provoked the bloodshed.

3)    We should realize that we all are citizens of Georgia and there is nobody else better than we are.

Beka Khomasuridze, student of the Ilia State University.

1)    What can we do? I have not tried anything so far; but even if I try, what will be the benefit of it? I do not think this conflict will be resolved because the third party is involved in its escalation and its resolution does not rely on us.

2)    Of course, I join the Sorry Campaign but what will it change? Abkhaz people should do the same then.

Tamta Sisvadze, student of the Ilia State University

1)    I apologize to Abkhaz youth because we do not do anything and I hope everything will be ok in future and we will also live together like our parents did. I apologize to them for our inactivity and join the Sorry Campaign.

Rusudan Mghebrishvili, student of the Sokhumi State University

1)    The conflict shall be resolved through peaceful negotiations;

2)    No! I think the apology is incorrect and useless initiative.

3)    Everything will be settled and we will be together again.

Natia Bechvaia, student of Sokhumi State University

1)    It is the problem which depends on the will of Russia; thus, I think there is less chance to resolve the problems;

2)    No! We have nothing to apologize for!

3)    I hope we will get sure soon that your choice about the partner is not right.

Levan Sulava, student of Sokhumi State University

1)    We will not gain the territory by negotiations. Unless the government of Georgia compromises and stop criticizing Russia, nothing will change.

2)    Shevardnadze should apologize to Abkhaz people who how lives peacefully in his residence.

3)    Maybe, you also wish reintegration with Georgia; you should look in your hearts and then act.

Olia Ochigava, student of the Sokhumi State University

1)    First of all, the government shall be changed in Russia. Democratic and clever people shall come into power which will recognize the territorial integrity and the government of Georgia.

2)    I will apologize if it is necessary.

3)    Abkhaz people, fight for the independence from Russia and return to your native Georgia. You are part of Georgia. You have been part of Georgia and will always be until Georgia exists. Please, be clever and forget every mistake.

Shorena  Naroushvili, student of  the Sokhumi State University.

1)    It is impossible to resolve this conflict through peace because Abkhaz people have very negative opinion about us. Instead being grateful to us for everything what we have done for them, they try to eradicate the Georgian language.

2)    Never! Why should I apologize? I always confess my mistakes if I am guilty and I am not ashamed of apologizing but in this case “Sorry” irritates me very much. They should apologize to us!

3)    Be clever if you want to cooperate with Georgian people. You have lost common sense under influence of Russia. I tell you once more – be clever!


20 May. '10