|Liberté, égalité, fraternité? I don’t think so!|
|June 09, 2009|
Lasha Khetsuriani, MD, Psychiatrist, New York, NY
Former French Ambassador to Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, who was weaned over to be Georgian foreign minister by president Saakashvili, is currently one of the leaders of “the street opposition” demanding immediate and unconditional resignation of the same president.
Madam Zurabishvili was born, raised and received formal education in France. The need to emphasize her upbringing and education comes from the astonishment caused by her behaviors as a leader of the movement. Her relentless vigor to chase away the journalists she considers pro government would be one of them...
As the hawkish member of “the street opposition” she is closely following the strategy of this movement to curtail (to say the least) activities of undesirable reporters literally demanding IDs on people attending her rallies. The opposition also came with the idea of “corridor of the shame” for the mass media – barricading offices and posting photos of “traitor reporters” on billboards - aggressively perusing the plan not to allow journalists exercising the free speech – the holy of holies of western civilization.
Whoever superficially follows the movement in question can not miss belligerence, inability to tolerate different opinion, intellectual and emotional make up of 8th grader displayed in the act of saying and what is said of all levels of the participants, Zurabishvili not only excluded but being the forerunner.
Ideological leader of the opposition nicknamed St. Grechikha (“grechikha” is Russian for buckwheat) for his preaching like politicizing recently led a crowd to charge police station where 3 members of the opposition arrested for severely beating a journalist were detained. The crowed demanded immediate release of “illegally arrested our boys” and clashed with the police. Nobody from the apposition Madam Secretary included asked why the arrest was illegal – the journalist attacked left his office picketed by the movement and was jumped and beaten with baseball bats by 3 thugs. The whole incident was broadcasted on national TV. The thugs were interviewed and they not only denied the story but showed great pride in it.
“The movement” officially started with the intention to oust the president Saakashvili by all means: By “making the country standstill”, blocking communications, railroads, highways, financial systems, banks etc.
Not long ago Mr. “Grechikha” himself, brother of above mentioned St. Grechikha, the leader of the movement who ran for president 2 years ago with Zurabishvili his prime minister running mate, asked the country to sabotage building highways and factories by this government. Needles to remember, the country went through devastating aggression from Russia not long ago!
One recalls episode associated to Lenin: In 1891-92 a terrible famine hit many regions of Russia, thousands of peasants died. All revolutionary radical parties agreed to work with the government to save the peasants from actual starvation. The only radical who refused to collaborate with the authorities to help the starving was Vladimir Ulyanov. His motive was the “the worse it is, the better!”. Determination and tactics of the movement seems to have plenty in common with Bolsheviks.
The strategy the movement has chosen resulted in backlash - vast majority of Georgians did not approve the rhetoric and tactics employed. In the end what was achieved was installment of public toilets called cells (as prison cells) all over the city. “The cells” are strategically situated on sewer caps where protestors can evacuate their bowels without inconvenience of leaving the place, subjecting the city to cholera outbreak. But hey, “the worse it is, the better!”
The incidents with “rescuing” thugs by attacking police, terrorizing the media physically as well as emotionally, everything representing the government rejecting as “them“ against “us“ are good examples of suspended freedom, fraternity, unity this movement exercises , for the time being they claim.
But the questions remain, why overthrowing the government is the only way “to save the country”? Why the vast majority of Georgians do not think so? Why the western governments demand from the movement to sit at the table and negotiate without preconditions?
The answer the leaders give, (and they understand that “ people failed” them) is like this: “only few chosen , us in this case, comprehend what the demand of the country is, the rest will realize it perhaps years to come”. Even this kind of rhetoric is not new in politics. Russian “Narodnik” movement came up with the concept of “wise egoist” risking the life for a majority who is ignorant enough to endure life under political tyranny. Alexander Ulianov, when on trial for attempted murder of the tsar, on his speech before the court, did not even pretend that in his deeds (to assassinate the tsar) he represented “the oppressed masses”. He said that he spoke for a tiny minority of “wise egoists”.
But not so bright majority, “ignorant to endure life under political tyranny” of Saakashvili, needs and wants little bit of explanation - why the government despite its outrageous mistakes is worse then the movement with its rhetoric containing obscenity, slang, with its behavior consists of bulling, intimidation, with its inability to tolerate different opinion .
The movement of “goodfellas” not only aggressively brandishing icons, crosses and other signs of Christian Orthodox Religion but even identifying themselves with the imagery of the same religion. The orgiastic gathering they put on show in the football stadium can not be read otherwise. St. Grechikha on his nationally broadcasted reality show tacitly accepted (by not contradicting to the suggestion made by his admire) the idea that he might have been St. Ghiorghi (St. George, principal protector of Georgia), incarnated “fighting the wolves”.
Even usually calm and impartial Georgian Orthodox Church was appalled by all of this telling the opposition demanding the Churche’s open support to beat it. What was the response? - “The patriarch must have been a prisoner of the bloodsucker government by not supporting us openly and... we will rescue him from this imprisonment”... What a nerve?! What a narcissism bordering with megalomania?!
The government who in such a short time made remarkable reforms in police and army forces, “reduced corruption drastically, created excellent conditions for busyness development and investments“ as independent observers like world back indicate is “the worst plague” ever happened to the country? The leaders of the movement do not acknowledge a single positive step made by the government bluntly denying everyone thinking otherwise including “objective observers”. How can they be trusted in judgment that this government now is the “source of all evil and needs to be brought down”? Why it is better to keep overthrowing the governments, any government, every so often?
Sigmund Freud in “Civilization and its Discontent” put forward the hypothesis with reference to the cultural significance of man’s acquiring the use of fire. He writes “as psychoanalysis discovered ... primitive man had had the impulse, when he came in contact with fire, to gratify an infantile pleasure in respect of it and put it out with a stream of urine”. By Freud whoever resisted the temptation to act on this impulse not only saved the fire but made the first cultural achievement. He famously claims that renunciation of the primitive impulses is the step towards the civilization and culture -”civilization depends on the renunciation of ambition”
Without getting into too deep discussion about the presented I would only like to paraphrase Freud by saying - “building the state depends on the renunciation of the impulse to urinate on the constitution of this state“. Ousting the elected president and changing the constitution not only would empower infantile impulses to overthrow the government but make the urge compulsively repeat the same over and over.
But questions like these require thinking. I just realized that thinking must have been also suspended by this movement, - for the time being, of course.
Madam Zurabishvili, after leaving the office of Georgian Foreign Ministry, coined a term “qajebi”, addressing the government she left. The loose translation of the term would be Goblin, or Elf, she-devil, maybe. This term created quite a sensation at that time by implying her, educated, rational European woman being in opposition to irrational erratic and theatrical Others (government) which lack the intellect to say the least.
Since then she has never given a rational explanation why “the Other” is so bad, but profusely branded it, the president especially, with terms like ‘Satan, bloodsuckers, criminal ‘and etc. Basically she has been using these terms without an effort to explain, only suggesting that it was too obvious to bother.
She also claims that Saakashvili started the war with Russia because “he wanted it to save his position”. But he was the president elected democratically and accepted by the west who enjoyed high enough popularity. Why he would start the war? Let Russia to take over the country and save what? His chair which was already saved? And how could it have been possible?
Vast majority of her followers also believe that the president is “Russian agent trying to disintegrate the country “, but this is quit illogical, to say nothing of the objective facts that Russia had been planning this war for a long time and Georgia got hooked on the Russian provocations. One might argue it was outrageous mistake but to claim that it was done deliberately in order to start the war with Russia? It is against the common sense to think so, but oh, pardon, forgot that common sense is suspended .We, ordinary “ignorant majority”, have to simply believe in these, “time will come and we will know”.
By and large every single Georgian politician who switches sides says that he or she knows and has seen something which made him to leave the government and which he will disclose in due time. Needless to say that such “due time” never materializes.
Madam Secretary’s speeches, which she makes at rallies, are also remarkable by their lack of meaning. I understand the rallies are not a place where one can exercise reason (contrary, it defers the reason) or Georgian is not her mother tongue, but at least one of the speech in question truly created the sensation in the country making many of her supporters consider that “the king might be naked”, that she might not be “the intellectual struggling against ‘qajebi”. Her remarkable humming “Satan (referring to Saakashvili), go away Satan! Why do we need to negotiate with Satan?”… humming wrapped up in tangential speech close to “word salad” gave the impression that the speaker was in some voodoo like trance, sort of living up description and meaning of “qaji” herself.
In sixties France was inflamed with violence stemming from left-wing ideology. Students, workers and intellectuals charged the street of Paris, demonstrators and police clashed around burning cars and barricades, hundreds died.
Without taking sides in the unrest it is worth mentioning that French left has always been leading force of intellectual and cultural movement of the West, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Jean-Luc Godard representing to mention the few. Michel Foucault notoriously joined students in occupying administration buildings fighting with police. Jacques-Alain Miller, founder of World Association of Psychoanalysis, then ardent Maoist, was also fighting police and injured in the fights.
All of them remained brilliant intellectuals during the troubled times and despite them. Of course the demonstrators led by the left might have chanted slogans like “Go away Satan” but I do not believe their leaders displayed such a depletion of intellect and inquisitiveness the leaders of the Georgian street opposition do. Here is few of the many similar slogans and graffiti appeared in the streets of Paris then - “Be realistic, demand the impossible”, “Live without dead time” or “I love you!!! Oh, say it with paving stones!!!” These slogans are charged with wit (and poetry, if you will) regardless of whether or not one agrees with their meanings.
What slogans the Georgian movement offers except “Bloodsuckers go away!” and “Misha f... your mother!”?
What this Georgian movement has offered in general besides the spectacle that has degenerated into obscenity?
Obviously the comparison with the French unrest would not be in page with the spirit of the Georgian street opposition. This movement has very strong anti Western stand to start with and this stand includes many of the Western values. Mr. Grechikha contemptuously speaks about Harvard and Princeton educated who “cannot match up with us, us, with our general knowledge and education”. Unfortunately, “the wisdom” coming out of his “general knowledge and education” is lamentable.
The symbol of French Revolution which gave the humanity ideals of Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood (along with “Great Terror” I would add) is Delacroix’s painting “Liberty Leading the People”. The painting portrays a woman leading the people for the ideals cited above.
The Georgian movement evokes the similar image with reverse meaning – women leading the people against liberty, equality, and fraternity and… peeing on the constitution.
Pretty disturbing image, is not it?
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