Op-Ed

Georgia is a democracy, and this is perfect! Democracy purports the reign of the people, and this is encouraging too! Georgia is a sovereign state where society has started to speedily and intensively appreciate the meaning of national freedom, and this is delightful! The independence of Georgia, although still fragile, is strengthening, and this is truly nice to know! What kills the joy, though, is that Georgia is at risk of losing all those recently-(re)acquired good things unless it succumbs to the dictate of the West that we look and feel exactly the same way as the globalized family of other nations does.

Don’t get me wrong, please: Georgia wants to be an organic part of the worldwide family of nations for its guaranteed survival and further development, but it also craves to remain nationally individual and ethnically unique as it has always been. Whether this is possible or not is a tricky question. The contemporary globalized and economically integrated world is suggesting the unlimited behavioral freedom of an individual, expressed in hundreds of different ways, being it art and fashion, toilet and table manners, gender and sex, knowledge and information, politics and diplomacy, tourism and travel, etc. Yet, the “political spectrum” of this nation is so motley that one would not even remember the names of the numerous parties except those recognized as main players in the game. The most noticeable among the architects of political climate in the country tend to appertain themselves to two different ideological stands – either Western or Russian. If there is any other power that could be qualified as a third force, its voice has been so flimsy so far that it is not even audible to the regular electoral ear.

Each of the followers of the first two dominant ideologies has their spiritual idols, financiers and mentors. In this particular case, one is the West with its own agenda, ranging from Georgia’s NATO and EU membership to support of Georgia’s gay pride; and the other is Russia with her own intentions of keeping Georgia out of the reach and clout of the West and beyond the influence of novel sexual theories. The masses are divided in compliance with those ideological standards, which have already acquired a doctrinal power – the respective germane theories and practices all in place and active.

Meanwhile, because the overall political fight is on, the people of Georgia, being under the influence of one of the two mentalities, are overwhelmingly involved in this complicated process of active belligerency. The nation is literally split into two, discounting that negligible part of the population which lives in a perpetual daydream of the arrival of a better and more reasonable political force.

One of the latest examples of said fight might be the gay pride discussion. Georgia certainly has a gay community, as does any other nation of the world, but it is not well-known how numerous or solid it is. On the other side of the sexual orientation aisle, there are people who do not even want to admit the possibility of a Georgian man or a woman being sexually different because homosexuality is reckoned as a biblical sin and social crime. The confrontation is as loaded as a keg of gunpowder. Some of our journalistic parvenus cynically declare that Georgia, as a nation, is not yet developed and sophisticated enough to embrace homosexuality, while the antigay radicals claim that homosexuals contradict Georgian traditionalism and therefore curb the multiplication of the Georgian people. The argument is overly hot and full of hostility on both sides, seeing each maintaining their egocentric interests and keeping up their political agenda; each fighting shoulder to shoulder with their foreign patrons.

This is just one of the paradigms demonstrating the ideological chasm in the country. There are many others. And there is no trustworthy enough judge around to come up with the final word. The government itself is trying to be neutral in the multifaceted national controversy, and I cannot blame it.

By Nugzar B. Ruhadze

Image source: longbeachpride.com

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