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Human Rights Protectors are condemning President Saakashvili’s racist expressions and militarist politics

29.07.2010

Nino Gelashvili

On July 29th, a representative of the Equality Institute, Irakli Kakabadze, and the executive director of Human Rights Center, Ucha Nanuashvili, held a press conference. The purpose of this event was to address the racist, xenophobic and militarist expressions used by President Saakashvili in speeches and government politics.

Human Rights Defenders criticized Saakashvili’s expression made about the habit of opening up the bags at the customs service. Here he used the word “nigger” in a negative context and made a comparison to the savage people, “Are we the niggers? Why are we acting like savages, someone explain to me!’’

According to Irakli Kakabadze, the word ’’nigger’’ has been taken out of modern dictionary and the President is obligated to follow this standard. At the same time, Mikheil Saakashvili should apologize to all colored people in the world and especially the citizens of Georgia. Irakli Kakabadze considers that the president didn’t say this accidentally and racism has simply become part of modern Georgian politics. 

Journalists and Embassy representatives attending were shown the Liberty Institute leader, Levan Ramishvili’s blog, where there were numerous insulting caricatures of United States President, Barack Obama. According to Ucha Nanuashvili, the blog has been recently updated and there were about 80 insulting photos, including such that suggested colored people are homeless, lost people wandering in the desert. One of the caricatures shows Barack Obama as an agent with the racist nickname “white”.

Irakli Kakabadze considers that Liberty Institution is in direct connection with the government and therefore the xenophobic politics of the blog can be considered the politics of an entire governmental administration.

According to Kakabadze, racist politics is not always connected to the militarism, since military preparation always creates a negative image of the enemy in order to justify the building up of arms. “Some people make a lot of money this way.” Then they start mobilization of their army against the invented enemy. However,  this army is eventually used against its own people. Often, this is how it all works. Take South American dictatorships such as the Chaves regime as an example; that’s what happens there as well. They develop an intensely negative image of the enemy with racist, ethnocentric and nationalist principles or religious principles and then intimidate their own population with the army. Therefore, racism, nationalism and fundamentalism can be considered highly related to militarism. Militarism can’t exist without this.’’

HRC executive director, Ucha Nanuashvili, showed the video clip played on the Defense Ministry channel “Georgia” in 2008. It portrays young reserve recruits preparing for military service. The video clip ends with Adolf Hitler’s words: “For once and all we need to understand, that we will never get the lost territories back neither with formal prayers nor with the League of Nations.’’ The quotation is put in a positive context.

Ucha Ninuashvili also recalled the militaristic statements made by the President. The last one was made on July 28th at Defense Ministry. ’’Each village should be able to protect itself. In each village there should be small groups prepared with the minimum amount of guns so they can protect their ground, village, street, city and region. If the enemy dares to cross the ethnically cleansed regions, each square meter of the Georgian soil should burn their feet. This is our mission,’’ declared Saakashvili.

Ucha Ninuashvili spoke about the Reserve Service Law changes and referred to it as a step towards militarism. According to the new law, people under the age of 40 shall be obligated to participate in the reserve service at least once a year. However, the total number of days would not exceed more than 45 days a year.

According to Ucha Ninuashvili, by enacting this law, the government once again has confirmed it doesn’t seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts and still uses a system of gun politics.

“It’s sad that fascism, racism, xenophobia and militarism are encouraged while the majority of Georgian population supports Georgia’s integration into the EU and NATO,’’ said the human rights defenders.

The press conference was attended by the Hungary consul, as well as, representatives of France, Azerbaijan, USA, the Council of Europe, European Commission and USAID. 


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