Ia Antadze, Radio Liberty
When I learned at school, we had one subject on the time-table - “military lesson”. I remember only entertainment from those lessons. Our teacher was former military servant who did not recognize girls. He taught boys how to fall gun into pieces and then compose again. Besides that, this process was always followed by laughing. The teacher, whose name and face I do not remember, was very serious person but we became unserious having seen the gun. In short, when I try to recall those lessons, I have vague but pleasant feeling because I see the smiling faces of the boys with arms.
I can assure everybody that for my friends and me, who were reading Victor Nozadze, Soljenitsin and Nietzsche in the late 1970s before the “Perestroika”, military lessons seemed very irrelevant and funny – we laughed just like children laugh at the sight of the clown’s nose and large shoes.
Now, when the president of the independent and free state Mikheil Saakashvili states that from September of 2010 older pupils of Georgian public schools shall have military-patriotic lessons instead old military lessons, I do not laugh at all because I do not think they are irrelevant to the state politics which is advocated by the president himself.
Before announcement of the initiative of military-patriotic education president made two public statements which aimed to connect patriotism with the necessity to defend country by weapon. In those statements he spoke about the safety of our families that turned out our own responsibility – because the army cannot protect everybody. On December 26, 2009 Mikheil Saakashvili clearly stated on the opening ceremony of the new building of National Guardia. “12 000 soldiers cannot defeat treacherous enemy who are descendants of Mongols… when we face similar moment – though we should do our best to prevent similar invasion – men and women shall be ready to fight for Georgia. I do not mean psychological readiness - I mean their armament.”
In his salutary-statement on New Year the president said we should hold either hoe or computer in one hand and gun in the second one. Mikheil Saakashvili could not indicate to the urgent situation better than he did by this statement – five minutes before the New Year, when people congratulate New Year to each other and wish happy New Year, our president suggested us to take arms. Initially he suggested us to take arms and 12 days later he told the same to the children and juveniles.
Militarist statements of Mikheil Saakashvili were already replied and will be replied in future. Wherever people are able express opinion openly, they started to expose their aggression; culmination of this aggression was letter published on the Facebook which was supported by many subscribers of the social website; the title of the letter is: “I am looking forward to start war!” Author of this article is ordinary citizen, one of us. The context of the article will be clear from the following extract: “Have you heard that pigs have damaged our fence in two places? And those pigs are so numerous and aggressive that we cannot kick them out by shouting. So, every male shall take gun and will fight until we kill everybody from the enemy army or kick them out from our territory! Nobody wants to have coward friend!!!! We must not be cowards!!!
This letter, full of aggression and hatred, failed to astonish people. However, it gained many supporters. Having read this letter I remembered the program which was aired by TV-Company “Sakartvelo” two weeks before the August war. In this program, which told story about the lives of soldiers, suddenly TV-presenter started to read the following text: "It must be thoroughly understood that the lost land will never be won back by solemn appeals to the God, nor by hopes in any League of Nations, but only by the force of arms" Adolf Hitler, 1932.
Why does Mikheil Saakashvili need to increase patriotic spirit in Georgian adults? Why does he call upon the entire national to take arms? Why does he encourage people to think about war? Why do the representatives of the state-controlled TV-Company read the quotations of Adolf Hitler?
It is fact that impulse of aggression and hatred language is coming from the first person of the state and it is accepted by the lower lawyer of the society. Davit Paichadze asked question in his program: “Do you like the initiative of military-patriotic education in schools?” and 64% of audience gave positive answer.
This reply could have been less concerning before the war of August 2008. Now, after the loss in the so-called 5-day war – which was being prepared for 5 years and required most resources of the state – patriotism should be associated with everything except weapon; more over in public schools.
I do not know exactly, what is the aim of the recent statements of Saakashvili about turning each of us into soldiers but I definitely know that I will never be a soldier and I do not want anybody to be a soldier except professional soldiers. So, I am looking forward to forgetting the war…
Request of the scared commander-in-chief to become brave might look as funny and irrelevant as military lessons in my tenth form at secondary school. However, state machine is prepared to attack and it might be more dangerous than fraud elections, uncontrolled media, scared business and subdued court in total.