Thursday, November 08, 2007

Georgia, what the hell man?

Okay, so I that that suffices as an introduction. Pictured are events from the the past two days in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

About four years ago the peaceful Rose Revolution kicked out the party in power that had been cooking the votes to stay there. Those protests were on these streets. Mikheil Saakashvili, a Columbia Law educated politician, led on the protesters as they occupied state building. The then president agreed to leave office and Saakashvili was then elected president.

I found it all pretty moving, all the more so because there was the unity of political will afterwards to enact real change; not the case in Ukraine. Fast forward to today. There are popular protests against the president, about 50,000 people on the streets. They are not really a unified front, but represent frustration with the current government from across the political spectrum (yes there are a good number of crazies). What does Saakashvili do? After talking about how Georgia is a democracy now and how there is the right to protest, he says the protests are all Russia's doing, and after declaring a state of emergency has water cannons turned on the protesters and has tear gas fired into the crowds. He also has government special forces raid the state run television network, taking it off the air, holding guns to journalists heads, and smashing their phones. Saakashvili basically used the force that was not used on him. I don't know that I am so hopeful for Georgia anymore.


oliver said...

I think this may be the first time I can remember you using the ", man" colloquialism.

Barbarossa said...

For only it can truly encapsulate my rage!