Originally posted on the author’s blog.
By Giorgi Kikonishvili
“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
This is the story of how a pastor Martin Niemoller, Hitler’s ex-supporter was left alone in front of the destructive power of the Fuhrer, just because he didn’t fought against the unfairness at the right time, due to the personal careerist or non-careerist interests. He didn’t meddle in!
Almost twenty years ago over 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and to go, well, anywhere, on the another part of Georgia. On they road, part of the people were victims of other Georgians, who were expecting some “profit” from the IDP’s “wealth”. some of the IDPs became victims of unbearable weather conditions and mostly of the starvation. People, who at least more or less peacefully arrived alive at other cities, were housed in the old buildings, mostly in the inhuman conditions. During the twenty years some of them managed to adopt new life conditions, they even got new jobs, began business activities. Unfortunately many IDPs were dead due to the psychical and psychological traumas provoked by the war. For the last twenty years tens of thousand our civilians, living near us, were absolutely ignored, as if they didn’t live. Their trouble was NOT considered as ours, as well. We were ready to held tens of drinking parties, to drink those hypocritical toasts about our “beautiful country and people”, whereas the IDPs, living in our neighborhood might have the ability to either buy a brad, or not.
After the twenty years, notwithstanding the fact that authorities aimlessly spent billions of bucks, those people are still homeless and get only 28 Lari ($15) per month, as a subsidy. Neither society nor authorities want to think about it seriously. Let’s tell even more: after the twenty years those authorities took IDPs, literally PUT them into the TRUCK MACHINES and banished them in one of the most lifeless “village” in Georgia (with NO hospital service, NO state institutions, NO kindergarten, NO police etc etc.). They took several TVs, recorded one, as if, “satisfied” old woman and now people say that IDPs live happy life.
We live in the country, where the saying “someone’s plague, not my trouble” is nearly the most popular wallpaper for the desktops. For the last four months IDPs have been protesting the inhuman living conditions by tenting in the yard of the Ministry of IDPs, Accommodation and Refugees, living in the tents, mostly starving and fully frozen by the cold winter weather. In the age of internet and other mass communication tools It took exactly four months – for us – young people, to get the information about their protests. Well, this definitely IS a shame, but I strongly believe, we can change something, even our activism is somehow late, but I think it’s promising. Two Georgian students immediately coordinated a special support group on Facebook called “Spend a Night with IDPs in Tent”. 3-4 activists go to the tents every night, spend night with them, talking about their problems, supplying foods, water, firewood and all the things needed. At the same time they keep on blogging and informing society. The solidarity group already has over 400 followers on Facebook – that’s fantastic and can be respectively considered as the beginning of [in the future] strong Georgian social activism and civil journalism, initiated not by NGOs, institutions or organizations, but by the free civilians theirselves.
What about me, with one of my friends I plan to go directly to this lifeless abandoned village called Potskhoetseri, where other IDPs were banished, to see with my own eyes the unfairness, which was caused… Yes, caused by MY and society’s absolute apathy to the social problems. Of course, we will supply foods, winter clothes and other things according to their needs and will make a special video/photo report from the, I’d say, “abandoned village for the abandoned people”. If not this apathy, we would know earlier that the plague forced one IDP woman to suicide. She burnt herself straight in front of the Ministry’s building. The reaction by the Ministry and mass-media – ZERO! We found out about this suicide only after four months and what we did was that “we were worried and strictly condemned Ministry”. Now it’s time for something more, than the verbal condemnations and worrying.
Right now, I watch the video, recorded twenty years ago. It shows the horrible road and horrible situation, which people had to cover after they were brutally forced to leave homes. Then I think to myself: What do the people [banished 20 years ago by the enemy, and now, banished by their own state authorities] feel and think about? what does the indifferent society really worries about? What is the prime news on Georgian TVs?
Go, watch and you find out, that Silvio Berlusconi’s sex scandal in the hottest prime-news on Georgian TV, meanwhile they’re one hundred percent ignoring IDPs’ subject. Hence, If you truly worry more about human beings’ problems than Silvio’s private life, unavoidably WATCH this video, recorded 20 years ago (posted below). DO NOT forget, that videos of the same content and nearly with the same persons are being recorded right now, in 2011, for the “holy” video-history of our country.
UPDATE 1: The videos, showing Georgian IDPs’ way 20 years ago, was BANNED from viewing it from Georgia. Just few days after bloggers activism began. I don’t know who did that, but this can be called CENSORSHIP, this must NOT and will NOT be accepted by us!
P.S. To join the IDPs Solidarity Group, click here
If you would like to go to Potskhoetsero with us, feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org