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Georgia going through a maturity test2009-05-27 23:29
Today Georgia is celebrating its coming of age. May 26 is the Day of Restoration of State Independence which took place 18 years ago in rebellious1991.Growing up wasn't easy for Georgia: conflicts, wars, civil confrontation. The 18th birthday wasn't quiet either. Due to the protest wave that struck the country the authorities were forced to cancel a number of festive events including a military parade.
Besides coming of age is the time of dreaming and hoping for a better life. This is what Georgia looks forward to - a better tomorrow. What will it be like? The answer is unknown to both the authorities, and the opposition tearing the country literally apart with best intentions - for the sake of consolidation of democracy. The hopes remain that the difficult age of transition will eventually end and people of this blessed and hospitable part of the world will live as they used to - with traditional tablefuls, singing and dancing in peace and quiet.
But as Edward Sevrus, a Russian writer once said, the future breeds hopes, the present either nurtures or buries them. This is the principle Georgia is governed by. Today is an "epoch-making" day, as the Georgian opposition called it. Since April 9 the country has been burning with the fever of rallies and protest actions. The opposition calls for President Mikheil Saakashvili's resignation, early presidential and parliamentary elections and democratic reforms...Implacable oppositionists believe the change of power will be in line with the constitution - no revolutions, bloodshed and new idols. So far three presidents have ruled the country over these 18 years. No tradition of a peaceful, i.e. constitutional succession has been created since. One government was always overthrown by a new one. However the story was the same in distant 1918.
Independence Day is celebrated to commemorate May 26 1918 when the Georgian government led by Noe Zhordania declared independence. This status continued till 1921. Then a new government promised a bright future for Georgia as a brotherly Soviet republic. But the historical spiral is still working. So 70 years later, on March 31 1991 to the referendum question - "Do you agree that Georgia's state independence should be restored as set forth in Act of May 26 1918?" - by a good Soviet tradition the majority of population (Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not take part in the referendum), 98%, said "yes".
Over 18 years that have passed the country saw ups and downs, was full of hopes and went through disappointments, created idols and overthrew them. Joyful "Sakartvelos Gaumardzhos" (Viva Georgia!) was mixed with prayers for salvation and well-being of the long-suffering country. It would take a multivolume edition to describe all cataclysms that have affected the country.
Only one thing is left to say today - Georgia is taking its maturity test. Rustaveli Avenue, the scene of a traditional military parade associated with the country's birthday is the place of a "civil parade" organized by the opposition. The oppositionists openly state the government allegedly conceded the avenue to them by request from the West. Will it be possible to avoid provocations and keep the protest wave within the frames of the constitution? Well, this is the exam Georgia is taking again.
"May 26 will be a great protest day", - Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition leader said recently. "We will offer many surprises on that day", these are the words of another leader, David Gamkrelidze.