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Libel against Catholicos Patriarch2009-10-22 14:29
Georgia is boiling over the Liberty Institute videos with the voice of Catholicos-Patriarch calling the whole Georgian nation to insult Mikheil Saakashvili. It's the NGO's criticism of Ilia II's position on the culprits in last year's war in South Ossetia. Georgian believers rose to defend the Church and the opposition accused the authorities of campaigning against the Patriarch.
The presidential administration of Georgia had to offer public excuses. They did not repent directly but verbally condemned the work of a female employee of the pro-regime public organization Liberty Institute.
Teya Tutberidze, the NGO's employee posted the videos on Facebook social net with the Patriarch using obscene language and calling on the people to get together and insult Saakashvili in a voice resembling his own.
Another video features the Patriarch sitting in front of the keyboard and singing a children's song in "techno" style. The third video is an advertisement of a concert in a Tbilisi night club on the Patriarch's birthday.
A few days ago Ilia II stated the war could have been avoided. "It shouldn't have happened and we could have prevented that. The captain of the ship must lead the ship avoiding the reefs. - the Patriarch said. - It's no good beating head against the wall all the time when a door can be found nearby".
Three days later The Liberty Institute funded by the US government and the Soros Foundation reacted in the form of notorious videos. Thanks to the scandal that flared up almost a million viewers could see them (this is the number of officially registered Internet users in Georgia).
Tutberidze is not ashamed of the authorship. According to her Georgia is a democratic country unlike Iran resentful over European cartoons against Muhammed the Prophet. And Ilia II is not God. She can't understand why the Patriarch unlike other public figures can't be criticized.
The head of the Liberty Institute is outraged with a clear implication in Ilia II's remarks that Saakashvili was responsible for the start of the war. "For me this statement sounded really anti-statal. Who would welcome a phrase like that? Russia would", - she explained in her interview with Caucasia TV.
"It seems Russia still has support in many areas including the Patriarchate", - Tutberidze remarked.
However her work aroused a real storm of protest. Recently the students came forward against discrediting attacks on the Patriarch. "The students shall stand by the Church to protect the country against anti-national and anti-church forces", - the statement disseminated by the participants of the student rally on Tuesday runs.
Opposition newspapers like Akhali Taoba suppose that the authorities use the videos to discredit the celebrant of the Georgian church highly reputable in the society.
"It's evident that the authorities are watching the reaction of the people and in case it is satisfactory for them the attacks against Catholicos Patriarch will be more intense", - the newspaper notes.
"It should be remarked that such actions arouse indignation among the congregate and if there emerge leaders that will take up defense of the church the processes might fall out of control, which will result in a revolution since most part of the Georgian population are ready to protect the name of the Georgian church", - Akhali Taoba highlights as quoted by Regnum IA.
Representatives of the parliamentary majority - unaware how to react to the scandal - ventured shy criticism of Tutberidze.