Anti-Armenian hysteria in Georgia15.03.2011 | 14:27
The Assembly of Armenians of Tbilisi has issued a special statement in response to anti-Armenian propaganda in Georgian mass media, i.e. a story on ITV.ge featuring Armenian bloggers calling the European Commission to support establishment of an autonomy in the territory of Javakh. In reply, the Georgian press launched an insulting campaign full of threats against Armenians. Agasi Arabyan, a leader of the Armenian diaspora of Javakh in Russia, comments on the situation in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
The huge Armenian-Georgian scandal was triggered by an appeal of Armenian bloggers to the UN and the European Commission to assist in acquisition of an autonomous status for the Armenian-populated region of Javakh. But Hatuna Katsitadze, the author of the story on ITV, neglected the main reason that forced Armenians to resort to international structures, i.e. assistance to release Vaagn Chakhalyan, an Armenian activist. April 17th will be the 1000th day the leader of one of the rights defending organizations of Javakh will have spent in prison. Representatives of the Armenian community of Javakh as well as bloggers are trying to draw attention of international organizations to violation of human rights in Georgia.
Nationalistic sites of Georgia immediately launched an aggressive anti-Armenian campaign bringing up a heap of trite stories on Armenians' involvement in the events in Abkhazia, Great Armenia project and even an assumption that Armenia stands on the territory of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Notably, the information of the Georgian internet TV company had at least a minimum level of political correctness while Georgian web audience from other sites comments on anti-Armenian articles with openly fascist slogans calling to deport all Armenians from Georgia, to recognize them as a "collectively guilty" nation and take many other measures that "great" ancestors of contemporary Georgian politicians like Stalin and Beria made use of.
On the whole, even the Assembly of Armenians of Tbilisi was perturbed by this anti-Armenian hysteria. This almost invisible organization has nothing to do with the opposition. According to Agasi Arabian, a representative of the council of organizations defending the rights of Javakh population in the Russian Federation, the Assembly was mainly occupied in holding various "socially valueless actions" so far.
"We have never seen the Assembly of Armenians of Tbilisi as active as that. We have an impression they serve some external interests dictated from above. It's very good they paid attention to this anti-Armenian hysteria. But the trouble is that natives of Javakh and Armenians of Tbilisi have different approaches of problem solving. They consider themselves more flexible, diplomatic unlike us, mountain Armenians, as they call us. In reality they simply ignore things that take place under their nose with Armenian churches being pulled down and schools closed", - Agasi Arabyan says.
Then the Assembly of Armenians of Tbilisi, cautious as it is, has simply run out of patience. On Friday the organization held a special briefing disseminating printouts of fascist comments by Georgian bloggers. Here is the title of one of the articles, for instance: "Armenians are jackals, not lions". The list of Georgian sites containing anti-Armenian articles was attached as well.
The story on ITV.ge was discussed as a separate topic. The author, young female journalist Hatuna Katsitadze, put on the role of an expert presenting a detailed overview of Georgian-Armenian relations now and in future. The story embodies all Armenian phobias of Georgian nationalists. The final conclusion of the journalist is that by 2020 Armenia will snatch control of Javakh.
Experts and journalists took part in blamestorming inviting the author of the story. Hatuna Katsitadze felt ill at ease confessing she had never been to Javakh and had never spoken to representatives of Armenian organizations. The entire story is just a fruit of her imagination.
Georgian public opinion was blown up by the topic of the Armenian autonomy for the population of Javakh with the core issue simply forgotten. Appealing to the UN and European Commission, Armenian bloggers primarily call for release of Vaagn Chakhalyan, their compatriot that has been incarcerated in a Georgian prison for three years already. This fact is almost omitted - both by Armenians of Tbilisi and by Georgians. Agasi Arabyan, representing a Javakh diaspora stated in an interview with GeorgiaTimes that organizations seriously representing Armenian population of Javakh insist on immediate release of Chakhalyan. "This is a matter of principle to release our compatriot. We have been trying to cooperate with the Georgian opposition on the issue for a long time. We asked them to include Vaagn Chakhalyan in their list of political prisoners that presently comprises 54 persons. They haven't done that. Apparently, for the Georgian opposition ethnic motives are more important than violation of human rights", - Arabyan said.