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Yuri Mechitov: My story is theatre of the absurd10.12.2012 | 17:49
Recently in Georgia, a scandal arose around a video in which a famous photographer and candidate for the post of Deputy Minister of Culture Yuri Mechitov allowed "unflattering" comments about Mingrelians - representatives of Samegrelo region. According to Yuri Mechitov, his statements were jocular in nature. However, the Megrelians have not appreciated humor and wrote a letter to the Culture Minister demanding to dismiss Mechitov. In an interview with our correspondent he told about why his words have caused a public outcry.
- Mr Mechitov, was the public reaction and this spontaneous situation surprising and unexpected for you?
- I am not easily offended, I'm 62 years old. Now, if I was 26 years old, I could have a lot of illusions. I have never had any doubt about the relevance of this video; it was shot long time ago so we had enough time to delete it, but we did not do this. I watched the video that time and approved it, and only after this the video appeared on the Internet. And shortly before such stir I posted on my website a series of photographs with models during and after shooting. And, of course, such "incriminating" evidence could not be overlooked by the "well-wishers" and thus became the subject of hot discussion.
I am an artist, and I see many painful sores in our society: lack of education, lack of culture, obscurantism ... But I'm happy that I know other Georgia, the best of its socio-cultural component. By the way, most of the population does not know what is happening. Many people are not interested if Yuri Mechitov was shot with another naked girl and whether these photos were posted on the Internet or not. Moreover, many do not even know that there is such a thing as a "social network".
The only problem for me was the calming of my family and friends in connection with the scandal. My mother, who is 81 years old, is cautious towards the developments, anxiously peering at the TV screen, which is splashing another stream of mud and stupidity again and again. I have to take care of her and explain a lot, since in previous years there was no such controversial phenomenon called "social network". But now it has become a necessity for many; and there are its advantages - for example, the rate of exchange of information has become enormous. You just need to consider and analyze, filter out the essentials.
- Do you have a sense of bitterness at the loss of something significant?
- Today, irresponsible and immoral people, hiding their face behind nicknames, have got a unique opportunity to insult others with impunity. This mud does not particularly hurt me. Indeed, when your attitude to everything is philosophical, thanks to lived years and certain experiences, loyal and trusted friends, knowledge of this different, "sublime" Georgia, many things look quite different. Generally speaking, all the stupid people generalize, and clever people see the difference. Generalization of some facts into common thing - this is a sign of narrow-minded people. So I feel no bitterness and frustration.
Recently, by the way, a certain man in the street, excited by the commotion in the media, which is depicting me as a bastard hating all Georgians, tried to insult me somehow, but I did not succumb to provocations. Of course, someone may come up to me and start speaking to me using abusive language, and it is possible that a man may hit me on the head with a brick, but even in this case I would not generalize and include all the villains into the general cultural component of the Georgian nation, since I'm its integral part.
- What is the essence of the scandal? It is possible that, on the one hand, the lack of knowledge of Russian language by the Georgian society, and on the other - the fact that it was presented in the incorrect form, has played a role.
- Yes, the lascivious part of the media has added to the literary version of this video not only some unasked questions, but also unspoken answers. Only few of my accusers have bothered to see the source or clarify anything. This is a game of "broken telephone".
In one of TV-programs, where my opponent was the person who had taken responsibility for everything that happened, I said I did not believe I had committed something criminal. "And your activity - this is defamation", I said. This is a legal term that means the intentional malicious slander about a man.
Some time ago I wrote an article "Some things about the Georgian mentality or confession of a marginal". So, I remember that at that time many people even not having read this article, were terribly angry that I had touched this subject. In the article I wrote that, unfortunately, due to various historical reasons, we can see anti-Armenianism in the part of Georgian society. Facebook was full of angry references to my ethnicity. Such phenomenon as xenophobia occurs in other nations: "Judeophobia" in Russia, "anti-Turkism" in Armenia, and so on. This is a reality that should be known.
In general, we live in a world of absurdity, and we need to be reasonable and rational person, to look at things more deeply and not to jump to conclusions.
Interviewed by Natalia Sakhno