Monday, November 12, 2007

A protester dead in Georgia?

There are unconfirmed reports that a Georgian man named Zurab Kilasonia has died from injuries inflicted by the police. (See background here and here.) The story seems to be disappearing, and may have been falsely reported.

Meanwhile, most Georgian opposition parties have come together to support a single candidate: Levan Gachechiladze, aka "Buckwheat" (Grechikha in Georgian). Levan is the brother of Giorgi Gachechiladze, aka "Utsnobi" ("the unknown", right), an eccentric musician and DJ who, like most of the opposition, opposed both Eduard Shevardnadze (Georgia's last president) and Mikheil Saakashvili (Georgia's current president). I don't know much about either Gachechiladze's politics, but I can promise you that you've never seen a music video quite like Utsnobi's "Zamtari Ertad" ("winter together"), in which a company of traditional ceremonial Georgian dancers conducts their stage pageantry in Georgian bathrooms and stairwells. (By straining the limits of my Georgian, I can tell you that "Patara gogo!" means "little girl!", and the repeated final refrain is from a nursery rhyme: "Achu! Achu! Achu, tsqeno! Saad unda gagacheno?", "Giddyup! Giddyup! Giddyup, horse! Where do you want to take me?" Also see his "Velodebis Mzes", which offers a great glimpse of Georgian city life and environs). I can also tell you that long ago I once sang a composition of my own, a satirical version of Utsnobi's song "Sikwaruli Daprinavs" ("Love Flies"), to one Mikheil Saakashvili in his office in the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.

Below, a man about to be beaten by a masked government supporter. Who these people are has not been made clear, but there is speculation that they are national youth group members who were brought in as extralegal enforcers. Perhaps police on their day jobs are harder to motivate; there are reports that at least one police group chose to stand down and not participate in the crowd dispersal.


(Someone said the man about to be struck is "Jorbenadze", perhaps meaning Avtandil Jorbenadze, a former minister under Eduard Shevardnadze.)

Labels: , , ,