How come Europe is in turmoil, the world is shuddering in fear of a nuclear calamity, yet we are in no trouble here in Sakartvelo? And this incredible idyll has lasted a while so far, keeping our people and our foreign visitors, both permanent and temporary, in balance and calm. All those gigantic and typically American malls, scattered throughout Georgia’s main cities, are working like crazy, packed full with buzzing people spending money like never before. Just peep into the spacious garages at the malls of Tbilisi: Overloaded with cars, standing in line to either get in or out of the shopping havens! Every single restaurant in the country is so busy that it has become a real problem to get in after twilight unless one has reserved in advance, which has to be done in good time so as to avoid the inevitable thirst and hunger. Cities all over the country are traffic-ridden, their citizens busily and speedily moving around and sucking up huge quantities of that expensive fuel, filling the guess-station owners’ wide-open pockets with mind-boggling velocity. Banks have not even a split second to relax, because they are being invaded by native and external clientele alike, all of whom seem to have found a comfy shelter for their miraculous surfeit of cash. Meanwhile, the suburbs of more or less sizable towns have been turned into the sites of summer house constructions, with beautiful opulent villas popping up ubiquitously at an amazing pace. And schools and colleges, both public and private, are in the heat of their academic existence, and our kids are becoming ever more competent and competitive in the schooling process.
Nobody’s mind is crossed by the bad thought of bombs, shells or rockets falling on or flying over our heads. The atmosphere is truly idyllic and lighthearted, aside from those moments when our overly zealous media reminds us that somewhere not very far from here there is a war going on, and we never know when a stray bullet might hit us too. You frequently hear the question: If people are as poor in this country as many claim (a claim especially heard from the mouths of the oppositional political forces), and if no-one is making enough money, how come they can spend so much? The answer to this question is trivially unaltered: Most of those at the malls, restaurants, and at the wheels of top-line cars, are using money transfers from their relatives who are toiling away in various foreign countries.
I don’t know how true this might be, but the unbelievable thing is that in Georgia there is some kind of collective mind in action that aims to keep up a high standard of living, turning this model of thinking into a way of life. And peace is an indispensable ingredient for that very way of life. Peace is awfully valuable. It may not be lost or traded; it has to be maintained. Georgia has not enjoyed peacetime calm and happiness in a very long time, and its value has grown tremendously. We don’t want to fight any more, not only for the safeguarding of somebody else’s vested interests, but not for our own either. We want, in the first place, to keep up our own national interests without death and fire. Peace has turned out to be so sweet that none of us is ready to give it up, least of all with bloodshed and suffering.
There is war raging next door in Europe, call it proxy or whatever verbal description comes to mind, but war is war, and at this moment, Georgia has found itself in a purely peaceful zone, receiving masses of conscientious objectors from various countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the north Caucasian republics. This is a very big thing to recognize as an asset produced by the current Georgian government, who has taken an adamant stand in proclaiming that Georgia’s ways and means in the Russian-Western war are only neutral and nothing is going to change it. If we do, we will make a historically tragic and totally incorrigible mistake. We have done our share in those post-soviet inevitable wars, and we don’t owe even a drop of blood to anybody in the world. Enough is enough! Away with destruction! Time for construction!