This nation doesn’t have to bend over backwards to prove to the world that it belongs in the western family of nations. When we talk about Europeanism in general, we should above all put forward culture and mentality for judgment, not only the official state and social institutions working like a Swiss watch mechanism if wound on time and regularly.
The other day, I came across an Imedi television program anchored by Tamar Tsagareishvili, a long-standing, celebrated television journalist. In the capacity of a respondent, the public’s favorite show was filled in by Irakli Papava, a well-known filmmaker with a number of outstanding documentaries under his belt about Sakartvelo’s national history and ethnic culture. The wonderfully matched host and guest masterfully elicited from the archives the story of Revaz (Rezo) Tabukashvili, a famous Georgian film-director, screenwriter and a translator of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Tabukashvili’s contribution plays a valuable role in scholarly research and the unearthing of the life and activity of notable Georgian emigrants, among them Mikheil Tamarashvili, whose story was tracked down by Rezo all the way to his grave in Italy. Tamarashvili, a.k.a. Tamarati, was a Georgian Roman Catholic abbot and historian, doctor of theology and professor, especially well-known for his French-language history of Georgian Christianity. At the age of 53, he gave his life to save the life of another, and his remains were honorably moved to Georgia and interred in the Tbilisi Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures.
Another Tabukashvili masterpiece is his documentary about Ekvtime Takaishvili, the famed Georgian historian, archaeologist and public benefactor. Following Georgia’s soviet annexation in 1921, Takaishvili was assigned the task of protecting the Georgian national treasure, which went to Paris with him as part of the political emigration of the time. Not even one piece of the treasure was ever sold, even when lives needed saving from hunger and poverty. It was diligently preserved, taken care of, and brought back to Georgia in 1945, with amazing assistance from the then French President, Charles De Gaulle. The valuable shipment was accompanied back to the motherland by Ekvtime Takaishvili himself, the great guard of Georgia’s national treasure – the appellation given to him by Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, the giant of Georgian literature, and another cultural figure with a western background and philosophy.
Revaz Tabukashvili’s film about Pore Mosulishvili is just as noteworthy. Mosulishvili was a Soviet soldier, Georgian by birth, and a partisan in the Italian resistance movement during World War II. He was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor and the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his heroic and unselfish military and civilian services.
These are just three vivid examples of the sort, but there are many more episodes of the same value and elevation in the history of this country, so diligently and patiently investigated by Revaz Tabukashvili, who never ceased in his search for traces of Georgia in the depths of Western spiritual life. His films about many eminent Georgians who, by certain vicissitudes of life, found themselves in the West, speak volumes about those extremely valuable and organic historical ties of Georgia with European nations, many of them having left very deep marks on Western culture. With Tabukashvili’s tireless effort, initiative, and personal participation, Sakartvelo retrieved its significant archival materials, valuable documents and unique photos from various parts of Europe, found in Western libraries and book depositories.
The facts of life and creative activity of our beloved and unforgettably handsome Rezo Tabukashvili were given new life in the above-mentioned TV program. Incidentally, that memorable evening, host Tsagareishvili and guest Papava made an earnest effort to apply to the youth of Georgia that the best and smartest among them have to follow in the footsteps of their truly prominent ‘grandpa’ Rezo, to keep up the valuable memory of those historic Georgians, so well connected with West, so as to make the current and future ties of this nation with Europe even closer and tighter.
The believable enough cliché that Georgia needs Europe as much as Europe needs Georgia is 100% justified if we look and feel deeper into history, history which will unmistakably confirm that the ties between them are natural, organic and promising. As such, it should be to nobody’s surprise if Georgia soon receives EU candidacy, and that sooner rather than later, full membership in the cherished Union of the most successful nations of the world will follow.