TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian non-governmental organizations call on Georgian politicians to stop making xenophobic statements and ask the media not to spread such comments.
“The authors of such statements probably try to play on ethnic and religious feelings and turn it into a main weapon to gain people’s votes,” local rights groups say in a statement.
Murman Dumbadze, former Republican Party member made a statement on March 31 about Giorgi Masalkini, head of the Republican Party’s Batumi organization:
“Giorgi Masalkini is not of Georgian origin. He doesn’t understand what Georgia is. We have disputed [each other] on this issue for half a year. He never heard of Oshki, never lighted a candle. How can he teach me what Oshki is?”
He said this in a live broadcast on the internet-based Radio Obieqtivi, www.obieqtivi.net. Before his statement, Giorgi Masalkini called into the same show. They had a dispute about a protest rally held on March 31 for rehabilitation of Churches, based on an agreement between Georgia and Turkey. Murman Dumbadze claimed that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s political coalition Georgian Dream was participating in this rally, while Masalkini claimed it wasn’t. Gia Masalkini is a member of this coalition.
He then said that after the show her mother got bad and called for an ambulance.
Later, Dumbadze apologized to Masalkini and to Georgian society.
“Every politician should acknowledge that in Georgia it’s already impossible to gain success through xenophobia and playing on people’s religious and national feelings,” statement says.
NGOs that signed the statement say they will publicly react to any statement of political force, leader of public figure, which contains an attempt to establish this kinds of political fight, standards and rules in the election campaign.
Zviad Koridze, media expert and one of the signatories of the statement tells DF Watch that this type of statements incites confrontation between ethnic groups.
“If we say we are building civil society, we are building a civil state with democratic values; then we shouldn’t speak of what origins some person has, granting it only rhetorical importance.”
He thinks the problem is about mentality, and remembers an incident which happened long before the Georgian and Ossetian confrontation in the 1990s: A person was fired. In an explanatory document, the employer wrote he was fired for having Ossetian origins. This person was a teacher.
“We should refuse such mentality, because it’s destructive and it is followed by other types of complications. As a result, we can have very serious civic destabilisation.”
The rally on March 31 was held in Batumi. It was against the construction of Azizi Mosque in Batumi. (https://dfwatch.net/planned-mosque-in-batumi-focus-of-popular-unrest-66499)
Murman Dumbadze was excluded from the Republican Party for his position about the issue.
Dumbadze is against constructing Azizi in Batumi. He was one of the organizers of the rally. The Republicans said was unacceptable for their party to participate in organizing this rally. Dumbadze didn’t refuse to participate in the rally despite his party’s warning, so they excluded him from the Republican Party.