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South Caucasus


Yulia Adelkhanova

Yulia Adelkhanova

Interview with Yulia Adelkhanova, the guest of "Nationality - Human" festival

To what extent did your expectations prove true about your attendance in the festival? The status of a guest seemed not to be very obligatory. To what extent do you think your mission seems to be completed? What did you manage to do and what did you fail to do? What makes your think that you have not attended the festival in vain?

Frankly speaking, due to my inconsistency, I did fail to understand why and where I was going until I arrived at the destination. Simply I was very delighted at the opportunity to meet Georgi and Luiza (I am even ready to go to them to the moon!) Once I arrived. Oh, God. Films are gonna be shown here? Great! Even a discussion is gonna be held here? – I do like it! I am gonna be asked questions as a representative from Georgia? Well, I will tell them the whole truth about the harm of hurrah-patriotism! Anyway, I failed to clearly and precisely express my civil viewpoint concerning the war in the South Ossetia. From the outside I might have looked like a hurrah-pacifist. What I wished to say was the following: “Ideally, the people of Georgia must have in the first place condemned the intrusion of the troops into the South Ossetia. Our non-governmental organizations must have signed a petition condemning the actions of Sahakashvili and settled the conflict through peaceful negotiations. It would by no means have meant that we are grateful to Putin for the bomb attacks. And right after it one could shout “Stop Russia”. It is desirable to shout in Georgian, in the official language. But here it appears that everybody approves recklessness and imprudence of Sahakashvili who, among other things, brought an occupation army into the country. There are people in Russia, say 7 people for the first time and 25 for the second time, who ventured to go out into the square and publicly announce “Citizens, our motherland is in danger. Our tanks are on a foreign land”. Simply it vexes me that our politicians along with non-governmental organizations compelled Georgia to look like a country which wanted that war.

On the whole, I am very satisfied with my trip to Armenia. I got acquainted with good people. I made new friends. In fact, everything was new and interesting for me. Thanks to Georgi, I managed to take an interview from Armen Jigarkhanyan. This was my first debut. I had pleasure socializing with Irakli and Termuri, because despite of the differences in our political views, they supported and looked after me. In general, Luiza, Georgi, Irakli and Termuri helped me to believe in my own powers by admitting me to their company. I do thank them for everything.

You saw all the films. Were they interesting for you and for the audience, mainly for young people?

The films were very interesting. Some of them appealed to me and some of them interested me less. But all of them were interesting. People were sure to love them all. They were interesting especially for the audience from Eghegnadzor. As I understood such documentary films for them were a sort of new to them. And this is very good that they liked them all or otherwise the films made them look at the things at a different angle. What I liked more was the selection of the films from the point of view that the Southcaucasian conflicts were not shown in the films. Thanks to it the viewers saw how the conflicts looked from the outside and it follows that they noticed (not everybody, of course) that on either sides of the barricades there are innocent and guilty people who are as ordinary and common as they are.

What impressions do you have about the discussions after the screening of the films? Do you think they were necessary? Did the discussions take place as such, or they were also some failures?

Of course, it was necessary to hold discussions since those films could not but arouse some emotions among the people, give birth to new ideas which one is eager to share with others. But the question is: with whom should one share his ideas? As usual, one should share his views with his relatives in the kitchen? Anyone already knows what his relative or close person likes and what they dislike and what answer they will give and which words should be used in one’s ideas so that they would utter “Wow!”

It is another matter when you express your ideas and views in the presence of unknown and strange people when you never know how your views will be responded. In other words, in the second case there is an opportunity to learn something new which appears that not everybody discusses and debates as your boss or a university professor. In this regard, the Yerevan audience was better-prepared. Most of them knew what and how to speak. I think that some guys in Eghegnadzor delivered speeches in public for the first time in their lives on the subject of conflicts. It is not important whether their opinions coincided with my or Georgi Vanyan’s opinions. What matter more is that they did express their views and did their best to argue and debate. To my inexperienced view, there were no failures and all the discussions did take place and were a success. Hamlet on the whole corresponded to the Yerevan audience. And to his question whether Yerevan needs to have Blue Mosque and the answers of the audience were very demonstrative for me as an inexperienced man.

In Eghegnadzor Nana in the role of a presenter was very harmonious. Although in the beginning the young people were a sort of ashamed and one could see that they had come to listen rather than talk themselves. But Nana succeeded in making them talk. Hardly had the young people started talking when some “doctor” interrupted them by saying, “Why on Earth are you talking about politics! You are free to talk about anything but not politics! In fact, “Why has the “bear come to the ball?” I think, the last evening in Eghegnadzor was upset only by that incident. Even the boys left the hall after Georgi had reminded the audience that the Armenians in Karabakh were also good. I think, it also upset the mood of the evening. The discussions in Yerevan were held successfully. But again on the last day we, Georgian journalists, “drove Hamlet crazy”. At the very end of it, the local organizer of the festival pronounced a rather tedious, in my opinion, speech.

Thanks to the discussions, I formed an impression about the Armenian nationalists. To be frank, I was very amazed that they are not ashamed of expressing their evident Nazi views. In Georgia personally I have heard similar things very rarely. When comparing Georgian and Armenian nationalists I concluded that a Georgian nationalist is like the thief from the film “12 chairs” who felt ashamed to steal, but yet he could not but steal. An Armenian nationalist, on the contrary, is very simple-minded and is amazed sincerely when he is said that it is a shame.

Talking globally, in what do these two nations resemble each other and what separates them?

We have already talked about Armenian and Georgian nationalists. Now it is time to talk about normal people. I said about it in Yerevan and I will repeat once more: There are no differences between the nations of the South Caucasia from Mars. Once should seek differences and not resemblances. My father’s friend used to say: “All people are equal. I am telling you this as a Jew and an earl”. The mentality of an Armenian and a Georgian is sheer “Pativ and Namus”. Both Armenians and Georgians are light-minded people. That is the reason why life in our countries and in the South Caucasia on the whole is rather easier than, for example, in Europe and Russia. People are choleric subjects they easily get irritated and calm down very easily. Nevertheless, there exist 3 (three!) unsettled conflicts over the last twenty years. Apparently, somebody arouses hostility in us deliberately and earns incredible money on it. Either madmen or boring people work in the government and they have a very power tool in their hands that enables them to control national masses, in other words mass media. With the assistance of mass media, the Armenian Government, as I understand, is trying to steam thoroughly the idea of the national self-determination among peaceful Armenians from Javakheti.

Roughly speaking, I noticed three causes why the Armenian mass media remember Georgia. They are as follows: 1. Georgians are not trying to integrate Armenians from Javakheti into the public and political life; 2. According to Russian mass media, Georgians arranged an ethnic cleaning procedure in the South Ossetia; 3. Georgians admit acts of vandalism in the Armenian churches in Georgia. And the Georgian press replies back the following: 1. Armenians from Javakheti are missing Russian military bases in Akhalkalaki; 2. There still exist Russian military bases in Armenia (Georgians become very nervous when they hear the words “Russian military base”); 3. Together with people from Abkhazia and Ossetia, we are unable to understand the situation and here Dashnaktutyun from Javakheti upsets and disturbs the situation. As you can see, one can see complete negativity described in the press. What and to what extent is the truth? It is another matter. People already got used to believe in what is written, didn’t they?

If you wrote something about remarkable and bright impressions after the end of the festival, what or about whom would you write?

I had lots of bright impressions. I am afraid that all of them cannot be described here. But I will write about them later. What caught my eye in Yerevan were two girls, students from Slavonic University, Anna and Anahit. I had a warm communication with them. They nearly recruited our Temuri into pure-blooded Armenians providing that Karabakh is ours (Georgian’s). In general, the girls had a good sense of humor and were well-read. I also remember an episode behind the coulisse in Yerevan Dramatic Theatre after Sundukyan about which I promise to tell you in my notes about Yerevan. In Eghegnadzor I loved Nana and her family very much. Especially her grandmother. I felt positive energies emitting from her. She was able to “infect” everybody around by her energy and high spirits within a radius of 100 meters. She could serve as an example for people to be tolerant, patient and be in good form in relation with their neighbours, all our politicians, all our pseudo-peacemakers and quasi-democrats and not only ours. I cannot but remember Irina, a Russian-speaking refugee from Baku who had to forget about her education, interesting work and change her life in the capital and work as a waitress at the weekdays in Eghegnadzor. No doubt, Eghegnadzor is a good city but Irina’s eyes conveyed fatigue and hopelessness.

Just image that you are an organizer of the festival “I am a man”. The conditions are as follows: a Southcaucasian format, promotion of the ideas of the world and human rights, the screening of documentary films. What would your festival be like?

Generally speaking, it is hard for me to imagine myself in the role of an organizer. As a guest I can also say that the organizers did their best for the festival to take place. The only thing that could be done here was to advertise it wider. As for roughness taken place during the festival is through no fault of the organizers. In other words, my festival would be almost like this one. I lack any imagination and experience to introduce something.

Luiza Poghosyan
October 2008