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When a Pawn Is Not Only a Pawn

Can political culture exist in the absence of the spiritual values necessary to restore equilibrium amid the turmoil of the world?

By Zura Shiolashvili  

The Georgian Parliament Building in Kutaisi. In January 2019 parliament returned to the Georgian capital Tbilisi. © Berdo Maghularia/Wikimedia Commons

When a Pawn Is Not Only a Pawn

Can political culture exist in the absence of the spiritual values necessary to restore equilibrium amid the turmoil of the world? No doubt, we have moved beyond that period of history in which the development of states was for the most part dependent on an empty frame of power expressed through the rulers’ brutal ideology but today in our scientific epoch we see that politics sets itself the task to pursue such questions as are related to national culture, humanities, social science and sociology down to their main psychological roots. And devoid of spiritual components in these roots, dealing only in materialist superficialities of animal nature, political consciousness comes to look like some emaciated bacteria, which in its dwindling potential and degraded inclinations, also becomes easy prey to a barbaric virus; thus has political consciousness itself been infected by an autocratic instinct upon which human life is now completely dependent. This autocratic instinct (in sum: politics) threatens human life like a demonic virus, restricts man’s rights, and is reducing rationality to the level of animal existence lived in a state of fear. Such is also the case when the word “politics” has more value for nations than the word “education,”and the constant political cackling is revealed to be a new disease in which the many clever idiots perceive their democratic rights and powers to reside.

In light of these developments which are unfolding in parallel across the spectrum of the world’s political problems, what can be said about the political situation today in one of the oldest nations, Georgia? Soon after Georgian Dream retained its majority position in the Georgian parliament after 31st October 2020 (disputed by opposition parties who calimed that the election was rigged) oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, a pioneer of this party, quit the political scene, so he avows. Nevertheless, the main opposition, the former ruling party United National Movement, which has always accused him of playing a double game with the west, still considers him to be the de facto ruler of Georgian Dream, while many consider that he remains the Kremlin’s man.

But if it is true, for a clear judgment we need to look at this reality from a different angle, and ask ourselves: were Ivanishvili indeed a pro-west billionaire, would Georgia today be in a better condition in terms of its economic problems, sovereignty and territorial integrity? Can we fairly say it would be in a better condition, knowing that up until now 20% of Georgia’s territory, Abkhasia and Samachablo (as is called “South Ossetia,” ) remains controlled by Russia, and all the support we have seen from the west has been strictly limited to verbal expressions of concern? And what additional arguments do we hear from Georgian politicians in this regard? Don’t our  “patriotically wise” Georgian politicians need to deepen their global knowledge for sake of adequate strategic moves, instead of establishing new political parties? And do they not, in their with their superficial materialist patriotism, only increases  the political chaos? in their materiliast superficiality? As to oligarch Ivanishvili, certainly, I am far from claiming that he is a simply successful figure within  Georgia’s political scene with his oligarchic erudition to rule the country, yet because of the political crisis in Georgia and his financial involvement with former president Saakashvili’s government of the United National Movement, his philanthropy has involuntarily been caught in the trap of political power. As for his main opponents from the former government who still suffocate in politics (the United National Movement), they can never be representatives of national culture within Georgian politics with their superficial materialist consciousness, nor I am afraid can their radical followers in their cognitive blindness. What did Georgia ever receive from the United National Movement when they were in power, with their brutal ideology dressed up as democracy and saddled by their chief? A bitter lesson once learned does not require to be relearned!

Now a word about the chaotic wisdom expounded by observers in the west, and how it impacts Georgia’s democracy today. The recent arrest of Mr. Melia, the new opposition leader of the United National Movement, rang bells of alarm in the foreign diplomatic mind, which sought strategic partnership with Georgia. It is clear that none of the world’s political parties possesses a winged angel within their ranks, and the ruling party Georgian Dream does so neither. However, the vehement reaction to this arrest expressed by some European diplomats and American congressmen seems to be hypocritical and subjective. Mr. Melia was arrested for disobedience concerning wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet and failing to pay a bail fine of 40,000 lari (a bit less than £10,000) in relation to article 225 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, on charges of organizing groups which intended violence or participated in it during the 20-21 June 2020 rally before the Parliament of Georgia in Tbilisi. Some American congressmen wagged their fingers, seeing in this arrest a real threat to democracy in Georgia; though our American partners were so parsimonious with their diplomatic wisdom as to find not even a single word to spare when torture and rape were systematic under the previous government of Georgia, even when all criminal accusations have been thoroughly documented and videotaped?! Or perhaps their protest regarding Mr. Melia’s arrest was more to do with the limited degree to which he showed disobedience of law, after four of Trump’s supporters died during the attack on the Capitol building and very many more arrested? As a result, in any case, the popularity of the arrested Mr. Melia and his opposition supporters has increased worldwide.

I understand that Mr. Melia’s arrest might be considered an overly strict measure, and his case might be arguable; yet none of the foreign diplomats including those American congressmen have publicly expressed to the opposition parties of Georgia that the court decision must first be obeyed in order to respect the legislation, as a basis for any actions thereafter. Rather, with their “democratic” tune they have thrown oil on the fire instead, encouraging more opposition rallies and instability. It is very difficult to see how can we establish our spiritual virtues through the medium of democracy in the face of such double standards in relation to the disobedience of the law. Hence, the mission of the arrested Mr. Melia probably soars further and higher, to become either the “Lenin” of his party under a new revolution or perhaps a modern “Spartacus” whose disobedience frees his followers from slavery, to the loud applause of foreign diplomats?! I would not bet on any of these heroes having any chance of success with the aid of such political chatter, but political instability, infected by a degraded virus, is truly guaranteed!

On the other hand, if the Georgian ruling party on its route to democracy cannot be trusted in its manipulations and incapacity—since there is no smoke without fire—and if this flame for democracy truly burns within Georgia’s government, and its policy is failing like an emaciated bacteria, then, in the interest of democracy and its spiritual values in both Georgia and the west, American congressmen and other foreign representatives have an obligation to exert more pressure on the Georgian Government, without playing a double game in democracy and fishing in troubled waters! For the distance between hypocrisy and betrayal is short indeed, and this is the moment when the political crisis is knocking upon on Georgia’s door. Whereas, beyond diplomacy, when you try to sacrifice a pawn for the interest of your state, you should take into account the fact that that pawn might in the end prove superior over your authority and knowledge, and will in turn treat you like a simple pawn! As to political philosophy, in its spiritual part and wisdom, I would  advise you:

“The governor of a jackass is not the one which sits on the jackass, but the one who presides over the one sitting on the jackass!” (Shiolashvili, The Prelude of Divine Wisdom in the Art of Aphorism,p. 64)

“Victory does not reside in the presence of glee—but in the presence of beauty.”(Shiolashvili, The Prelude of Divine Wisdom in the Art of Aphorism,p. 86)

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