Is Georgia Slipping?

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As you may know, I used to live in the Republic of Georgia. This is where my husband is from and where I met him so I will always have an interest in what is going on in the country. At least weekly, I make sure to read through Georgian news headlines to keep current and aware of what is going on. After all, I am assuming we will go back and live there for periods of time throughout our lives. I would definitely be open to moving there occasionally for one year periods at a time.

In the last while, I have to say, there are many things going on in the country that have gotten my attention! I always like to think positive and that Georgia is always improving itself (the definition of improving will mean different things to different Georgians-whether economic, in human rights, infrastructure etc). However, sometimes I come across articles that make me also wonder… Is Georgia Slipping? I cannot say yes or no either way as I am no expert and the information available to me may or may not be reliable. But, just have a look at some of these crazy headlines and articles that caught my attention.

Virginity Checks for Brides To Be -Really? This article makes Georgia sound a bit ridiculous. Only goes to show why many people refer to the country jokingly as the White Middle East. There was a follow up article elsewhere that stated these checks were only done in rape and abuse cases. Sure…

Anti-Gay Riots in Tbilisi-This made international news! A mob of thousands descended down upon a small group of peaceful LGBT demonstrators in a fury of violence. They were led by orthodox priests and the video footage is crazy. Many Georgians believe homosexuality is sinful as most are Orthodox Christians. However, many of these same people have no issue with prostitution-but then they also blame this on the Russians and Turks…

Monument to Stalin Restored-A giant statue of Stalin is restored in his hometown of Gori. This time, instead of the center of town, it is in front of the museum dedicated to Stalin. I am always amazed at how many Georgians do not feel Stalin was responsible for countless deaths. Of course, as part of the Soviet Union, they would have been educated out of Soviet textbooks that may not quite reflect Stalin as a negative character. The current president (for now) had some choice words about this which I found amusing.

Low Income No Barrier for Buying Luxury SUVs– All I can say that it is probably men who are buying luxury SUVs they cannot afford and not the women! I was shocked how many fancy cars people drove.

Police Brutality Still a Concern-Despite the major reforms with police within the last 10 years, police brutality is an issue. But, this is an issue in most countries to some degree or another.

16 Year Old Girl Brutally Murdered-This piece seemed to shock all the Georgians I know. Murders are fairly rare in the country. It will be interesting how this affects opinion on immigrants and foreigners. I know the backlash is already starting against some groups.

Prison Abuse Scandal-Who knows what the truth is or not but some people say that these videos were fakes released before an election to oust the then current party. Others say this was really going on. Either way, very disturbing.

Friday Prayers Disrupted in Kakheti-When I was in Georgia I lived in the most Muslim state (only 30-ish% Muslim) and did not feel Georgia was very anti-Islam. Islam in Georgia is more cultural than really religious compared to most other countries I have visited. The rest of the country is quite a bit less tolerant of Georgian Muslims. The beating of the wife is shocking and anti-Islamic sentiment seems to be growing.

Quality of Life Index in Georgia has Fallen Since 2012– Hmmm….I never know what to think of such reports. So many factors. But, the good news is that Tbilisi is doing the best in the region!

Russia-Georgia Fence Mending Hits a Snag-Some time back the Russians started putting up metal fences near the borders of disputed states. Georgia claims these fences are 300 meters further into Georgian territory than the actual border. The fences have divided villages into half. No resolution yet but the status of these states was what led to the last war in 2008.

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