Huckleberry Finn from Chuburkhinji
Over the weekend I arrived in Zugdidi to conduct a training. I was to explain people interested in conflictology the way the information on conflicts can be disseminated through blogs. The group, in addition to students, included 11 pupils, teenagers aged 14-15, of the public school of the Chuburkhinji village in Gali region. Media remembers us whenever robbery, kidnapping or any kind of incident takes place, said the boy looking like Huckleberry Finn. While pupils carry out various events - go on excursions to Akhali Atoni, the Ritsa Lake, meeting Abkhazians therein and jointly going sightseeing around the magic nature. They do organize concerts and sports tournaments. The events of the kind are provided no coverage in the Georgian media. We haven't watched any TV story on human history. We haven't read any story on friendship with the Abkhaz youth living the way their coevals do on the other side of the Enguri River. Media has neither paid attention to the Georgian and Abkhaz students meeting on the neutral territory, and being indifferent to politics, trying to worm out the sequence of toasts at table.
But instead we are eagerly and frequently reminded of horrific wartime stories. We keep talking about the winner and the loser in the war. We are constantly being informed of robberies, looting and shootings in the conflict zone. Good news is never being covered.
"Whenever they need a respondent they take my neighbor, and with a shawl around her head she is being portrayed as an eyewitness from Gali," said a girl from Zugdidi taking part in the training.
Huckleberry Finn from Chuburkhinji is telling me wonderstruck: "turning the TV on in the morning I learn from news that my neighbor has been robbed, while I have heard nothing."
Have you heard anything about Abkhaz writers, poets, musicians or artists? While there are many of them. You might fail to record one from Sokhumi but it is not that hard to find a talented person in Gali, no one has tried though. Just like boys from Chuburkhinji I don't understand either why robbing is more interesting than the story of friendship of Georgian and Abkhazian youth.