The Human Rights House Tbilisi dedicated a Peace Week to the International Day of Peace
September 21 is an International Day of Peace. The Human Rights House Tbilisi dedicated the Peace Week to this day. Within a week, the HRHT organized several different events during a week, starting from September 21 to 23.
Monday, 26 September 2011
“For me peace starts from peace in soul which means both peace on family level and on global level as well. During August war in 2008, I had felt as if everything has finished, life has stopped. So, if there is no peace everything loses its significance. I think, there is a show of peace in Georgia, because each person still have a feeling that August war may happen again”,- said Nino Tlashadze, the participant of the Peace Week.
Youth Club at the HRHT opened the Peace Week with the discussion at the International Black Sea University (IBSU) on topic of Alternative Ways of Conflict Resolution. The main speaker were Ucha Nanuashvili (The Human Rights Centre) who talked about the peace campaigns in Georgia and their role in conflict resolution; Aleko Tskitoshvili (www.humanrigths.ge) talking about the role of Media in peace building. Nino Gvedashvili (HRHT) moderated the discussion.
“We should take specific steps towards peace. And war, which continues in our minds should come to end,”- said Ucha Nanuashvili in the beginning of the discussion.
Actually, the student participants of the discussion did not have much information about the peace campaign run in Georgia. Most of them learnt for the first time about the Sorry campaign run by the Human Rights Centre.
“Sorry campaign aims at reconciliation and restoring relationships between Georgian and Abkhaz people. According to the Human Rights Centre, asking for forgiveness for not avoiding war and violence, is the first step forward to the reconciliation. Forgiveness humbles harts and prepares for further relationships. Unfortunately, many Georgian citizens still consider that Abkhazian territory should be returned through war and violence. The other part of Georgian citizens remain just indifferent and perhaps they think that Abkhazia will be returned by itself and nobody should do anything,”- said Aleko Tskitishvili at the discussion.
Students also expressed their approach towards peace campaigns.
“It’s very difficult to ask for forgiveness or to accept it. One should be brave to ask for forgiveness… Abkhazians are our brothers and if you do not say sorry to your brother, what’s then?!”- comments Giorgi Ekvtimishvili, the president of the students’ self-government at IBSU.
The Peace Week has continued on September 21 with the street action on Rustaveli Avenue. Participants of the Action symbolically released 21 balloons to the sky with peace messages in Abkhazian, Ossetian and Georgian languages.
“I believe the essence of peace is freedom from violence. Abkhazian, Ossetian and Georgian people are deprived of right to enjoy this freedom. We cannot meet each other, get to know each other and make friends. My friends and I symbolically released balloons in the air with the expressions like hello, thank you, sorry and I love you in Abkhazian and Ossetian. Since we are not able to say this in person, we authorize balloons to carry the message,”- said, Nino Tsagareishvili.
On Thursday, 22 September, the Human Rights House Tbilisi together with the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) organized a round table on “Media and Conflict” for journalist working on conflict covering.
The main speakers were: Mamuka Kuparadze – video documentalist and the Director of “Studio Re”; Beka Bajelidze - Regional Director of the IWPR and Tea Tpuria, a freelance journalist. Sorena Latatia, the coordinator of the Media Centre at the HRHT moderated the discussion.
The aim of the round-table was to give journalists a better understanding of conflict covering and share experiences.
“The role of civil society is very big in confidence building process. There is a variety of opinions around this topic thus it’s important to organize such discussions and listen to alternative opinions,”- said Giorgi Kupatadze, the editor of IWPR Georgia office.
A new documentary of Studio Re - The Verdict of the August War – was presented at the meeting. The film contains the opinions of governmental officials, experts, journalists and general people from Georgian, Ossetia and Abkhaz sides, as well as interviews with foreign experts.
“Be careful when covering the conflicts and do not be the hunters of scandalous phrases. We should remember that this information will get not only your community, by the other side of conflict,”- said Mamuka Kuparadze.
At the end of the meeting, Tea Topuria shared her impressions from the visit in Cyprus where Caucasian journalists had five-day training on peace journalism. Abkhazian, Ossetian, Azeri, Armenian and Georgian journalists learnt the history of conflict in Cyprus and the perspectives of its resolution.
The Week ended with the discussion and films screening of Salome Jashi – Speechless. This is the films experiment which describes the tragedy of victims of August war in 2008 so that the filmed people do not speak at all. The psychologist Nato Zazashvili, the head of the Union Safari lead the discussion.
“Every time, when there is a film on war, you see blood and violence, but I liked most of all in this film that we could feel the human emotions only,”- said Nino Marshania, the participant of the discussion.
The film was emotionally very hard, but it influenced especially on Ziko, one of the participants who remembered August war.
“When watching this film, it revived my memories. I was there during August war…”- said Ziko and could not continue because of tears.
Psychologist Nato Zazashvili explained this fact as following: “after war, the memories may be revived and you try to avoid it. Sometimes you manage, but sometimes you don’t. The war trauma continues for a long and we just were the witnesses of such example.”
The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. This day is celebrated in the world though different events and actions.