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I am an Abkhaz, by Irakli Kakabadze

Irakli Kakabadze | Special to Abkhaz World

20 years ago we were fighting for Georgian independence against the Soviet Empire. It was a just cause. Georgians deserved to be free and independent as well as other republics of former Soviet Union. Georgians and Abkhaz both deserved the independence and freedom from Imperialist rule.

Now 20 years after the end of Cold War Caucasian nations are locked in militarist struggle for territories. Russian forces are still there in addition to American forces.  The idea of Nation-State in the Caucasus has not worked.  While it might be giving freedom to one nation it is enslaving and discriminating against the other. In this situation many innocent people have died in so called ethnic wars in the Caucasus.

My great grandfather was a last Abkhaz Prince, MIkheil Shervashidze (Chachba). So I have both Kartvelian and Abkhaz blood in myself. And I cannot find one side guilty in this senseless war – there were criminals on both sides and there were power thirsty politicians on both sides too.  Main problem in this conflict was militarization of the whole region. Russians and Georgians have both contributed to this. Saakashvili’s presidency is marked by extreme militarizing of Georgia and turning this country into military-police state. As everyone knows Russia is also not the beacon of democracy and it has its own problems with militarism.

Amongst all these politicians there is only one guy, Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh, who has proposed de-militarized Caucasus.  He has proposed that Caucasian States demilitarize. I completely agree with him and I completely support his initiative. Demilitarization is the best way for keeping peace in the Caucasus. Abkhaz deserve as much independence as Georgians or Russians. They are not inferior to anyone. They should not be forced to speak any other language and they should be given all rights that any nation deserves.

In the end, the nation-state system does not work in the Caucasus. Perhaps after getting independence Caucasian Nations decide the voluntarily restore Caucasian Union. But that should be done only after their equality is insured.

I want to say that I am Abkhaz and I support the demilitarization of Caucasus. I support Sergei Bagapsh, because he is the only sane politician in the Caucasus.

I hope the world will listen to him.

The Author is Oxfam/PEN Award winner an the author of “Candidate Jokola” the love story between Georgian and Abkhaz. He was forced to leave Georgia after being arrested by Saakashvilis militarist regime number of times in 2006. He now works at Cornell University, USA.

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