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Good weather is better than bad!?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, April 6
How can a normal man doubt this? However a Russian saying goes, “the worse the better.” How should we regard the events unfolding around us? Georgian society is currently facing this dilemma as April 9 approaches.

Of course dialogue is better than confrontation. As former UK Ambassador to Georgia Donald MacLaren has written in his open letter to President Saakashvili, “… listen to them. And not just… have ‘dialogue’ for its own sake”. This is the most crucial point. To listen and to act accordingly, we should add.

But let us analyze a little. Is dialogue only the act of sitting at a table in a certain situation and talking over the most important issue of that day? Or it is a process which takes place daily, permanently, including the sitting at table to discuss emergencies but also making telephone calls, exchanging opinions publicly on TV and radio, in newspapers, Parliament, elsewhere; various sides listening to each other, taking into consideration opposing arguments, deciding what would be better for the country, accepting pluralism of opinions, etc. and regarding such conduct as obligatory? We think that the second option is a more appropriate definition of the dialogue the state and statesmen should conduct.

Today the general opinion is that the opposition is frustrating attempts to hold dialogue by refusing to sit and discuss current issues or possible future developments with the administration. However this opinion can be challenged. Unfortunately for the country it is the administration itself which has permanently ignored alternative opinion and destroyed any possibility of dialogue taking place.

Let us take different examples. The authorities are suggesting making amendments to the Elections Code now, but the opposition has called for this several times over a long period. The authorities are suggesting amendments to the Constitution limiting Presidential powers now, but in 2004 the President’s powers were increased as soon as Saakashvili was elected, despite the fact that the opposition, backed by European structures, was desperately trying to prevent further violation of the democratic flavour of the Constitution. Are these not instances of the Government ignoring attempts at dialogue and refusing to listen to or consider alternative opinions?

Let us also take the Girgvliani case, where the people of Georgia demanded the objective trial and punishment of those who executed the young man and those who ordered them to do so. What has happened? The bosses have never come near being brought to account and the murderers have been pardoned by bypassing the Pardon Commission. Is all this not also an example of the Government’s refusal to conduct interactive dialogue with the people?

We are pretty sure too that the escalation of confrontation in the conflict zones, which eventually led to the loss of the territorial integrity of the country and the occupation of the conflict zones by Russia, was the result of lack of dialogue with Russia and, more dramatically, with our own citizens resident in the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia. We could quote quite a number of examples. These however are the most dramatic ones, which have had a significant impact on the current developments in the country and the general mood of the population.

The resources for dialogue are never exhausted but if the authorities want to conduct a genuine dialogue with Georgian society this must be visibly oriented on achieving specific results as quickly as possible.