« Happy Sarkozoba » (Day of Sarkozy) – that was the greeting that could be heard today in the streets of Tbilisi, Georgia. As Nicolas Sarkozy, was in the city, Georgians were requisitioned from all over the country, to offer a devoted audience to the French President.
By Nana Naskidashvili
Sarkozy is currently paying an official visit of three days in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. And the show must go on. According ‘The Liberali Magazine’, Tbilisi Mayor’s wrote a request letter asking Micha Saakachvili, President of Georgia, to make the 7th of October a national holiday. Saakashvili fulfilled the request and this Friday, most of Tbilisi residents were not working.
The yellow buses, emblematic of the city, were full of people. Most of them, mainly employed in the public sector, were even carried to Tbilisi from different regions of Georgia, all converging to Freedom Square of Tbilisi, where the speech of Sarkozy was supposed to be hold.
It was like a duty for them : if not formally requisitionned by the Georgian government, most of those local people wouldn’t have come to Tbilisi. Georgian government tried of course to keep “this special order” in secret, but the information still leaked.
Official Grigol Skhulukhia, from the city of Zugdidi -a town in Western georgia- told Liberali’s journalist that the « case of meeting Sarkosi » was even discussed at the council meeting. « Of course we will go to Tbilisi because we do not want to be an exception », – said Mr. Skhulukhia.
According Gela Mtivlishvili, the head of the Kakheti Information Center, a mobilization of teachers was also held in Kakheti (Eastern Georgia). As a result, dozens of teachers, school principals, library directors and regional municipality representatives marched down the Rustaveli Street towards the Freedom Square.
In his speech, Sarkozy sounded like Saakashvili himself – « Your roads were reconstructed and infrastructure of your country was developed. Your police buildings are transparent. I feel like I am in Europe when I am in Georgia.» Saakashvili added, copying Georgia’s former Prime Minister Zurab Jvania: “We all are Georgians and therefore we are Europeans”.
To poke a fun at the Big Friday, a special page was launched even on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/sarkozoba?sk=wall .
« Sarkozoba », the name of the page, already gathered 1, 657 likes. « Thanks for liking it. We laughed a lot, but perhaps we should have rather cried », – wrote the user Sarkozoba (სარკოზობა) on its wall. « But what can we do.. Bye all till Obam-oba ! »
In the meantime, holding the thorny stems of roses without the roses themselves, NGO and opposition party representatives held a conter-demonstration party on the other end of Rustaveli Street. They wished to tell the world that the situation in Georgia is not the way Saakashvili tries to make it look like.
At the end of the day, young Georgians, wearing with ropes around their necks, protested against the way Georgians were brought from all over the country to take part to this « kitsch mascarade ». After spending only 3 hours in Georgia, Sarkozy left for France. Presidential baby is expected from one minute to another.