A group of about 20 activists from the Human Rights Center in Georgia strolled down the central streets of Tbilisi on a mission to spread peace. Holding “Peace of Zone” stickers written in English and Georgian, they gathered near the Rustaveli metro station to celebrate International Peace Day. Each activist held hundreds of stickers, which they handed to passersby.
“We are handing out stickers today to people with the sign ‘Peace Zone’ and call upon everyone to spread peace,” Human Rights Center activist Shorea Latatia said. “I think that today peace is the most important thing for the public.”
After about 10 minutes at the metro station, the activists split into two groups — one heading to Tbilisi State University and the other to Freedom Square. The university group plastered city walls with stickers and stopped to explain their meaning to passersby. One man performing road maintenance work was eager to receive a sticker, although he had no idea what it meant.
“Today is a day of peace. Take a sticker,” one activist said.
“Hmm. That’s great,” he replied with a smile.
The demonstration is interesting and encouraging as peace is an important issue that interests many people, activist Esma Berikishvili said.
When the activists arrived at the university, they stopped and waited for the launch of a theatrical performance by actor Nikoloz Lutidze.
The actor wrapped himself in paper and lied down on the road, crawling and struggling to stand up. He rose up slowly and began to tear off the paper, symbolizing the peoples’ fight against media pressure. A car soon appeared, stopped, picked him up and drove off.
“This idea shows that the average person in modern society – especially Georgia – is under ideological pressure,” activist Anna Natslishvili said. “His conscience is influenced by mass media, which delivers military propaganda.”
The performance triggered mixed reactions. Some smiled, while others booed the performance and left the area.
Tamara Kobakhidze, a local television journalist covering the story, said she liked the performance, and was saddened by the public’s attitude.
“I was shocked when I filmed the performance and saw their reaction,” she said. “People were not even watching.”
International Peace Day is celebrated worldwide Sept. 21. The UN initiative began in 1981. The UN headquarters rings the Peace Bell annually to begin the day.
Georgia Today, 25.09.09