MINORITIES IN GEORGIA

Collection with 29 media items created by TemoBardzimashvili ★★★★★

30 Sep 2012 20:00

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Ali Mekhriev in Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
31 Mar 2011

Ali Mekhriev in his garden in Abastumani. Ali was among the first to return to the village from where his father was deported in 1944. Ali says that his father had always told him that their family would one day return to Georgia. However, the return to Abastumani turned out to be not as smooth as one would have hoped for: the family home had long been leveled, and the locals gave them a rather cold and suspicious reception. Building peace with the Abastumani’s Christian community took a few years, and it did not come easy. “We have a perfect relationship now,” says Ali. “What really matters is the kind of person you are: if you are a reasonable person, you won’t have problems with others.”

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Mesketians move to Abastumani
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
01 Nov 2011

Alikhan Kuradze (at the wheel), 76, is taking help from the villagers to move to his new house in Abastumani, the village from where he was deported to Central Asia in 1944.

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Meskhetian Family
Nasakirali, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
12 Jul 2011

Meskhetian family in Nasakirali, Georgia.
In mid-November 1944, around 100,000 Georgian Muslims from the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti were deported to Central Asia. The vast majority of them were Meskhetians (or Meskhetian Turks). In the course of WWII, they were perceived by the Soviet government to be Turkey's potential allies. More than 60 years after the deportation, a few families managed to return to their ancestors' land.

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Minorities in Georgia (36 of 37)
Talaveri, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
15 Nov 2010

Villagers cut meat for Eid al-Adha festival near the mosque in Talaveri village, populated mostly by ethnic Azerbaijanis. In 2009 the construction of the mosque has stopped after a few Georgian Orthodox priests and members of ultra-religious organization The Union of the Orthodox Parents arrived to the village and demanded to stop the construction. The construction resumed in 2010 after the case was widely covered in the local media. The Union is notorious for its frequent protests, some of them ending with violence, against religious and sexual minorities, as well as public celebration of such "satanic" holidays as Halloween. Talaveri, 2010

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Minorities in Georgia (37 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
12 Oct 2012

Residents of one of Tbilisi's oldest districts Abanotubani (Bath District) play backgammon next to the dome of one of the baths. Keram Rashoev (left-most), a 46-year-old an ethnic Kurd and a local backgammon legend, says that in Abanotubani there are no ethnic differences and people treat each other based on the deeds, not a blood. "Politicians come and go, but in this district human relations remain the same," comments Rashoev on whether the politics can influence people's attitude towards in other. Tbilisi, 2012

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Minorities in Georgia (33 of 37)
Marneuli, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Jan 2012

A weekly cattle market near Marneuli, Georgia. Marneuli, a town in southern Georgia, close to both Armenian and Azerbaijani borders, is widely populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis, traditionally sheep and cattle herders. The market is a place of cattle trading not only for local Azerbaijanis, but also for Georgians, Armenians and others, who come here every sunday looking for a good deal.

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Minorities in Georgia (31 of 37)
Tbsili, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
13 Oct 2012

Residents of Abanotubani (Bath District), one of Tbilisi's oldest districts, enjoy tea at a local chaikhana. The Abanotubani chaikhanas have long become a symbol of ethnic tolerance. Here you can easily see Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, and Georgians sipping tea at one table, discussing local news, and planning common business.

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Minorities in Georgia (29 of 37)
Bolnisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
14 Oct 2012

A cross overlooks a few villages in Bolnisi region in Southern Georgia. Bolnisi region is traditionally populated mostly by ethnic and religious minorities, mostly Azerbaijanis. Such crosses are common throughout the country and are usually symbolically installed by local Orthodox priests and their congregation. In 2003 such cross was installed right at the town square of one of the biggest villages in Bolnisi region, populated mostly by Muslim Azerbaijanis. Offended, the villagers were ready to dismount the cross. After receiving the call about this incident sheikh of Georgia Vagif Akperov, then a mollah in Tbilisi mosque, told villigares to guard the cross day and night, so that nobody would touch it, while he settled the issue down with the Georgian Church officials. "It was a provocation," says Akperov. "Whoever installed this cross, wanted us to destroy it, in order to say later that we're aggresive towards Christian symbols." The case has been quickly settled and the cross has been removed peacefully.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 23 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
13 Jun 2011

Farida Dorsumova, a Meskhetian ninth-grader, laughs as she prepares comes out from behind the curtain during a performance dedicated to the high-school graduation. During the performance, classmates - ethnic Meskhetians, Ajarians and Ossetians, introduced each other by personal characteristics, danced and read poems in front of their teachers and other students. Dorsumova's family has recently returned to Georgia from Central Asia, where their ancestor's were deported to from Georgia in 1944.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 12 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
09 Apr 2010

A Roma community in Tbilisi. Roma are one of the most stigmatized small minorities in Georgia. “They are savages,” “they all should be in prison,” “are they human beings at all?” These are some of the answers for a poll conducted by journalists in the middle of Tbilisi. The question that random Georgians were asked was “what do you know about the Roma people?” In Georgia at best they are associated with street sellers, beggars, fortunetellers, that is people, who bother you while you’re walking in the street. In a worse case - they are thought of as thieves and swindlers.

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Minorities in Georgia (10 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
09 Apr 2010

A Roma community in Tbilisi. Roma are one of the most stigmatized small minorities in Georgia. “They are savages,” “they all should be in prison,” “are they human beings at all?” These are some of the answers for a poll conducted by journalists in the middle of Tbilisi. The question that random Georgians were asked was “what do you know about the Roma people?” In Georgia at best they are associated with street sellers, beggars, fortunetellers, that is people, who bother you while you’re walking in the street. In a worse case - they are thought of as thieves and swindlers.

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Minorities in Georgia (7 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Dec 2011

A Hanukkah prayer in Tbilisi synagogue. The Jewish communities of Georgia were oppressed during the Tzarist and Soviet times, but since the fall of the latter, the situation has improved dramatically.

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Minorities in Georgia (6 of 37)
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
13 Oct 2012

Roman Glonti, 42, a bathhouse attendant in Tbilisi baths. Glonti, born to Armenian father and Georgian-Iranian mother, has his mother's last name. He says that sulfur baths are the ultimate symbol for the multi-ethnic Abanotubani district. "There can be no quarrel between us, as the sulfur always soothes your mood," says Glonti jokingly. "We just weren't born in here, otherwise we spend a lot of time in the bath."

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
20 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011

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Tbilisi mayor in the synagogue
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
21 Dec 2011

Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava visits the city's synagogue during Hanukkah, to congratulate the Jewish community of Georgia. December 20, 2011

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After the Friady prayer in Tbilisi mo...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Roma beg at the entrance of Tbilisi mosque as worshipers are coming out after the end of the Friday prayer.

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After the Friday prayer in Tbilisi mo...
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Roma beg at the entrance of Tbilisi mosque as worshipers are coming out after the end of the Friday prayer.

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Waiting for the end of the prayer
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Roma children observe worshipers during the Friday prayer in Tbilisi mosque. After the prayer the Roma wait at the doors to beg.

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Sheikh of Georgian Muslims
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Vagif Akperov, Sheikh of Muslims of Georgia, inside the Tbilisi mosque.

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A Nigerian in Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Erunz Nelson, a 54-year-old immigrant from Nigeria, is watching Lia Lemonjava, a hairdresser sharing the same store, perforate a local girl's ears for her first earrings. Lemonjava, who has been working with Nelson for the last six years, says that his a very honest and reliable person. But best of all, she says, is that "he loves Georgians."

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A Nigerian in Tbilisi
Tbilisi, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
19 Oct 2012

Erunz Nelson, 54, an immigrant from Nigeria inside his store in Tbilisi. He arrived in Tbilisi in 1995, got married to a Georgian woman, and now owns a mixed goods store. He says back when he just arrived in Georgia, there were "only 3-4 black people [in Tbilisi]." He says that during the last fifteen years the situation with tolerance has changed significantly, Georgians "got used to the foreigners," and it became safer to go to the street after dark.

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Minorities in Georgia ( 24 of 37)
Abastumani, Georgia
By TemoBardzimashvili
18 Nov 2009

Ali Mekhriev (standing), a Meskhetian who recently returned to his ancestor's village Abastumani, is talking to the locals. Ali's father told him their family would one day return to their motherland, Georgia, where they were deported from in 1944 by the Soviet government.

However, upon their return they found problems in their native village of Abastumani. The family home had been leveled. And the mosque had been turned into a cattle shed by the village’s new Christian inhabitants, who were not happy to see the Meskhetians back. “’Go back to where you’re from,’ they told us,” says Ali. “You are not Georgians and we don’t need Muslims here.”

It took years for the Meskhetians to build a peace with Abastumani’s Christian community. “We have perfect relationship now,” says Ali. “The only thing that matters is the kind of person you are: if you are a normal person, you won’t have problems with others.”