A Personal Disclosure. Me and Saakashvili.

October 23, 2006

Blogging is not about media ethics. But accountability and transparency, I believe, is necessary.

I never intended this blog to be about the Russia-Georgia conflict, but in the last few days I have been drawn to write on this topic. Hence, I have a disclosure to make about a personal bias.

Two and a half years ago, as Georgia had its President Saakashvili sworn in, my cousin’s husband was incarcerated by this new administration. The arrest was political in nature and charges have never been laid since the arrest. It’s been over two years, but the confinement continues.

The Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross and others (I had started a petition) have been involved but without success. Gia Vashakidze continues to be held in a Georgian prison, while his wife (my cousin) is left to raise her child alone in Moscow — and not able to visit her husband.

Because of this, it is sometimes hard for me to accept President Saakashvili’s discourse of freedom. The reason Gia Vashakidze was incarcerated was because he supported a different candidate for the presidency (not Saakashvili); Gia was also an influential General and a deputy defense minister. In his bed for the presidency, Saakashvili thought that sometimes it’s worth to take some freedom away.

Obviously this issue doesn’t make me completely disregard Georgia’s position, but a bias is there. And I feel a need to admit it.

I will try to write on Georgia without compromising a certain level of integrity that I feel I have. But I know that sometimes my emotions may run ahead of me. I apologize in advance.

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