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Our Path To Europe And National Revival: The End Of The Post-Soviet Ex0dus

It is no secret that politically, Georgia is very much a divided nation. And yet what we have seen in the past few years is the absolute polar opposite: we have seen more national unity, a heightened sense of “oneness” and community among Georgians all over the country, and a heightened perception of “Georgianness”. It was precisely the impetus for EU candidacy (and now the impetus to join the European Union) that has served as a unifying force, across all ideological and political boundaries.


At the forefront of this sense of unity are the newer generations, the Georgian youth. Their great stride towards Europe is reminiscent of the great biblical story of the Exodus. Moses and the freed Jewish slaves wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching the promised land and establishing a truly free state, so that before the establishment of a free state the old Generation of Jews, with the mentality and culture of slaves, would be replaced by a new generation of men born and raised in freedom. The Georgian generations of the past thirty-or-so years have truly been brought up in a free society, and therefore the generations that will lead Georgia back to its European foundation. Every school, every university, every youth organization, across any line, stands to support the great European idea and endeavor, to propel Georgia toward the European Union. This includes GZAAT, its teachers, and its student body.


As one of the 10th-grade students Erekle Suluashvili says: “For a very long time, it has been a dream of the Georgian people to join the EU. We have already taken the first steps and attained candidate status - we have labored greatly to do so and certainly deserve it. There are some areas in which we must still make progress, but overall, Georgia, with such a population, is a country ready and willing to join Europe.”


There is a reason Georgia’s strive toward Europe is so incredibly strong. By foundation, religion, culture, by values, Georgia has been a European Nation, built by people of European values and mentality, for thousands of years. Before the advent of Christianity, Georgians tied themselves to Europe through relations and cultural exchange with the beacon of European civilization, Rome. Then, with Rome, Georgians accepted Christianity, and walked a common path with European states throughout the Middle Ages, culminating in a great work of European Renaissance values - centuries before the actual “Renaissance” - the Meskhetian Poet’s, Shota Rustaveli’s “Knight in Panther Skin”. For another thousand years, Georgians fought against Eastern influences, against the threat of Islam, against petty conquerors, maintaining  Christianity, great European values, commitment, individuality, and spirit.


10th grader Nikoloz Liluashvili thinks that: “Our history is European, and our culture is European. Europe is our destination, and through the great efforts of both our government and our people, we’ve managed to get candidacy.” 


When Georgia re-emerged, once more independent in 1991 from Soviet tyranny, we raised our five-crossed flag of millennia proudly once more: because the State, any “organization”, is temporary and transient. What is eternal, immortal, and never-ending, is the idea of the Nation, its culture, and values, reemerging throughout history to take the transient form of a State.


“The EU candidate status is a great achievement for Georgia, which our country has been aspiring towards for decades. The EU will bring economic growth, better education, scientific advancement, it will give our youth countless opportunities, and overall better the quality of life.” says student Ana Ckhaidze “Georgia is and always will be Europe.”


“Georgia’s place is in Europe, and all of us want to join the European Union;” - says student Demetre Tskhadadze - “I have never met a single Georgian not full of drive and desire to do so. Georgia is already European, and it always has been. It’s only a matter of time for us to be ultimately recognized.”


We return, as many discussions do, to the great question posed by Ilia Chavchavadze: What is it that makes a man human? It is his passion, his drive, and his will to live, to succeed, to conserve, protect, and develop what was left to him by his ancestors for his descendants. Such is the European spirit shared by the Georgian people. It is man’s hope for the future, respect for the past, and sparkle of drive in the present that makes him human.


On this topic, there is no division, and as the echoes of the whispers of ancient mountains, and the winds of the Caucasus, merge with the modern aspirations of our time, there is only unity in spirit; it is not simply our wish to join the European Union, rather, it is our centuries-long calling and our duty - to our ancestors, to ourselves, and our descendants.


Edited by: Sofi Asatiani



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