Today is Giorgoba in Georgia – St. George’s Day. It is also the anniversary of the Rose Revolution.
The Rose Revolution is the most famous event in recent Georgian history and was sparked by disputed parliamentary election results in November 2003.
Massive anti-government demonstrations started in the streets of Tbilisi and spread to almost all other cities and towns of Georgia.
On November 22, President Shevardnadze attempted to open the new session of parliament but supporters of the major opposition parties, led by Mikheil Saakashvili, burst into the session with roses in their hands (hence the name Rose Revolution), forcing the president to flee. Mikheil Saakashvili walked to the podium, faced the cameras, and drank the departed president’s glass of green tea!
That was the Rose Revolution. Not one person was injured, not a drop of blood was spilled.
Shevardnadze resigned the next day. Two months later, in January 2004, Mikheil Saakashvili, 36, was elected the country’s new president with 96 percent of the vote.
The tall person is a great admirer of Mikheil Saakashvili, who is affectionately known as Mischa. He says that he is a man of vision and determination who has worked hard to reform and modernise Georgia.
In a recent post about the 11th century church in the tall person’s ancestral village of Stogursey in the County of Somerset, England, I mentioned that there is also a castle.
The castle was built by the De Courcy family in the late 11th century and is surrounded by a water-filled moat.
The castle was largely destroyed in the mid-fifteenth century during the War of the Roses and only parts of the outer walls remain today.
In the early seventeenth century a house was built on the site of the castle gatehouse.
The house, which has a thatched roof, was restored in the 1980s and is now used as holiday accommodation.
What a beautiful place to stay!
I saw a man who sells brushes recently, not the traditional handmade brushes but modern brushes.
He was walking down the street carrying an array of brightly colored nylon bristle brushes like a modern day chimney sweep.
The tall person said that he expected the man to burst into song at any moment and entertain us all with a frantic dance routine from the movie ‘Mary Poppins’. He didn’t but it was nice to imagine that.
Seeing the man who sells modern brushes reminded us that ‘progress’ marches on. Perhaps this man and his nylon bristle brushes is in the vanguard of modernity, marching into the future alongside the new roads and bridges and buildings being built throughout Georgia.
But I hope that not everything from the past, which makes up the beautiful soul of this great country, is not swept away to make room for the new.
The man who sells modern brushes walked on and so did we.
We later saw these traditional handmade brushes laid on a pile of lavender. They looked beautiful and we paused to admire them.
Behind them we saw stacks of brightly colored plastic bowls.
We both hoped that the beautiful handmade brushes that were laid on the pile of lavender did not represent a glimpse of a bonfire of the future where all beautiful, natural things are discarded and replaced by plastic and nylon and other synthetic materials.