The day of national unity

Yesterday was the Day of National Unity (ეროვნული ერთიანობის დღე) in the Republic of Georgia. It commemorates a massacre that took place in Tbilisi on April 9 1989 when an anti-Soviet demonstration was dispersed by the Soviet Army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered before the House of Government on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi in peaceful demonstration, demanding the restoration of Georgian independence.

In the evening of April 8 Soviet forces were mobilized. The Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II addressed the demonstrators, warning of the danger posed by the Soviet troops and asking asking them to disperse to the safety of churches. Despite this plea the demonstrators remained

On April 9, at 3:45 a.m., Soviet troops advanced on the demonstrators.  As the troops came close, the demonstrators kept singing and dancing to show the nonviolent nature of the gathering.

Suddenly the troops began attacking the demonstrators with batons and spades.  One of the victims was a 16-year-old girl who tried to get away from the soldiers, but was chased down and beaten to death near the steps of the government building.

Gas was also used against the demonstrators.

The attack resulted in the death of 20 people, among them 17 women.

The event marked a transformation in Georgians’ mentality, which unified the nation.

A blind woman at the demonstration sang a Georgian patriotic song as the Soviet troops advanced. Her voice can be heard on a video taken at the time.

On a walk recently we saw a blind musician singing the same song and we stopped and listened and remembered the terrible tragedy that took place on April 9 1989.

Street art

On my walk today I found this street art……………in the middle of the street!

I like the way the street artist has blended natural and synthetic materials and wrapped them in a yellow ribbon. The inclusion of a tire is inspirational and is clearly a comment on society’s dependence upon the motor vehicle.

I admire the determination of the artist. It must have taken some effort to dig that hole!

I love khinkali!

De’s sister Mari came to see us yesterday and we had a Khinkali party. Khinkali is a popular Georgian dish made of twisted knobs of dough, stuffed with meat and spices.

De and Mari made our Khinkali.

In this photo you can see the Khinkali in different stages of preparation.

The idea is to make as many pleats as possible as you bunch the dough around the filling.

The dumplings are cooked in salted, boiling water for 12 to 15 minutes.

The Khinkali are served hot with no garnish other than black pepper.

There is an art to eating Khinkali. The doughy top, where the pleats all meet, is never eaten, but used as a handle for holding the hot dumplings. Here is a picture of the tall person demonstrating the technique and making sure none of the delicious meat juices escape!

Barnaby and me also had our share of the delicious Khinkali. Here we are demonstrating our technique!

I love Khinkali!

Tire man launches new product for less confident swimmers

I walked past the tire man’s shop yesterday and noticed that he has expanded his stock to include flotation aids for swimmers. You will see from the photo that he has displayed an inflated tire inner tube on the awning outside his shop. I suppose now that Spring has arrived children will be eager to go swimming again and nervous swimmers may be seeking the extra reassurance of a flotation aid.

I think that it is admirable that the tire man has considered the needs of less confident swimmers.

The key to fitness

On my walk today I noticed that a new fitness studio has opened. The complex also contains a locksmith shop.

I am not usually surprised by the retail partnerships that I see in Tbilisi but I had to think hard about the rationale for this particular business model.

I suppose if you have locked yourself out of your home it is safer to work out your frustrations in a gym whilst your new key is being cut, rather than risk climbing a drain pipe to get in through an open window.

Her garden travels with her!

Do you miss your garden when you are out? I know I do. On my walk today I noticed that someone had found the perfect solution for people who miss their flowers and plants when they go shopping.

This clever gardner has attached her garden to her bicycle so that wherever she goes her garden goes with her!

I am not surprised that this gardner never wants to leave her garden – her flowers are beautiful!