Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to save Georgia

As voices are raised within Georgia against President Mikheil Saakashvili, Salome Zurabishvili, leader of the Georgia's Path opposition party, explains the real situation to RFE/RL, and argues that to rally round the president is not equivalent to support for him as an individual, but is instead perhaps the only way to save the country from destruction by Russia. No president is capable of doing this this acting alone and unaided:

I repeat once again -- now, first and foremost, everything possible should be done to ensure that the Russian forces withdraw from Georgia. At the moment, no other matter is more important for Georgia's survival. We are facing a simple, yet tragic question -- whether or not Georgia, as a [sovereign] state, will continue to exist. This is the reason why I am against all kinds of street protests, or [calls to] oust the government. I have repeatedly said that at this moment, there can be no political opposition and its activities, because right now being in opposition means opposing your own country.

No single person -- and now I'm referring to Misha [President Saakashvili] -- should harbor the illusion that he will be able to save this country on his own. This is complete nonsense. I hope he understands that this loyal attitude is not directed toward him, but rather toward the entire country. He must try to form a certain "redemption group" together with other forces. I don't call this a government, a coalition, or a cabinet of ministers. This should be a special group, working to save the country. Either [Saakashvili] realizes that this is what's necessary, or himself falls victim to this tragedy. There can be no other way.

History demonstrates that not a single country has managed to come out of such crisis with the efforts of just one man -- unless all forces came together and stood united.

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