Something important happened today.
Today is an international day against homophobia.
NGO Identity organizes a march on Rustaveli st. Around 40 people gather by Philarmonia by 1 P.M. and we start walking promptly. Crowd of journalists literally document every step we make. Obviously, not everybody wants to be close-captioned like that, risking to appear in tomorrow’s Asaval-Dasavali under statement like “pervert faggots trying to destroy our motherland”. But, if you came here, you have to be ready for public exposure—after all, you are making a statement!
All the bebias comment on what a pity it is that such nice young people are gay, some males swear, some people grab their phones to get this weird procession on camera. It is quite an event! I can already see tomorrow's news: "The First Ever Gay Pride Parade!" Only, this is no parade. Just a peaceful walk.
Picture this: leading the procession, a herd of people with mics and cameras, trying to walk backwards and still maintain balance, in order to capture colorful crowd of flags and posters approaching them; the marchers, trying to ignore swearing, and not to step on occasional cameraman who is right in their face, surrounded by curious bystanders and innocent pedestrians who are trying to figure out how to get out of this mess. Three police cars are parked by philarmonia in case of altercations. Enough to cause a sensation. but wait…
All the sudden, out of nowhere, a priest emerges. Are they patrolling the streets just in case something “indecent” takes place? He starts arguing with the walking crowd, which is O.K., but then, a dozen of bearded young men apparate out of thin air; these men start proving their point to anyone they can corner, rather violently. Rainbow flags keep moving, cameras greedily suck the tension, there is some arguing, some stupidity, “Look, he yelled at me, he is aggressive, look! How can you call yourself a liberal after this?!”- asserts one of the bearded death eaters, after some marcher can't stand all the swearing and answers back.
The pure-breeds with beards form a chain (by brotherly holding hands)and declare that they won’t let us pass and carry out such degrading activities, and though the moment is pretty serious, all I can hear is “wizard, thou shall not pass!”
Several people call the police, who all the sudden do not know where Rustaveli is and require long and detailed description. The marchers, stuck in traffic, are now experiencing a whole cascade of negative emotions bestowed upon them by bystanders who probably wanted to yell before, but felt that walking and yelling at the same time takes too much effort.Now they are feasting. Vegetable-sellers transform themselves into harpies, vomiting profanities. A woman with half-eaten ice-cream exercises screams worthy of a rock concert.
The marchers are trapped. In front of them—-bearded defenders of nation’s purity. Behind them and amongst them--men with cameras and girls with mics. Around them--women screeching “sazizgrebo, sazizgrebo”. I--frantically trying to answer work calls and explaining that I am out for my lunch break. and then…
and then I had to leave. and I do not know how it all ends. I don’t know if the marchers were beaten, ridiculed or if they kept on marching. I don’t know if the bearded men disapparated, or tore apart the posters. no news on any news channel yet. 3 P.M., May 17th.I am sitting here and writing. This is history in making.
...Please, God, let it be peaceful. Please, God, don’t let them hurt my friends.
To be continued...
Pic1: the chain of bearded men, journalists and the activists
pic2: Poster" Love Is Love"