My Blog List

Monday, April 29, 2013

TEDx Tbilisi

I really wanted to attend the TEDx talk this year, just like the last year, when I thought about it and thought about it and while I was thinking, people filled out the application forms and spots. This year, the moment I heard about the TEDx, I was determined not to repeat my mistake; so I procrastinated again and was late to register again…I pestered organizers to put me on a wait list, which they did and I received a confirmation letter  summoning me to buy a ticket on Saturday; due to this special TEDx curse I’m carrying, I read Sunday instead of a Saturday and thus was unable to capture the snitch tickets…I obnoxiously E-mailed and Facebooked organizers again, plus my friend, who was speaker last year (see him talk), also wrote them and then I got 3 confirmations from different people that they will let me in, I guess just to shut me up.
Hence, I showed up at the right place at the right time (it’s a miracle I did not end up mixing the dates).  The event was well-organized, it started on time, cell phones did not ring, no speakers got bombarded with rotten tomatoes, we were not plagued by endless text powerpoints, MMK did not make an anti-talking-about-issues-that-are-sinful appearance…
Despite the fact that some foreign speakers clearly presented better and some Georgian ones actually sucked, the people that stuck in my memory are all  local.
Firstly, I would like to mention Tatia Vashalidze’s speech about sexism in Georgia. I honestly did not expect such a powerful speech, probably because the subject is so dear to my heart and I hold everyone touching it to a high standard. I also had several girls in mind I would like to hear talk on this subject. And though Tatia sounded a bit artificial in the beginning, she caught up towards the middle and delivered a witty and passionate speech about husbands refusing to let their wives out to Shardeni street, about the glass ceiling, about general attitudes in this country. She emphasized how we are always seen as someone’s daughter, sister, wife, mother, but never as individuals with own worth, own life, and own ideas. Tatia moved the audience by her truth.
Secondly, David Gogichaishvili gave one of the best talks of the day; he spoke of cultural differences. Predictably, he used humor, but it was not overbearing. His ppt was clever and void of unnecessary pics and words, and his points were clear. He mentioned how cultural differences may lead to wars, catastrophes, misunderstandings. He relied on personal and global examples. He asked us to E-mail our enemies thanking them for the differences they carry. He was good, as expected. After all, it would be horrible if a talk show host and a producer and a lecturer could not deliver a decent 18-minute speech.
Lastly, I was unexpectedly impressed with Bishop Rusudan Gociridze. An interesting figure on her own, a bishop of a Baptist church here in Georgia, she is bravely battling ethnical, religious, cultural and gender stereotypes. Her life is a testament of a peaceful, loveful battle. She used simple, funny examples from her life to convey the complex theological and gender issues intertwined in her daily work, small and big challenges that seem funny to us because they are really not supposed to be problems at all, but are, in our society. And that’s what hits you, maybe even harder than Tatia’s feminist speech: the inability to carry out everyday, routine simple tasks, while facing 100 practical and theoretical walls. Her speech got a bit pathetic towards the end, but we liked her so much by that time, that we believed her. I turned to a person by my side and said: “I almost cried”. He said: “I  actually did” and wiped his glasses clean. And that’s what this whole thing should be about. I guess being there was worth all the fighting.
P.S. my very own, coveted TEDx agenda

No comments:

Post a Comment