Never has my blog name felt so spot-on: my friend has been stuck outside of the Former Democratic Republic of Kazantip for two days now; he was promised Kazantip visa, to set up a condom stand. Once he got there, with a box full of prophylactics, he got stranded in a tent city. “There is no sex in Kazantip” is the official stance of this year’s republic.
The president declared that he respects Georgian traditions. This is the moment that I facepalm myself bloody, hide my Georgian passport and pretend I am from Mars.
See, Kazantip turned out to be so much different than I expected. I kept calling it a music festival, but it really is a separate country, with its own rules (and I thought that was just a marketing trick). People honestly believe in this idea. Hard to imagine, but citizens of Kazantip actually seek peace, love, community, freedom, acceptance. They call it “happiness”. Imagine, thousands come from collectivistic, harsh, rigid, post-soviet societies, they flee from repression and “must do”’s. They save money all year to visit a place where they can be not who they are, but who they want to be. Those are not empty phrases. People start transforming into what they want to be, from head to bottom, from crazy creative outfits, to friendly and loving attitude.
They do so responsibly. They actually read Kazantip constitution. They do not fight, do not sexually assault and do not pee in the street. None of them. But they expect infinite freedom beyond that. They seek happiness.
Where is the happiness? - I keep hearing it from Kazantip citizens over and over. Happiness has been sacrificed to “Georgian traditions”.
Happiness is not drugs, it’s not sex and it’s not cheap food; people who say that Kazantip sunk due to shortage of the noted products, do not know what Kazantip is. Happiness is wearing whatever you want, animal costumes, Buddhist monk ensemble, polyester swimming suit or nothing; happiness is endless dancing without being molested by local boys; happiness is sleeping on the beach, on the pavement or on a bar stand without being approached by law enforcers; happiness is talking with complete strangers without being grabbed and insulted; happiness is wandering weary and possibly drunk at 6 a.m. without feeling gaze of judging police.
Suddenly, all of our Geo insecurities came to life, all of them. Oh, a tourist, great, let’s make them pay 2 Lari per Khinkali! Oh, Slavic girl, let’s grab her boobs instead of greeting her (this is not an exaggeration)! God forbid people sit in the middle of the road (inside of the gated, no-car zone)! Call the police!
The police. They are at every palm tree, behind every rock. They are riding motorcycles, BMW-s, Mini Coopers, Fourwheelers, Segways, Golf carts. They are blinking and yelling and just watching your every move. And here you are looking for infinite freedom and ultimate happiness, collectively watching sunset under enchanting music and tuning your heart to beats of a gong that are calculated to sound precisely as the last rays reach the Former Democratic Republic of Kazantip. And as you dance in trance, someone is asked not to sit on a pavement.
Every year, for closing, Kazantip citizens write their wishes on yellow balloons and send them to the sky.
Here is my wish: I wish for a miracle. I wish for Crimea to go back to Ukraine, I wish for Kazantip to go back to Crimea and I wish for me, a free citizen of my new country, to go back to Kazantip every year from now on.
Cause I want my share of happiness.
p.s. Samarkhvo means fasting in Georgian;
p.s.s. pic taken by my hubby. I took part in this fun Kigurumi parade.