While for the whole world "GMT" stands for "Greenwich Mean Time" for us, people living in Georgia, it's "Georgian Maybe Time", because we have our own feeling for time!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Unforgettable sweet school years...

It was another ordinary day. Classes were over as me and my other schoolmates were walking out of school. I was stopped by a guy a bit older than me, telling me he wanted to speak about a girl who was my classmate, he took me behind garages in front of our school. Another young fellow was waiting there for us. Pushing me against the wall they said:

"You've got a cell phone, don't you?!"

Here I got disappointed, as plans seemed to be changed and we were not going to discuss girls anymore :(. In addition to my disappointed there was another unpleasant fact. One of them took out a gun and put it against my temple. I don't know why but I smiled, I said:

"Yes I do, but come on guuuys...."

Surprisingly it didn't help. Taking the phone out of my pocket, before handling it to its new caring owner, who would sell it the other day to cover his debt for the game he lost earlier that week, I managed to think of my last wish. I said:

"Hey, can I have my sim card at least?!"

They looked at each other, smiled, and said:

"Yeah, just make it quick"

Cold metal was still touching my temple, pushing it from time to time. After the phone was handled in, guys consulted with each other:

-"Shall I shoot his legs?"
-"No, his cool, lets just leave..."

They ran away. I went out with a big smile on my face and a little sim card in my hand...

This story of mine may not have taken place inside the school building, but trust me there was plenty of violence there as well. Students would carry knives, toilets were used as a place to "discuss issues" that often ended up with fights, cuts, and injures. Cigarettes were in wide use. We would run away from classes to go walk in a amusement park near by. This all was happening because nobody really controlled us and there was no serous punishment for that either. I wouldn't blame all my educational failures on this environment, it's more my laziness, but I believe that all these may have a particular impact on education as well.

Today as a result of reform introduced by Ministry of Education, now there are people called "Mandaturebi" in schools. Young people wearing uniforms and carrying walkie-talkies that are responsible for order in schools.

"Mandaturebi" became a big topic for discussions in society, as some think that they are interfering in teachers rights, others think that now students are stressed, and some think it is very unfair that they have bigger salaries than teachers and so on...

As it is advertised on public TV, as a result of this reform, today there is no smoking in schools at all , students lateness went down by 80%, cheating was reduced by 75%, money extortion was reduced by 95%, fight among students was reduced by 80% and vandalism went down by 90%.

Whatever the statistics is nowadays and whatever critics this innovation causes, I just want people not to forget what it was like before to be going to school, and I think it is very important for parents to know that their children are there safe...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Georgian Police

Georgian Police: The most successful reform of Georgian government. According to Minister of Defense of Georgia the trust rate towards police increased up to 82%.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Corruption in Georgia

The fact that Georgia has been making a progress in developing is no news anymore. It holds leading positions in the lists of countries that have shown the most improvement in recent years. One of the key changes that had a huge impact on this progress were measures taken against corruption. Starting with police reform, education, health care and so on, Georgian government managed to get rid of rotten system, firing old staff and hiring new without "bad habits". As a result, from my point of view as a citizen, there is no corruption at the civil level. Although ordinary citizens don't face corruption in their daily life anymore, the so called elite corruption, involving mysterious deals, still exist at a higher level.

According to the Corruption Perception Index 2010, released on October 26 by Transparency International, Georgia ranks 68th out of 178 countries around the world. It's CPI score on a scale from 10(clean) to 0(corrupt) is 3.8.

What is the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?

"The CPI ranks countries/territories based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data from expert and business surveys carried out by a variety of independent and reputable institutions. The CPI reflects views from around the world, including those of experts living and working in the countries/territories evaluated."

It is also interesting to compare Georgia's rate with its neighbors. Turkey with a better condition ranks 56th with the score of 4.4, Armenia(2.6) is 123rd, Azerbaijan (2.4) is 134th, Russia (2.1) is 154th. Georgia even managed to show better results than some European countries, coming right after Italy which is 67th scoring 3.9, Georgia is ahead of Romania (69; 3.7) Bulgaria (73rd; 3.6) and Greece (78th; 3.5).

Nowadays, according to Georgian Legislation the punishment for receiving a bribe counts from 6 to 9 years of imprisonment and in case of extortion it can reach 11-15 years of prison. Not you only can be charged for receiving price incentives, but also for giving them. The punishment can vary from 2 and 5-8 years of prison or fine depending on the conditions of the crime.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Press Freedom Index 2010: Georgia ranks 100's

Reporters Sans Frontières, or as it is translated, Reporters Without Boarders have released their annual Press Freedom Index for 2010. According to Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Georgia ranks 100's out of 178 counties this year, while Armenia - 101 and Azerbaijan - 152. Comparing to 2009, Armenia and Azerbaijan are making slight progress, they ranked 111(Arm.) and 146(Az.) last year. Meanwhile Georgia lost its 81st place and moved to 100's.

Georgia showed its best in 2007 being 66th. Soon after the short war with Russia it lost its position, and ranked 120th already in 2008.

The leading countries this year were Finland - 1, Iceland - 2 and Netherlands - 3. Turkmenistan ranking 176, North Korea 178 and Eritrea 179, are listed the last. Russia holds 144th position this year.

How the index was compiled?

"The Reporters Without Borders index measures the violations of press freedom in the world. It
reflects the degree of freedom that journalists and news organisations enjoy in each country,
and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.

A score and a position is assigned to each country in the final ranking. They are complementary
indicators that together assess the state of press freedom. A country can change position from
year to year even if its score stays the same, and viceversa...

Monday, November 1, 2010


Another attractive ad of Tbilisi, Georgia.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please, fasten your seat belts ...

Since 2008 the number of cars in Georgia grew twice, together with the traffic growth a lot more car accidents happen in the country. The worse record of accidents in recent years was in 2008, when death rate counted 20 dead per every 100 000 of the population. While in Japan it is about 6 people per 100 000 and in Europe less than 10.
Already in just one month, from December the 1st Georgian drivers will have to buckle themselves up, and make sure their passenger wear seatbelt as well, otherwise they must be ready to pay off a fine worth 40GEL (22$).

Not long time ago there were no obligations to wear a seatbelt at all, though later it became a rule to fasten it while driving on the highways. It was pretty rare to see anybody wearing seatbelt except those from some international organizations and foreigners, very few Georgians would ever do it. I remember how surprised the police officer was to see me buckled up; he immediately started to accuse me in racing down the city, which was not the case at that moment. After saying I was just going home, he interrupted me with next question why I was wearing it then. Inspiring right?! So not only it was not a rule, it was even unpopular and some kind of embarrassing to be wearing a seatbelt for most of the drivers, as it would kind of indicate on their poor driving skills, especially among young people. I was trying to encourage my friends doing that but unsuccessful it was.

There are two more surprises to come; first one is the ban of dark tinted glasses, which is really popular in here. Some people even had their windshields tinted. I remember my friends having hard times to drive back home at night from the seaside. Another surprise will be a 200GEL (115$) fine for throwing garbage out of the window.

I would encourage and recommend adding technical inspection of the vehicle, but not as a money making mechanism, but as the one that would guarantee more safety on the roads, as most of accidents happen as a result of technical fault of the vehicle, most of the time involving lives of innocent people. At the moment when the fine for drunk driving is 200GEL (110$) the fine for driving а car with a technical malfunction is only 15GEL (8$) which is even cheaper than talking on the phone 20GEL (11$).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tbilisi - the city that loves you !!!

"Tbilisi - the city that loves you", with these words Tbilisi city was welcoming its guests to "Tbilisoba" holiday. When grapes are already collected and it is time to make new wine.

The city that loves you...

"Tbilisoba" is an annual Autumn holiday, that was first celebrated in 1979 on 28th of October. There was a little break in 1990's due to destabilization in the country, but it was soon restored in 1995 as a tradition. It is usually held on the last weekend of October. There are different events taking place in the old city as well as in the other central parts of the capital.

Back in the past, the whole city used to be a big market, a big trucks would be standing throughout the city, selling different kinds of goods from all different regions of Georgia, grapes, homemade cheese, wine, churchkhelas. The whole city smelled barbecue. Some competitions took place in sports, dances, or singing. Different performances of folklore representing Georgian as well as other ethnic minority traditions from all over Georgia.

Georgian Elite of the beginning of XX Century
(Representing Georgian Elite in early 1900's)

Nowadays, according to my observations, the holidays is a bit changed. More attention is being payed to cultural events and tradition rather than markets, though you can still eat some barbecue, ride a horse in the middle of the city, and buy a good homemade cheese from Imereti or Samegrelo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Destination: Georgia

This summer I traveled a lot to different parts of Georgia, have been to mountains, at the sea side and to some distant regions as well. Everywhere throughout Georgia you can find a traveler with a backpack and a camera.

Tourism in Georgia is growing intensively. According to Georgian Tourism and Resorts Department total number of tourists, visited Georgia during 9 months of the year, made up 1.5 million, 77% out of which were from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.

Apart from Georgian hospitality itself, a big attention to tourism protection is paid by local authorities. For example, when we had a youth exchange project in Tkibuli region, in one of the remote villages, local police department were informed about foreign participants, and you could see police car patrolling the area. During another project in Tskaltubo, near to Kutaisi city, police also knew about foreign guests, and warned one of our Georgian friends, who was assisting his group mates in implementing project activities in the city, to be attentive and take care of them, offering their assistance and any kind of help needed. Earlier at the sea side, a Russian speaking friend of mine (who is Georgian, but has been raised in Russia) had a noisy, tensed conversation with a group of his Georgian friends at 4am, in the dark place somewhere near the club, the criminal police appeared from nowhere to prevent the upcoming fight dispersing the group of aggressors. In general, in comparison to the last year, the crime in Georgia has decreased by 9% according to MIA statistics.

Overall, the environment in Georgia is pretty friendly and safe. However every individual is responsible for his or her behavior, no matter where he or she is coming from and should respect local traditions and general social behavior which is nothing much complicated and the stay in Georgia will be full unforgettable memories and positive emotions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Big Brother's Advice on Treating Ethnic Minorities

The Russian Foreign Minister has urged Georgia to restore normal relations with ethnic minorities living in Georgia. It sounds as if there were no other problems in Russo-Georgian relations than this. As if everything else between Russia and Georgia were fine.

Maybe Russia thinks that making such a statement will help it gain the support of at least a little part of Georgian population. Just like the Georgian government does when it appeals to minorities in the run-up to elections. The difference though it that the minority living in regions do actually support current government for number of reasons, I know that from my experience of working there and an opportunity to monitor elections in one of the regions, having chance to talk to people. People there support government because it was the Rose Revolution that improved their living conditions, it was the Rose Revolution as a result of which peasants now can drive on normal roads to sell their goods and don't have to pay to corrupt police on the road. Life for them has changed. Now they also have the water supply and electricity. And they are afraid to loose it all again, to go back to Zviad Gamsakhurdia times under the "Georgia for Georgians" regime which excluded ethnic minority, or Eduard Shevardnadze's period of darkness and corruption. Building infrastructure was the tool for the Georgian government that guaranteed the support of these people, and these people don't care about world politics.

In contrast to the Georgian government the Russians are offering the Georgian ethnic minorities nothing. All they can offer is another instability, another conflict, but already inside of Georgia, to make it weaker. Complaining that the Council of Europe ignores or keeps silence over those violations as if they would ever care what Europeans thought or said.

What about the situation concerning ethnic minority issue in Russia itself?
Russia, the country where a dark skinned person can't walk the streets in the evening because he can easily be beaten or even killed by group of Russian nationalists, the country where they don't care what nationality you are as far as you are from the Caucasus, you'll anyway be called "black assed", would you be from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Chechnya, Georgia, Tajikistan etc, and at same time they let other representative of ethnic minority hold high positions in government, show business or other spheres probably due to some other specific credits. And while the Russian government pontificates about the condition of ethnic minorities in Georgia, they do nothing to prevent violence against people of different ethnic origins in Russia. The Foreign Minister of this country accuses Georgian in committing “big enough violations in the sphere of ethnic minority rights in the country".

I wouldn't deny problems that exist in our country would that be ethnic minority issues or other internal problems, just he who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw stones!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tbilisi Central

 A week ago I was meeting my friend from Azerbaijan at the railway station which I found to be partly renovated. Now it looks like the one of those in Europe, with fancy shops, cafes, busy ladies in uniforms and escalators riding people up and down the floors. Feeling excited I decided to write about it, as I really liked it, I did, because before it was a dirty place full of drunk and homeless people, and now it looks much nicer and clean.

The idea of this post was to show how the station looks now, but due to some unexpected restrictions inside the station the post doesn't contain lot's of pictures.

Tbilisi Central Railway Station Exterior

  I went out there the following weekend to take some pictures. Being inside I noticed the way security guards looked at my camera, I realized they wouldn't let me take any pictures, and there was the first warning not to. Interesting why would that be a problem to take a picture of renewed railways station in a free country. Maybe because it was meant to be a surprise for people once it's finally finished!?

Tbilisi Central Railway Station Interior

  Unfortunately there is only one picture of interior.
Although there is still a big mess at the docks, I hope that is going to improve soon as well.

 Currently the station operates for two international trains from Armenia and Azerbaijan, domestic destinations and a train from Tbilisi Airport to Tbilisi Central Railway station. The schedule of the last route is pretty complicated but it remains to be the cheapest way of traveling to the airport and back.

 The railway is widely used among holidaymakers, as an affordable and convenient mean of transportation to the Georgian Black Sea Coast during the summertime, and I hope that it's renovation will not affect prices too much.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Socio-Economic Situation

Talking about socio-economic issues, I wanted to give a general image about the situation in Georgia. According to the National Statistics Institute of Georgia the subsistence minimum in 2009 was about 129 GEL per person a month, which is about 75USD, while the Average Monthly Nominal salary is 534GEL (300 USD nowadays). Well I myself don't really think that the average salary makes 534GEL a month, I think it is even less in reality, but I hope I'm wrong. The unemployment rate was 13% and after the World Economic crisis it increased to 16%, which of course remains as one of the biggest problems in the county. You can notice it even walking along Tbilisi streets where you will find lots of beggars; actually they will find you themselves to ask for some coins. They are usually children, older people, disabled people, Gypsies and people in black clothes (widows) that either lost their children who could be able to help them or the children are too young and they have to somehow feed them, so there is no other way for them to make money to live other than begging. However, not all of them are out there because of poverty or inability to work. The reasons for people to beg are different. Some have to beg because of the mentioned above difficult social-economic situation, some lost their children and are not able to work anymore themselves, some are hired workers who are not allowed to manage funds they earn as a result of begging (mostly children coming from villages), some just prefer begging to working, and gypsies who are more like an organized begging institute, who sometimes even rent little babies from their parents and force them to beg.

Having such a difficult unemployment situation as a background, I've noticed another problem among my friends and other young people that they do want to get a good job with a good salary as soon as they are done with their bachelors, but they don't want to give anything out first, just want to get it right there right at the moment. All you hear from some of them is complaining about how all the organizations they have applied to for a job, require experience, and if nobody hires them without experience than how are they going to get any? Well there is still an option, when you see that your time flies and you are still doing nothing, maybe it is worth to start with volunteering and interning?! What they reply to you on this is; I have studied for four years and why should I waste my time working for free (wasting much more time doing nothing)! Yes, this is for free, but this will at least give you a chance to show yourself and gain some experience that will help you in getting a job later! I can speak about my own experience, a lot of young people have interned for Transparency International Georgia (NGO that I work for at the moment), many of us stayed and are now staff members participating in implementation of different projects, others with the help of gained experience including it into their CV could find jobs in other organizations.

We still get more and more applications for internship program from young people, this indicates that the attitude towards volunteering is changing. And I really hope that the socio-economic situation will improve too, as soon as possible!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sex and The City

Recently I got across an interesting article about couples relations in Georgia, about it's conservative traditions, fairy tales and bitter reality. Thought about cases I know myself and recalled about 11 examples of my friends marriages, 7 of which ended up with a divorce and a child with broken family hardly reaching 1.6 year of age. Other four are successful so far, and I do hope it will continue that way. The average age of partners in these cases was about 19- 20 for girls and 21-22 for boys. The reasons of these kinds of early and unsuccessful marriages are different, some of them can be facts of unexpected pregnancy, that can partially be explained by lack of information about sex and contraception, as there is a some kind of taboo on sexual topic in Georgia, and youngsters that do have sex, don't pay proper attention to it. Other reason of abortive marriage can be love, which I would more call a passion (the one that fades away soon), when young people think they love each other and are ready to live the rest of their lives together, but as it turns out a bit later, they are completely different people that can't stand each other.

Why does this happen?
As I have mentioned in the earlier post, Georgia is an Orthodox country, where religion plays a huge role. As a part of Georgian Orthodox faith along with a Georgia's conservative belief, a woman can't have sex before marriage or as now it is called there is a virginity "institute" here. Tbilisi-based Caucasus Research Resource Centers survey showed that 77% of respondents think it is unacceptable for a woman to have sex before marriage. But this is changing as new modern and more open generation is on it's way. Meanwhile boys are encouraged to practice sex as soon as they reach puberty.The fairy tale part in this issues is how young people see a successful marriage, a handsome Georgian knight on white horse, beautiful children, belief in God and careless future, but this fairy tale mostly works different, instead they face a bitter reality which is not that easy and beautiful. According to this "institute" the only "legal" way for a girl to have sex is marriage, and sometimes unfortunately this marriage occurs not to be that careless and wonderful as it seemed to be for partners while dating and this young family falls apart leaving their little kids, that were born as a result of mentioned above "legal" sex, without a proper parental care. The divorce rate in Georgia according to National Statistics Office of Georgia in 2008 was 3 189 registered case while in 2000 it was only 1854 (different couples with different backgrounds, age and marriage duration are included in this data).

As the most accent in this issue is made on women, I wanted to separate them into three types, one - those who don't care about conservative traditions openly having sexual relations with their partners even before marriage, two - those who play by the rules of virginity "institute" willingly and do like it that way, waiting for the one and hopefully only , and three - those who play the game but cheat!

What can be cheating in this kind of game?!
Have you ever heard about virginity restoration? Hymenoplasty is what cheaters refer to when they decide to play the role of innocent girl in order to get married and have their own fairy tale, as being a virgin before marriage is important. One of this kind of places for plastic surgery for example can be the clinic of Iva Kuzanov that was opened in 2004, at first the surgery was not offered as there was no demand for it, however after he mentioned the possibility on television talk show more and more women requested hymen restoration, now he performs five to seven such operations per month.

I would say that traditions are important, as tradition is part of national identity that comes for ages. But sometimes this traditions can be playing a negative role as it sometimes interferes with simple principles of nature. Why not sexual relations be a private decision. Why not either playing the game by its rules or just not playing it at all! Anyway I hope our youth will think several times before making a very important step like creating a family because as a result children are suffering the most.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gypsy Things

As I mentioned in first introduction post, I also planned to write about things that bother me, Gypsy things are one of those.

It was another ordinary business day, everybody was in a rush, I was one of those who fought a heavy traffic on Rustaveli avenue, which is the main avenue in the very center of Tbilisi. Thought the reason for the jam was as usual a presidential escort blocking the road, but no, something was happening, something was wrong, ah probably a bus managed to squeeze a taxi cab against another car again, this also happens a lot, never loved taxi drivers in the traffic flow, you would always expect some surprising maneuvers from them, something stupid, but the case seemed to be different this time, getting closer I noticed police cars, crowd and yellow tape saying "don't cross police line", what I saw behind the tape, shocked me, it really did! A girl about 7 years of age was lying on the ground without a move, nobody was even close to her anymore as she was not alive, a child, a little Gypsy girl without a breathe.

Photo by Lasha Ghughunishvili

Those Gypsy things... crossing roads back and forth with little kids, begging for money on the traffic lights, threatening to spit on you or do something nasty to you if you don't give them money, forcing children to beg, keeping them dirty, hungry, in cold, in rain, even in pain sometimes, just to make them look miserable, just to make them make money.

Overtaking a lane of cars standing on red light that has just turned green, I often faced a little Gypsy kid running out just in front of one of those cars. What do you want to do at that time? Just thank God you did not hit him! Those Gypsy things, that are putting in danger little kids, putting others to jail. Innocent child, innocent driver, but who is guilty then? I like the way police worked recently in Georgia, not taking bribes, giving tickets to those who violate, checking me for alcohol when i'm in a good mood driving back home singing, but what measures do they take not to have those Gypsy kids suddenly popping out in front of your car? Nothing, either they gave up on trying to do something with it or they've never tried. Can something be done about it?!

By the way, wanted to take pictures of them on the weekend, but couldn't, I guess they rest on weekends, neither I could find them today after six, decided to upload a picture found online.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Azeris and Armenians under one roof - Georgia

Just wanted to look over the Azerbaijani Armenian relations. After having attended several projects with Azerbaijani and Armenian participation, I noticed that relation between them are sometimes tensed. Nevertheless, some of them manage to make friends and continue there friendship on other neutral territories like Georgia. The reason to this kind of negative attitude towards each other between representative of this two nations is Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the territory that took thousands of lives from both nations.

Since the beginning of 1988, there is a continuous conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed area of Nagorno Karabakh. The conflict has led to over twenty thousands casualties and almost one and a half million refugees. The Azeris claim that Karabagh has always been under Azeri rule in known history; by contrast the Armenians advance the claim that Karabagh was originally an Armenian site of residence and that Azeri rule was illegitimate.

The attitude of the upcoming generation towards one another is under the influence of governmental propaganda, which can be nothing but enemies! On one of the seminars my friend from Azerbaijan was giving a presentation where she spoke about Social Media and blogosphere in Azerbaijan, frankly talking about all of those problems that exist in her country. After the presentation, she was strongly criticized by other younger Azeri participants led by an older team leader who thought it was not right to speak about negative things in their country, especially in front the audience where Armenians were present. She was publicly humiliated and called to be pro-Armenian, stupid girl that should be ashamed of herself.

Meanwhile in Georgia ethnic Azeri and Armenian citizens have quite different relations, I myself being the only Azeri in Russian school in Georgia, studied in multinational class, with Georgians, Armenians, Russians, Ossetians etc., shared one desk with Armenian classmate. We used to play together, study together, even let rewrite the test answers from each other, always having fun together, and be friends in need. Staying close friends even after graduating. We never had any pressure from our parents against each other, and had equal rights and attitudes in society. School is one of thousands examples where Azeris and Armenians work and make friends, as we are living in one country, under one roof called Georgia.

In addition I can say, there is no good or bad nation, there are good or bad people, in every single nation!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A son of two religions

Yep this post is about me

As you may already know Georgia is a Christian country, and most of the population (82%) practices Orthodox Christianity, Religious minorities of Georgia include Armenian Christians (3.9%), Muslims (9.9%), Roman Catholics (0.8%), as well as sizeable Jewish communities and various Protestant minorities. The feeling for Christianity is very strong here.

Talking about religion in Georgia I wanted to write how it feels to be a child of two religions, I’m child of a Christian (mom) and a Muslim (dad), but I’m Muslim. I’m Muslim not because when I was born somebody came up to me and asked which religion I wanted to practice, no! This was not a question that I was given an opportunity to decide on. I became a Muslim because my dad wanted me to be, even though he himself does not practice it as much, this was part of his family tradition and probably will be mine too. So this was the first and the last case of my parents misunderstanding in religious issue. Marrying each other nothing has changed neither for her nor for him. After the decision was made, everything has been flowing like a river. If you ask me which religion you like the most, it would be like asking a child who do you love more mom or dad? Hard to answer right?

In difference to other traditional Christian or Muslim families I did not have much pressure from parents to practice any religion. So I had a really good opportunity to see religion from a neutral position, seeing both religions from the side. And frankly I don’t see difference between them; they both teach us humanity, kindness, fairness, they both teach us to care about one another. For me practicing different religions is like talking about one thing on a different languages.

When people sometimes tell me, hey! You’re such a good guy; we should baptize you, they do not even understand that this could be hurting to hear! What? If I am not a Christian I can’t be a good guy or what? I can respond to that, but I better not! (It just would not be polite) I am what I am and I am not going to change just because somebody thinks I should I don’t really need somebody’s help in making choices in this question, I am Muslim so take it or leave it! I am not going to change because there is nothing to change! First of all I am a human being as all of us are, and if I was not being told all the time in my childhood that I am Christian or Muslim and not been pressured to practice any religion it doesn’t mean I’m bad or I can’t be good friend or boyfriend or husband or citizen or an employee. I just do not see it as a principle of my life. For me the most important thing is that a person is polite, well grown, kind, respective etc. If you don’t grow up your child well it wouldn’t matter for society whether he is Muslim or Christian. If you are criminal, being a representative of some religion will not make you a sweetheart.

I don’t really face many problems due to my religion in Georgia, but sometimes this fact causes a big surprise for some people. I mostly feel it when I start some relations with Georgian girl coming from a traditional family (and they have always been coming from such families), they never tell you directly but you can feel it, you can feel you are different, you can feel this is taken as a disadvantage of yours, you can be a cool guy, but still you will be different. And if she doesn’t care about it, her parents will and she will know about that and I will also get informed soon.

There are no other questions where my religion would be an issue, or an issue that I would care about in that question.

There is another advantage of being the son of two religions; our family celebrates twice as much religious holidays than any other! Isn’t that great? We have red eggs twice a year while others paint them only once!

Living in Georgia I feel myself different but, going to Azerbaijan I feel myself even more different. I’m some kind of an alien I’m different everywhere!