Tbilisi, 3rd December 2018
The staff members of Istituto cultura italiana (non profit organization operating in the linguistic and literary field) Mattia Baldoni, Gabriele Rota, and Tommaso de Vivo, had a meeting with Paramjeet Berwal (lawyer focusing on Intellectual Property and Competition Law, as well as PhD at Institute for European Studies in Tbilisi, and Invited Lecturer at TSU and other 2 universities still in Tbilisi) at the new office located in M. Kostava st. 68 (near Georgian public broadcaster).
After the presentations, Paramjeet asked Mattia and Gabriele (EVS Volunteers within the Erasmus+ project “Youth on the bridge, European identity between Italy and Georgia) their impressions about Georgia and Georgians.
Mattia and Gabriele answered in enthusiastic way, underlining positive aspects they found during their first month in Tbilisi (such as hospitality, culinary culture and tradition) a dynamic and modern society that looks forward to Europe and to the West.
Mattia questioned which kind of political, cultural and social development could therefore being expected. He also underlined that there are problematic situations and aspects that Georgian society must overcome or metabolize. For example, the normalization of the relationship with Russia, deeply compromised after the August 2008 War.
At a sociological level, both Mattia and Paramjeet agreed that Russian people love Georgia, its traditions and its wonderful landscapes. Everyone could see a lot of Russian tourists in Tbilisi. In the same way, while Georgians like Russians, assuring that these two people have respectively no trouble, they have policies followed by Russian government, and everyone could perfectly understand their reasons.
Mattia also observed that the so-friendly Russians, hardly speak about these difficult relations and about Kremlin’s strategies. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russian backed separatist forces: “that’s it” and you will not hear additional opinion from Russian people visiting Georgia on the subject.
An external observer could easily recognize a non-constructive approach on both sides — added Mattia — and to find a peaceful and positive solution could be difficult.
Tommaso here would add that on one side Russian people have not necessarily to be identified with their government, and on the other that the friendly relations between Russia and Georgia have ancient roots: since centuries Russian people considered Georgia a tourist destination and their conception has not changed.
Then the discussion (leaded by Mattia, who is specialist on the subject) turned to the great Georgian misconception regarding European Union.
All Georgians — Mattia was arguing — seem to perceive EU, NATO and the Western Integration like a “terrestrial heaven”, a perfect future for a Georgia far from Moscow’s sphere of influence. Both Mattia and Gabriele agreed that’s not so simple, and they were surprised by the fact that even academicians and professors spoke about these topics in simplistic terms. They took part at IAI Conference on EU Integration Process, held in Tbilisi the 12th November 2018. In some intervention heard therein, they registered a lack of analysis and a purely “emotional” perspective.
This lack of perspective vision reflects in their opinion the misconception or the ignorance about problems linked to EU crisis (at various levels) and to the same EU Integration process, harder than most of them think.
Mattia told that Georgian politicians shall understand that a rapid and superficially-planned integration could be also counterproductive for Georgia: weak, or relatively weak economical structures and democratic institutions could not positively face the impact with European economy and concurrence. It could be a hard transition, that could deepen social cleavages and inequalities and negatively affect national autonomy itself.
At the same time, they all agreed that EU is going through a difficult period. Paramjeet suggested a kind of catharsis, a radical renovation, even if it takes a complete overhaul of the EU system, in order of being able to face the problems underlying such crisis and eventually to newly find the essence and the fundamental principles lost by the current Union.
This perception surely underlines the need for reforms by EU institutions, which are hardly facing multiple crises and have lost their resilience to global challenges (for example: migrations).
Tommaso here would add (being the problem expressed in these terms) that in his opinion the crisis of UE is not an “intrinsic fault of it” (as well as of any kind of implementation) but on the contrary that it reflects in a transparent way, and therefore desirable, a general and ingrained fault of global economy, so that it is necessary that such crisis is being “expiated”, of course remaining united, without again obfuscating and fragmenting it throughout national powers, in order to achieve a fair and just system at a global level.
Paramjeet then introduced in the conversation the theme of modern worker’s social conditions, mentioning his own experience in Brussels.
He commiserated the fact of repeating the same actions every day, at the same time, working or producing for other people, like an automaton. In such a way that these mechanized workers often seek trivial forms of fun, searching for an escape from reality.
He said to having felt himself this condition, working in a law office in Munich, but as soon as he understood this “mechanism” he actually stopped his activity.
In his opinion, working in academic context, as lecturer, professor or researcher, doing what he likes and studying for passion, is a better way for self-realization.
Anyway, also this lifestyle is linked to hard life decisions, common to all human beings.
At the end of the meeting, speaking about his role at TSU (Tbilisi State University) and at Tbilisi’s Institute of European Studies, Paramjeet also invited specifically the 2 EVS volunteers, Gabriele and Mattia, to take part to the conference on artificial intelligence that he was delivering keynote at, organized at TSU on 14th December 2018, and involving Faculties of Humanities, Philosophy, Law, and so on.