Photograph: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters
Georgians erupted in protest after videos showing prisoner torture and rape at Gldani Prison no. 8 were broadcast. The videos show power tripping prison guards beating, insulting, and degrading prisoners by forcing a broom handle up their ass. In the videos, guards are ganging up on prisoners, prisoners are begging not to be video taped, and forced to yell “I’m a thief!” over and over again. In another, a prisoner is forced to smoke a cigarette that was in his anus.
In this video, the guard is trying to make this 18 year old kid insult thieves (not robbers, more like Eastern Promises). It is against thieves code to insult them, and by doing so this kid would have committed a grave sin. He refuses to even while being beaten and is begging guards to stop hitting him.
As soon as the news showed these videos, Georgians organized and gathered in their city squares to voice their disgust. The Minister of Corrections, Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, who oversaw the jail system, was forced to resign almost immediately. A day later, the interior minister, Bacho Akhalaia, resigned his position but claiming he had no knowledge of the abuse and he was doing this as a moral and political obligation as the people whose job it was to prevent such things were his responsibility. Many Georgians do not buy this and believe he was in knowledge of the abuse, as was Kalmakhelidze. Investigations into the jail and guards are ongoing.
This scandal added to the frustration many Georgians have with the current president, Mikhail Saakashvili. Under his rule Georgia has amassed giant financial debt with other countries, and this scandal only added to the fire of their dislike. Some claim Saakashvili had knowledge of the abuse as well. This is weeks before Saakashvili goes against new political party, Georgian Dream, and their mega rich leader Bidzina Ivanishvili for position of president in October.
My cousin keeping it real
Something seems to happen in people when they enter the position of being responsible over someone else and having power over them. It seems to make them forget they are people just like them. That the only difference between them is one is there because it’s a job and the other because he has to. A prison GUARD should be just that, not a delusional bully.
The sense of compassion and urgency Georgians had to their fellow human is admirable. I’m not just saying this because I’m from there (surprise! gamarjoba!) but as soon as news got out, giant crowds formed and everyone got involved, showing protest in one way or another. A popular symbol of this scandal has been a black box Georgians all over the world are putting up as their profile picture on Facebook. I believe that this is how situations like this should be dealt with, swiftly and just. The people got together, ALL of them, formed one stable position, and let the government know they weren’t having it and something had to be done. This widespread concern and action was met with quick response. it showed that once the PEOPLE got together and supported other PEOPLE and their rights, those responsible will face the ramifications of their actions, and change can be accomplished.
(and btw, the same shit applies here in the states – crooks are crooks, and you can take them down.)