Georgian president urges national unity in speech at PM’s funeral

Georgian president urges national unity in speech at PM’s funeral

Rustavi-2 TV, Tbilisi
6 Feb 05

Text of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s speech at the funeral of Prime
Minister Zurab Zhvania at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi on 6
February; the ceremony, which also included speeches by parliament
speaker Nino Burjanadze, former EU envoy to Georgia Denis Corboy and
head of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II, was broadcast live by
Rustavi-2 TV and other major Georgian networks

[Saakashvili] Your Holiness [Ilia II], Kalbatono [polite form of
addressing a woman in Georgia] Rema [Zhvania’s mother], my dear Nino
[Zhvania’s wife] and my dear children.

I certainly had not planned and could not have imagined that I would
be standing here in front of you in such circumstances. For all of us,
the past four days have been a major test in our lives.

Most of us have never experienced losing such a person. I have to say
that, naturally, each of us has their own way of struggling and coming
to terms with what has befallen us.

No-one should be leaving this world so meaninglessly. On the other
hand, I know of very few people whose life has been so full of meaning
as that of our friend Zurab Zhvania.

Our friends from all over the world are here today. They have
abandoned everything to come here. Many more have been unable to make
it. You have heard the text of the letters from President Bush and
legendary Vaclav Havel. I have received hundreds of such letters in
recent days. After reading these letters, I want everyone to stop to
think. You can all see what these letters say and how greatly Zurab
Zhvania was valued. You have seen in recent days how everyone on TV
has been rushing to praise and glorify him. Does a person really have
to depart from this world for us to be able to value him? When will we
learn to value living persons and to respect the dignity of living
persons? When will we learn to appreciate what we have and not to be
constantly focused on our country’s past? That is the question every
person living in Georgia should answer.

Despite this pessimism, nihilism and cynicism [changes thought] – We
all went through years when everyone was saying that nothing would
work, we were as bad as them and we would also botch everything. We
have proved them and all other cynics wrong, and now Georgia is a
proper state. This has been done, above all, together with all of us,
thanks to Zurab Zhvania’s efforts. No-one will ever be able to erase

I just want to tell everyone, our friends, not to fear because it is
fear itself that we should fear as a result of the tragedy that has
befallen us. I wish to tell everyone who is listening to us that if we
want to learn to win, we should be able to unite at times of tragedy
because we should be able to overcome everything in order to unite in
victory. Over the past few days we have shown everyone that we can
unite in victory, or, rather, tragedy, which means that we will be
able to unite for our common victory.

I also wish to tell Georgia’s ill-wishers that they are pursuing a
lost cause. They should have no illusions. Although Zurab Zhvania is
no longer alive, we still are. If anyone has the illusion that it will
be possible to undermine the cause which we all started together,
which was started by the generation that came to power through Zurab’s
efforts, their hopes are in vain. We will not allow you to succeed for
the sake of Zhvania, for the sake of everyone else, for the sake of
the future of his children and all our children.

Georgia will become a very strong country. It is my personal duty and
our duty to our future and to our friend Zurab Zhvania.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress