Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Female Vigilantes in Tbilisi

Like chemi megobari (my friend) Claudia Ukonu usually says "Only random things happen in random countries!" I.e The true story I am about to tell you.

Last night after a wonderful talk in Prospero Bookstore on Rustaveli, Claudia and I met a fellow TLG teacher by the name of Madeline. Through our conversation Maddie and I discovered that we both lived in the same district of Tbilisi. Once we arrived at our destination we walked out of the metro station up the stairs and was about to part ways, I to my marshutka and her to walk 3 blocks in the other direction to her home. While standing there exchanging numbers we heard ruckus behind us and naturally we looked. Headed towards the steps that lead to the metro station was an old man around 60 walking with a cane no less pulling a woman along yelling at her in Georgian. Instead of continuing down the steps to the metro station he pushed her against the wall and continued to assault her with vocally and physically.

Now at this point I am livid that this woman is being publicly battered and all the Georgians are walking by acting like they don't see anything out of the ordinary but then they are shocked to see me, a black girl standing there. I said to Maddie "if he hits her again I am going to intervene." She agrees and a Georgian lady standing near us was also looking on in mock horror but like the others did nothing. The man pushed her by the throat against the wall and that was the end of the line. I shouted "Ara ba'tono" (No Sir) and walked towards him as Maddie followed. I engaged the man in conversation while Maddie took the chance to get the woman safely to the metro. Basically I knew enough Georgian to tell the man what he was doing was very bad in which he kept telling me she had done something in the house. I then asked him in perfect Georgian where he was going, and insisted he come with me to find a marshutka (bus). He responded "Ar minda marshutka" (I don't want a bus). So once Maddie returned I bid him a good night and left. During our entire conversation he looked completely mortified and repentant.

I've decided to put the entire experience in the imaginary box of things I do not understand about Georgia. Men and woman stare at me without abandon everyday I walk down the street, listen to me when I talk and pay me far too much attention, but the minute a woman is being beaten in the streets everyone acts like they are closed to the world around them. After Maddie rescued the woman while I dealt with the man, the other Georgian lady that was watching in horror walked over to her and hugged her. Very shocked that we handled the situation so well.

These are the days of my life!


  1. Oh really sorry for that story...
    And about staring..I'm Georgian and I can clearly imagine this moment :D Just take it easy and don't pay attention to them. :D Best wishes

  2. Good for you, girl! You are brave and caring. Kudos to you.