16 mars 2010

Profusion de verre à Tbilissi

Le palais présidentiel, la nouvelle mairie à Saboutarlo, le ministère des Affaires intérieures et maintenant un pont de verre aux formes résolument modernes... Les derniers projets publics architecturaux font résolument le choix de la modernité, avec pour symbole le verre.
Après le choix d'édifier tous les nouveaux commissariats en verre afin de symboliser la transparence, il semble que le reste des bâtiments fasse aussi le choix du verre.
Décision du président Mikhaïl Saakashvili de construire ce pont piéton au pied du palais présidentiel, il devrait s'intégrer dans un complexe plus large comprenant espaces verts, centre commercial, restaurants et hôtels. La route devrait être déplacée au pied de la falaise pour libérer l'espace.
Depuis de nombreux points de vue, les prémices de ce pont nuisent d'ores et déjà aux perspectives sur le vieux Tbilissi. A quoi bon un pont piéton à cet endroit ? Personne ne le sait vraiment. Certains y voient un oiseau se délectant dans l'eau de la rivière, d'autres un poisson y plongeant... Personne ne sait vraiment ce à quoi s'attendre une fois le projet terminé. Aucune information officielle n'est d'ailleurs disponible sur le projet.
L'ensemble des projets architecturaux privés semblent néanmoins en suspend, faute de financement. Parmi eux, le park Hyatt, l'hôtel Kempinski, les tours Axis à Vaké, etc...

Le ministère des Affaires intérieures sur l'avenue George W. Bush, route de Kakhétie. (Ci-dessus, le palais présidentiel)

La nouvelle mairie de Tbilissi

Le nouveau pont de verre en construction

5 mars 2010

From USSR to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

In 1983, an aircraft flew over the high mountains of Georgia. Seven young Georgians onboard tried to escape from the USSR to Turkey attracted by freedom and blue jeans. They weren’t killers. Even if they hijacked this aircraft to Batumi, they just wanted to land on an American Base on the other side of the border to fulfill their dreams.

The operation turned bad, and several people died under the fire of the Soviet Army on Tbilisi’s tarmac.

David Turashvili decided to relate this event in his book “Flight from USSR.” He first started to write a play ten years ago called “Jean’s Generation.” “It is the same story written in a different way,” Turashvili says. The play is still performed in Georgian Free Theater in Tbilisi. There were more than 700 performances. In fact, it was the only place where actors were allowed to work. The theater was situated in front of Shevardnadze’s office. “It made him very angry but what could he do?” Turashvili explains.

In fact, in the 1980’s, the latter was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia, and later became the President of democratic Georgia. And because of his position, he was really involved in the trial that followed the event.

In Georgia, everybody knew what happened. But during Soviet times, because of propaganda, the event and the trial were kept secret. “Nobody knew, nobody knows, only in general. But there was a huge interest in the story, even if people weren’t supporting the hijackers. The problem is that, even if they were hijackers, they were executed without trial,” the author explains.

David Turashvili decided to write about this story after the 2008 August war between Russia and Georgia. The book was published first in 2008 in Georgian and in Dec. 2009 in English. It was first presented in English at the Free University of Amsterdam. The translation in German and Turkish are already complete. Since then, it has been the second best-seller in Georgia after Harry Potter.  According to the editor, Tina Mamulashvili, more than 6,000 copies have been sold since 2008.

“So you are a rich man!” I said to David.  “In fact, we’re in Georgia it’s a small market,” he answers.

David Turashvili wrote 13 books since the independence of Georgia in 1991. “My books are all very different, but most of them are fiction,” he explains. In fact, Flight from USSR is floating between documentary and fiction. “I got the information from the families of the characters, but I mixed fiction and documentary. I don’t even remember what is true and what is fiction. You know, there’s no border between fiction and reality,” Turashvili says.

What is certain is that out of seven hijackers, six of them died. One was killed on the aircraft, and the others were executed by Soviet authorities after the trial. Only Tina, the only woman involved, was released in 1990 after five years in jail. “I met her when she went out of jail. She was so beautiful!” Turashvili says. And in fact, he described her as a fairy.

Tina is now living in Cyprus and married again.

David Turashvili is trying to draw a dark page of the history of his country. In simple English, characters seem to be following their own destiny on the freedom’s road. In the end, the story remains bittersweet as the author doesn’t draw any conclusions. He allows readers to simply think about it.

At the moment, David Turashvili is working on a new novel about the U.S. “I spent 100 days in the US, in 2001, in Iowa, and I was in New York City the week after 9/11. I will write what I have seen there. You know it’s better to write it after nine years because you get distance, and that’s the most important,” David explains. “The book will be about the East and West. You know, in my country, there are two groups. One is pro-Russian, the other is pro-American. But I’m not sure either of these are the best choice. I prefer to be part of my country or the European Union. We are very poor country, very poor society, and the best way is the one to Europe,” Turashvili says.

After some words about Tbilisi, understanding that the journalist is French, he starts speaking about Sarkozy. “When I saw him in 2008 in front of the Presidential palace, even though I don’t speak French, I understood he was a very good actor. He was speaking about peace and war, but I also understood how he managed during his first date with Carla Bruni. Together, they seem to be the best couple in the world!” the author concludes.