Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Back in Georgia

I am back in Georgia now… For one thing for my exhibition opening that will take place tomorrow at the Heinrich Boell Foundation here in Tbilisi… The exhibition opening tomorrow night of my series on Georgian IDPs (internally displaced people) will be coupled with a public debate on the situation of the IDPs in Georgia almost one year after the war with Russia… Especially the fate of the IDPs from Abkhazia and South Ossetia is still very much an open issue – or a foregone one - depending on your point of view given the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent by Russia…

I am hoping for a good turnout tomorrow… at least the Georgian minister for IDPs is expected to attend… so should be a good event to listen and learn…

For another thing, I am also back to do some research on a follow on project I would like to undertake in August with the working title “one year after the war”… I would like to explore the situation in Georgia, one year after the five day conflict with Russia last year… I am still sketching out the details of what I would like to focus on…

To that extent I visited one of the IDP camps in Tbilisi today which still houses quite a few of the Abkhazian IDPs from almost one year ago… on a first glance, it looked as if nothing had changed during the last 11 months… I invited the people there to the exhibition/debate tomorrow and residents were helpful to put up the press release in the main hall… I hope that some of those affected will attend to be able to voice their views…

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Haiku für Irina

Sonnenleerer Blick
in gestriger klarer Nacht –
völlig abgeliebt.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Exhibition in Tbilisi, Georgia

The South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation is happy to announce a public debate on “The Fate of Georgia’s IDPs: Grief, Challenges, Hopes?” at the vernissage of

Mr. Uwe Schober’s Photo-Exhibition:
The Russian-Georgian Conflict
A Humanitarian Perspective

at the Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation on Wednesday 1 July 2009 at 18:00. The United Nations estimate that the Russian-Georgian War in August 2008 created a significant number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Georgia. Many of these saw their houses burnt, looted or taken by others that stayed behind. Given the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent by Russia, the return of many of the Georgian IDPs to their native regions and villages is put into question.

There will be a public debate “The Fate of Georgia’s IDPs: Grief, Challenges, Hopes?” beginning at 18:30. Speakers will include Ms. Medea Turashvili (International Crisis Group), Mr. Mark Mullen (Transparency International), Ms. Julia Kharashvili (Head of the Department for External Affairs at the Ministry of IDP Issues of the Georgian Government), Mr. Besik Tserediani (Consultant, Ministry of IDP Issues of the Georgian Government).

We are looking forward to welcoming you at our office at 38, Zovreti Street, 0160 Tbilisi. A small buffet will be served.

Dr. Iris Kempe

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V. 38, Zovreti Str., 0160 Tbilisi T 99532.38 04 67/68 F 99532.91 28 97 I www.boell.ge E info@boell.ge

Friday, June 19, 2009

Images From the Holy Land

ISRAEL. Nazareth. June 2009. A shop close to the Church of the Annunciation, one of the Catholic Church’s holiest sites.

ISRAEL. Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes. June 2009. View of the Sea of Galilee (Lake of Kinneret).

ISRAEL. Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes. June 2009. Inside the washroom of the Church of the Beatitudes.

ISRAEL. Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes. June 2009. Inside the Church of the Beatitudes.

ISRAEL. Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes. June 2009. Site of Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount (Bergpredigt).

ISRAEL. Tabgha. June 2009. Outside the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

ISRAEL. Tabgha. June 2009. Inside the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

ISRAEL. Capernaum. June 2009. Inside the church of Capernaum, the home base of Jesus during the period of his Galilean ministry.

The Über-Religious

The Über-Religious

The other day I went to Jerusalem, inter alia to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, which according to Christian churches/belief is considered to be the site where Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross (i.e. Golgotha). The visit was a vivid example of practised bigotry. In theory this site is shared equally by three Christian churches (which after all are based on pretty much the same principles of belief): the Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Catholic. Visitors are being led in small groups to the inner sanctum of a small tomb where relics of Jesus are supposed to be held. At irregular intervals these visits are interrupted by either an Armenian, Catholic or Greek Orthodox priest who chases the visitors away, enters the sanctum and leaves a few puffs of incense. This scene is usually followed immediately by the appearance of another priest of the Christian denomination other than the one that has already left his mark, to chase the visitors away in order to storm the inner sanctum and leave a few puffs of incense from his incense [Weihrauchbehaelter]. This only lasts for about a few minutes before the third priest arrives and – you’ve guessed it – chases the visitors away, enters the inner sanctum and leaves his incense there. I could not be helped to be reminded of three dogs that jealously run around the same neighbourhood to make sure that their urine mark is the one that sticks out… And later I read in the guide book that the three Christian churches cannot agree on who is managing the site so that a Muslim family holds the keys to the church and opens the church in the morning and locks it up at night…. It is easy to see how religious conflicts between the major religious denominations come into being and persist for centuries when even three Christian churches cannot agree on the basic principle of sharing and act in a very childish way – and if I may add - not in the sense of what the Christian belief is about… It seems to me that Jerusalem (only Jerusalem?) is full of people who consider “their” religion the one and only religion, and the only one offering a path to God and to a decent way of life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


“…[Travelling], driving on the road, gazing at the road, is definitely not about going into the distance, or about searching for a dream, or about making a vain effort. It is, in the midst of travelling, nothing but a continuous process of discovering the fragments of the world and splinters of reality… When I am going along the road, snapping the shutter as I read each moment, I become at times a poet, a scientist, a critic, a philosopher, a labourer, or a politician.”

[Daido Moriyama: Highway.]