About Printing the Caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and the Events Surrounding the Publication
Freedom of speech as one of the major values of democracy and a great advance made by mankind should not justify disrespect for the elementary ethic code and religious sentiments and should not turn into a tool of insulting a person’s or people’s dignity.
One can hardly find a nation on the earth, where there is no need to repeat this axiom over and over again, as total deprivation of spiritual values prevailing over the greater part of our planet manifests itself through fanaticism and ruthlessness, as well as cynicism that has originated from destructive spiritual emptiness and creative bareness.
There were personalities of great intelligence and deep spiritual principles, who, at the earliest stage of appearance of the Press in Georgia, pointed out what danger would have represented mass media if it neglected the major value – a person’s, or, that is worst of all, the entire people’s spiritual sentiments and dignity.
Representatives of modern mass media must realize fully that mankind has entered a new and the gravest phase of its development when ample deterrents put in jeopardy life of the whole planet. They must be well aware that the Earth can be rescued not only by the stoppage of increasing destruction of life zone, but also by peaceful co-existence of different peoples, religions and cultures, for, if bloody confrontations between different civilizations and states take place on a global scale, it will, certainly, precipitate a planetary disaster. From the point of view of the above stated, mass media can play an extreme negative or positive role.
He who perceived his own self and that of the others,
Became conscious of what the future will bring:
The East and the West
Will never split.
These words of the great German poet and philosopher Johan Wolfgang Goethe become more and more relevant in our time and they must be more and more often reminded to the people who are incapable of thinking, i.e. perception and bear no responsibility for the future of mankind hanging by a thread as it is.
We, the peoples of the Caucasus, have a centuries-old experience of co-existence in the area abundant in diverse cultures, languages and religions. And we ought to be especially prudent so as to avoid religious confrontations that are absolutely alien to the Caucasian peoples, and not to add them to the ethnic conflicts which have taken place recently because of our political immaturity.
The Georgian people’s great Christian ancestors always set striking examples of showing sincere respect to the religions of other peoples, and first of all, to Judaism and Islam. That is our tradition and our national wealth, and we must cherish it like the apple of the eye. The Caucasian peoples are able to contribute their special share to the vitally important cause of drawing together the peoples of the West and the East. This, very likely, is our exceptional mission. That is why we have to be on our guard against everything that may give rise to the confrontation between Christianity and Islam.
We greatly appreciate that our fellow countrymen – the Muslim population of the Caucasus and Georgia peacefully expressed their just protest against printing the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, and appeal to our Muslim sisters and brothers world over to allay their deep anger, not to return injustice for injustice, not to identify one unfair journalistic fact with the whole West, the best representatives of which always inspired love and respect for the East, and let their protest go with the stream which will even more greatly glorify Islam and its founders.
On behalf of the Caucasian House
Naira Gelashvili , President of the organization, writer, Germanist
Giorgi Lobzhanidze, Head of the Center for Research of Islamic Culture in the Caucasus (Caucasian House), expert of oriental languages, translator of the Koran into Georgian