“Until this moment our generation hasn't managed to find solutions for the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. Especially after the August war 2008 it became clear for us that in the future the young generation will to have to deal with Georgian-Abkhaz conflict resolution. That’s why we’ve decided to focus on the young generation and have chosen two young representatives of this generation,”- said Mamuka Kuparadze, director of the documentary film “Absence of Will”, on 10th September at the public screening organized at the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The film was produced with the support of the London-based charity Conciliation Resources and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Vakho and Teo, the main heroes of this documentary are twenty-something university graduates from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. Born as the Soviet Union collapsed, they've grown up in the shadow of the wars that tore their country apart in the early nineteen nineties. They're too young to remember the fighting, but like everyone from their generation, their lives have been shaped by the legacy of the violence.
In the summer of 2008 Vakho and Teo set out to try to understand for themselves what caused the war in Abkhazia, and why after fifteen years of peace talks the sides are still no nearer to resolving their differences. Halfway through filming, fighting broke out again over South Ossetia. For a few brief days in August, war suddenly became a reality for Vakho and Teo, and as they experienced its horrors first hand, their search for answers became more personal and more urgent.
This is the story of their journey into Georgia's recent past, and of the tough questions and painful truths they faced in their search for the way to a better future.
The new documentary film was shown with English subtitles and followed by a discussion with director Mamuka Kuparadze and Jonathan Cohen, Director of Programmes of Conciliation Resources, chaired by Iris Kempe, Director of the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
The audience discussed with the speakers the following questions: Has the Georgian society already changed after the early nineties? Why has the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict even deepened after all these years? What are the perceptions of this conflict of the young generation in Abkhazia? Is there any influence or impact of Russia on the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict?
As Kuparadze mentioned the main problem in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict is the estrangement between the Abkhaz and Georgian societies. Publications, documentary films and informal meetings are very important tools to overcome the lack of confidence between Georgians and Abkhazians. Organizations, such as Conciliation Resources and Heinrich Böll Foundation provide relevant “windows” between Georgian and Abkhaz societies, supporting their communication and creating the opportunities to exchange the information between the societies.
“The transformation of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict needs generations, to reframe the painful experiences and relationships for moving forward,”- Jonathan Cohen said.