Horrific video of 1000s of (former Soviet) Georgians rioting against gays

It’s a horrific video.  Thousands – perhaps tens of thousands – of former-Soviet Georgians rioting in the streets of Tbilisi, attacking a small handful of gay rights protesters holding a rally for the International Day Against Homophobia.

The video is just horrific.  Crowds were shouting “Kill them! Tear them to pieces!” and “Where are they? Don’t leave them alive!”

Georgia-anti-gay-riots

These people are animals.

It really saddens me to see people who lived under a dictatorship then act just as badly as the dictators they were finally freed from. It almost makes you wonder whether dictatorship wasn’t just imposed on them, but rather, whether in part it wasn’t self-imposed as well. The old saying about getting the government you deserve. What government do violent thugs deserve?

And sadly, expectedly, the Georgian Orthodox Church, part of the larger Eastern Orthodox faith that I belong to, was in part behind the violence. And you thought just Catholics, evangelicals and Mormons were hateful bigots. My orthodox brethren – mostly in the east, (in the US they’re surprisingly quiet about the hot-button social issues) – are just as viciously hateful and backwards.

God bless those activists.  I can’t even imagine the threats they live under in countries as backward and hateful as this.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • CARMEL350

    Not sure what is so horrifying in this video, I see a sea of people moving, some maybe hitting the yellow vehicles, but I watched extreme chaos in the Vancouver riots about two years ago, this is nothing, and I mean nothing… get over it! Just mob mentality in general!

  • Michael Allbritton

    No, no. I’m not saying the people in the video aren’t doing bad things just because others have in the past. I’m saying the sensibilities in the country are in the process of evolving, just as they had to evolve in the U.S. The mindless rage and hate on display is appalling and horrifying. But not all Georgians are like this.

    Don’t forget that the government gave the gay rights group a permit to gather, and the police were protecting the activists. If this had happened in, say, Russia the police probably would have been leading the crazed mob.

    Most Georgians simply don’t know any gay people, but if they did they would slowly but surely be able to change the culture of the country. The people in the video are a lost cause but their kids (who I am teaching) are not. It’s going to take time.

  • Brad

    I’m not sure that I buy the premise that condemning this violence and a country that would promote it as judging them too harshly. Your primary defense is that other countries like the U.S. have done the same thing to minorities? So, they aren’t so bad because others have done it too? Not a strong defense. There is a simple idea at work here. People who attack and kill or threaten to kill others simply because they are different are evil. There is no defense. There is no larger social context that justifies hate like that. It comes down to the individual choosing to harm another.

  • Michael Allbritton

    I am a peace corps volunteer currently serving in the Republic of Georgia, and I observed these demonstrations almost first hand. I’d ask folks to try not to judge the Georgians too harshly. In many ways Georgian society is about where the U.S. was in the40’s and 50’s. Let’s not forget how tolerant the U.S. was towards African-Americans marching for their rights. I seem to remember some pretty brutal actions from Americans then.

    Georgia is an old country struggling to find a new identity in the post-Soviet world. For the first time in almost 400 years they are free of foreign domination, and are governing themselves. They are moving forward, but it will take time. I’m not defending the actions of these violent people in the video, but not all Georgians are like that. And the ideas are changing with the help of progressive government and, I like to think, the positive influence of the Peace Corps volunteers.

    It took the U.S. many years to get to where we are now on the social tolerance front, don’t expect the Georgians to get there over night. Give them a chance.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Not really. We can always find a cure for disease. Bigotry… not so easy.

  • http://twitter.com/RonanWills Space Blizzard

    Dude, you’re correct that this is horrific but the whole “former soviet” angle you’re taking is bothering me. Anti-homosexual sentiment exists all over the world, even in committed democracies like the US. And suggesting that an entire country “deserved” a brutal dictatorship due to the actions of a relative minority is pretty appalling.

  • Jonathan Hinkle

    Hey, I know, let’s answer bigotry with bigotry! That fixes everything!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ilia.khachidze Ilia Khachidze

    hey you stupid asshole. your astonishing knowledge ’bout my country makes me wondering. better you read something.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    +++++++++++

  • Dawn

    How well the majority treats the minority in its midst is a great indicator of a country’s moral and ethical development.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.creekmore.9 Tim Creekmore

    And how is this so different from the mobs in France a few weeks ago, also supported by the Catholic church? Religion is a disease.

  • dcinsider

    Maggots. Next time they need to bring tear gas and feces to toss to the crowd.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHomo Adam

    I call the Israeli, government to stop fucking Christian entering Israel!

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHomo Adam

    Christianity is a mental illness! Chritian are mentaly ill.

  • dula

    I’m sure there are quite a few US Christians who are green with envy at THAT opportunity. In Russia, wouldn’t those Gays be arrested for “promoting homosexuality” on their bus tour?

  • Sweetie

    Apparently, there were same-sex unions in early Europe. Many societies in Africa had openly gay people. Some even argue that Jesus and his disciples would have been looked at as a gay group, arguing as they did against marriage and so on. In Berlin, gay men used to walk hand-in-hand. That was before the Nazis. So, unfortunately, social change is not always a matter of forward evolution. Sometimes it is a boom and bust pattern of regression-progress-regression.

  • Sweetie

    “Religion is the worship of society.”

    Therefore, religion both reflects a social ideal and also constructs it.

  • hidflect

    I remember in the novel “Gorky Park” a mention that locals would spread rumours that the African students had small tails to disincentivise girls from going out with them. It was a fictional but Martin Cruz-Smith spent many years in the USSR before he wrote the novel. The anecdote always had a ring of truth to me. A sort of combination of massive ignorance and unreconstructed racism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I know, we produce wonderful magical parades that attract hundreds of thousands in SF and all celebrate. Now that’s pro life. Georgia is a death tomb and a failed culture.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Statistically, I think you are right. But, there are many of we old radicals about to stir up that generation. If there is any hope, it will come from the next generation, who seems far more progressive. It will depend on how they mature and govern. I would never have predicted that my generation produced the likes of a Bush and his clone, Obama.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    My bad, I should have said pitchforks and shovels.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here.

  • emjayay

    From my bits of experience with Russians in Brooklyn, I’ve come to the conclusion that being under Russian Communism instead of creating the New Soviet man actually kept liberal social change out of countries behind the Iron Curtain. The were already mostly peasants barely out of th Middle Ages in 1917.

  • emjayay

    The Georgian restaurant near me is really good and the food is interesting and a bit different and the waiters are nice and cute also. Of course it can sometimes suffer from drunk Russian men shouting at each other over dinner. Yes they do have knives and forks. Also spoons.

  • Bill_Perdue

    It’s not a biological question, it’s a social question.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The problem in Georgia and other former members of the USSR is not just the eastern cults but Stalinism itself. During the Second World War Stalin re legitimized the Russian and other Orthodox cults in exchange for their support in the war against the Nazis. He undercut the work of thousands of Bolsheviks who died in the struggle to make Russia and the USSR a modern, civilized state.

    Societies infested by cults can never transition to being civilized states, only fundamental and revolutionary social change can accomplish that. England is no exception. As an ally, actually a client state of the US, the rulers of England remain barbarians.

    As for the US, there’s no question that we live in a barbaric society.

  • d3clark

    It’s not just Eastern Orthodox in Georgia and elsewhere (Russia). Here’s some info on Turks (primarily Muslim) and their feelings on gays: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hossein-alizadeh/the-other-and-lgbt-rights-in-turkey_b_3288724.html Not to mention the RCC and other “Christians” including the rabid evangelicals. Though I continue to be amazed that Spain and several South American countries that are heavily Catholic have come out in favor of marriage equality. They seem to be developing the idea that Church and state need to be separate entities.

  • d3clark

    Minnesotans United did a thank you after the marriage win there. They specifically thanked the large number of religious people (Catholics and others) who went against their faiths’ teachings and supported marriage equality.

    Agree with Karmanot, below. They should be taxed on investments, properties, artwork, etc.

  • Zorba

    Thank you, Becc.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    *hugs*

  • http://www.facebook.com/KevinJ1966 Kevin Johnston

    I can’t even begin to express how this sickens me. Can’t we ALL just please join the 21st Century, or at least the last part of the 20th?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/fierylocks FieryLocks

    Disgusting. What despicable and pathetic excuses for human beings!
    I can’t even begin to imagine the terror those activists felt as they were
    being mobbed by these cretins.

  • http://musephotos.wordpress.com/ GarySFBCN

    John, how can you be a member of this church? Being “surprisingly quiet about the hot-button social issues” also means that the don’t speak up with faced with despicable acts of violence and hatred such as this.

    If they aren’t part of the solution, they are very much part of the problem.

  • Zorba

    John, recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi. When asked what he thought about Christianity, he said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    And it’s not just Christians. Islam is even worse regarding LGBT’s. Of the seven countries that still impose the death penalty for homosexuality, all are Muslim.
    It’s not just Christians or Muslims. It’s religion, and most unfortunately, it’s humans.

  • Zorba

    We didn’t mourn it, or regret it. My feeling then, as now: “Karma’s a bitch.” Otherwise known as “What goes around, comes around.”
    I am still infuriated by the whole thing. Dan White got off easy, and his suicide was too easy on him. Son of a bitch.
    I need to stop now, before my blood pressure gets any higher.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Georgia, the asshole of former Soviet territories. Do the eat with knives and forks yet?

  • http://www.facebook.com/avergowven Andrew Vergowven

    If I were driving that van, I would have sped up and ran over as many as I could…

  • AnitaMann

    Yes, and Yes.

  • Naja pallida

    I’m pretty sure that’s covered under the part that says women are supposed to do only as their fathers, and then husbands, say, in all things. No further need to expound.

  • FLL

    You’re right. White wasn’t convicted of any murder charges, but only voluntary manslaughter. Thank you for the correction.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    In ’79, I was 16 so it was a little over my head. In retrospect, I fully understand and sympathize with the rage — especially given how many tried to excuse White for his act of cold-blooded murder.

    His was a suicide I would neither mourn nor regret.

  • Zorba

    I haven’t forgotten it. We lived in San Francisco at the time. Harvey was our Supervisor. We met him (his camera shop was a few doors down from where we banked) and we liked him. It is hard to understand the fury that the verdict engendered in San Francisco. Yes, among the gay community, but also among the rest of us who were not gay, but knew that justice had not been served.
    And, BTW, Dan White was not “acquitted.” He used the diminished capacity defense (often referred to as the “Twinkie defense”), received a verdict of voluntary manslaughter, and was only sentenced to seven years. He served less than five years, and less than two years after his release, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his car.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I wonder where her head is now?” I would venture a good guess.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ppppffftttt

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very like++++++ I would take it further and join a movement to tax churches on all their corporate investments.

  • Eod100

    I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’ve said. Sometimes I wonder if the attitudes among religion members is mostly divided between old ( generally against gay marriage) and young members (generally pro-gay marriage) like wider society but I still think certain religions are less progressive than wider society so it can’t just be a generational difference.

    I think the tide in the US at least is definitely moving in favour of gay marriage though slowly but surely.

  • FLL

    Polling data through the years has documented the fact that the percentage of American Catholics who support marriage equality and gay rights in general is substantially higher than the national average, mostly due to the higher prevalence of bigotry among American evangelicals. However, the recent war that the Catholic hierarchy has been waging against gay citizens, both in the U.S. and in foreign countries like France, has been so vocal and hateful that American Catholics of conscience can do only one thing: step away from the Catholic Church and stop their weekly donations to an organization that uses those donations to fuel hate campaigns. You may disagree, but there it is and the blame for the current situation falls on the Catholic hierarchy. Who was it who pushed the envelope, after all? Time for American Catholics to step away from the Church.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As far as I’m concerned, anybody who writes a check or tosses a Hamilton into the offering plate at Mass or Temple or Sunday Services is willingly contributing to my oppression as an American citizen and to the oppression of LGBTs everywhere.

    I’ll never forget the endless barrage of commercials aired during the Prop 8 campaign, with so many of the “Won’t you think of the children?” ones tagged as paid for by the Mormon Church, the American Catholic Bishops, and endless evangelical organizations.

    That money came from willing, voluntary donors.

    I’ll close with a quote that echoes what John says below:

    “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
    – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    The silence of the Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, and Evangelical faithful is just as appalling.

  • Eod100

    I’m not a member of any of those faiths, in fact I’m not a member of any faith. I just think it’s fairly simplistic (and untrue) to suggest that all these people are hateful bigots. If that was the case why would members of these religions pass legislation for same-sex marriage? People may be followers of the church but that doesn’t mean they don’t think for themselves on these issues. Obviously Catholics abhor the child abuse scandals and the church’s reactions and many left in protest of the church’s response.I think you have to work with the world you have and the structures and organisations within it.It’d be great if a switch could be pulled and homophobia was eradicated from all religions (ignoring the fact that homophobia is obviously not exclusive to religions) but instead those who want progress should work with those religions members who are also pro-progress. Ignoring those within religions who are trying to organise change from within by branding all members of a particular religion bigots will only alienate those people who are already on your side and give an excuse to homophobic people to continue on with their bunker mentality.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’ve started to stop making the distinction that members of the faith always want me to make. The Catholic church is still raping children and still not doing nearly enough to address it. And the Mormons, while taming their hate in words, they’re still hating in deed, including signing on to the hateful religious right anti-gay brief to the Supreme Court recently. And at some point, unless you’re throwing your body down in front of the church with all of your tolerant friends, and no longer giving these people money, then I’m sorry but you’re part of the problem. These church’s have power because they have followers. And I don’t see a lot of Catholics, Mormons or anyone else acting up against their church’s hate. Yes, blog comments are nice. But I’d like to see someone challenge a hateful priest some time, and organizing a boycott of donations, then we’ll talk.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Indeed — I’d forgotten about that one. It is remarkable though that more than 30 years later, there’s never been anything like that night, whereas anti-gay violence, on scales both large and small, remains sadly common.

  • FLL

    I believe that the White Night riots of 1979, when Dan White was acquitted after the murder of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone, were a necessary reaction to the ingrained homophobia of a judicial system that was capable of handing down a stunning verdict like that. A number of (empty) San Francisco police cars were flipped over and set afire during that riot. Fortunately, there has been a complete reversal since then, and the U.S. judicial system has been a fairly reliable ally in the struggle for equal rights during recent years. The White Night riots remain a cautionary tale.

  • Eod100

    This scenes in that video are truly disturbing. It’s horrible that such hatred still exists and is shown so overtly and violently. I have to take you up on the line ”And you thought just Catholics, evangelicals and Mormons were hateful bigots” though. I’m not sure if you mean members of these religions but if you do, I’m fairly sure a majority of members of these religions are not ”hateful bigots” and seems unfair to tarnish them with this label. I understand these religions’ hierarchy may state that homosexuality is a sin but the majority of their followers hold no such view.

  • trog69

    You wouldn’t have gotten far and the mob would have torn you limb from limb. Then set fire to the pieces.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I never lose sight of the fact that when these people point to their Bible as to why they feel it’s immoral to be gay, that the same text is very clear as to what is supposed to happen to us: We are to be killed*.

    And if that’s not hate, I don’t know what is.

    (*Well, male gays anyway. We bisexual women and lesbians are never explicitly mentioned, which isn’t surprising given the Bible considers us chattel property.)

  • pappyvet

    My but it makes me ashamed of the human race that after we have destroyed so much, we must destroy even more. And for what. To kill love,self respect and the dignity of life.

  • http://twitter.com/DiggerDoggg Hank Kelly

    This is chilling and religion at it’s worse. Priests leading a whipped up frenzy of a crowd filled with hate. They look like a pack of crazed wild dogs. How pathetic and sad that in the 21st century these kind of neanderthals still exist.

  • caphillprof

    The U.S. airlines industry is in need of, not just government regulation, but Soviet style regulation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/pike024 Kelly A

    wow didn’t realize there were so many georgian men still dealing with their homosexuality. there’s gotta be 10,000 gay men in that video! come on out boys it’s safe out here!

  • hoplite_i

    I would have floored it.

  • http://twitter.com/Scytherius Jonas Grumby

    Make NO mistake about it. We are NOT a civilized species in any way, shape or form. If there was a God, he’d hit this place with a comet.

  • jixter

    I think that I detected a few female voices on the audio but, pretty much, all I saw were males on the video. Weird, isn’t it, how some parts of the world haven’t caught up yet? We’re very, very fortunate to live where we do – in a relatively plastic and adaptable society that reacts to cultural ‘threats’ by (eventually) co-opting them and rendering them ‘harmless’.

    In 1967, when I was in high school, I stumbled upon what was then the first ‘hippie’ shop in Providence, RI: ‘The Silent Woman’. Along with the incense, posters and inflatable, plastic, psychedelically – patterned pillows, were tons of button-pins with the expected ‘hippie’ slogans printed upon them. I bought five or six and put them on my winter coat, which I then, of course, wore to school. I didn’t really think about what I was buying, when I bought them, because I was more impressed by their novelty value than what was actually printed on them.

    The high school I went to consisted of satellite buildings connected by covered walkways that required everyone to walk outside between classes, and one day, while Spanish class was wrapping up and I was putting my coat on that I’d left hanging over the back of my chair, the girl who sat in front of me turned to talk with a friend and noticed that one of my ‘buttons’ said “Equality for Homosexuals”. Keeping in mind that there were five or six of these ‘buttons’ all pinned in the same general area and also keeping in mind that they weren’t any larger in diameter than a quarter, she zeroed in on that particular one and spit out “If I ever found out that one of my friends was queer, I’d KILL THEM!”.

    I’ll never forget her face when she said that; the hatred and disgust she showed was palpable. I guess I’m lucky that she vented at my pin and not me.

    If she’s still alive all these years later, I wonder where her head is now? Has she matured and grown or is she like these Georgians?

  • Badgerite

    Murderous hatred of this sort never has anything to do with God or morality. And the kind of soft bigotry of ‘the Bible say’ is just one step on the path to murderous hatred. Having the humility to ‘wash’ someone’s feet ( see new Pope Francis) is all well and good but that does not result in gays being treated as the decent people that they are in society at large. Changes in law that do not separate out a group for unequal treatment has that result. Something the Church might want to keep in mind.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, I thought about throwing in that one example — but again, here you were talking about a riot, not unlike (but far more severe than) the ones in France a few weeks ago. Not just one guy acting out in his anger, but hundreds of people united in their hatred for gay people.

    I’m seriously hoping your “lighter moment” video post later this evening is an adequate antidote to this sheer awfulness.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s the thing. Other than crazy FRC attacking guy, I can’t think of a single gay person who’s done anything like this on behalf of the cause. And it’s not like during the heyday of AIDS they wouldn’t have been tempted, but they didn’t

  • iamlegion

    True that. And the people pointing you towards your new “enemy” are usually the most dangerous people around…

  • Max_1

    This video shows what religious indoctrination does to a social psyche…

  • PeteWa

    it’s strange, I just don’t feel very tolerant towards them and their “beliefs”.

  • A_nonymoose

    If you give people an enemy, they forget how shitty their own situation is.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Funny isn’t it, how LGBTs never violently riot nor call for the murder of straight people.

    But clearly enough there are plenty of purportedly straight homophobic bigots who on the one hand have no problem calling for our exterimination — while at the same time demanding we not call them haters or bigots.

    (And no, Stonewall doesn’t count because what they called ‘riots’ were actually no more than a refusal to submit to police orders to disperse and disappear. Nearly all of the violence was police on protester.)

  • nicho

    Now you know why, when the revolution broke out, the first people they went after were the clergy.

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