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September 23, 1991 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

9

Page 8--The Michigan Daily- Monday, September 23, 1991

Soviet Georgian leader
seizes broadcast station
Citizens protest, stand up to republic government
in an effort toward freedom and independence

MOSCOW (AP) - Maverick
troops and armed opponents of
Georgian President Zviad Gam-
sakhurdia seized a government
broadcast station yesterday in a
widening conflict the president is
calling a coup attempt.
The takeover of the station came
amid huge rallies both for and
against Gamsakhurdia, who is ac-
cused by opponents of adopting dic-
tatorial methods since his landslide
victory last summer as the southern
republic's first elected president.
Gamsakhurdia's supporters back
his forceful style and strong push
for independence for their multi-
ethnic republic of 5.5 million peo-
ple.
Opposition to Gamsakhurdia
grew after government troops on
Sept. 2 wounded five protesters. The
president denies giving an order to
shoot, and has opened an investiga-
tion in which he says one police of-
ficer already has been detained.
Also yesterday, an anti-govern-
ment demonstrator died a day after
setting himself on fire, according to
reports from Georgian reporters
Georgy Vardzelashvili and Tamara
Chkheidze.
"If Georgia needs a victim to
stop the bloodshed, I am ready to
sacrifice myself," Vardzelashvili
quoted the man as saying before
torching himself.
More than 10,000 people
swarmed down Rustaveli Avenue
toward the president's office in
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front of opposition party headquar-
ters to demand that the president re-
sign. At the same time, smaller
groups of Gamsakhurdia supporters
rallied in defense of the president.
During the night, police and pres-
idential supporters also removed
about 40 hunger strikers from in
front of government headquarters in
Tbilisi.
Although opposition crowds
have blocked Georgian broadcast
transmissions since Tuesday, the
prime minister was able to televise
his appeal on a makeshift hookup.
Leaders of the Georgian opposi-
tion, and many Western officials
and human rights activists, say
Gamsakhurdia has turned into a
dictator and incited ethnic strife
since taking office.
As the last empire to rule them
dissolves, Georgian citizens want to
be on their own.
"Every Georgian is born with a
burning nostalgia for freedom,"
said Guliko Kavsadze, a construc-
tion engineer turned poet, her eyes
moistening when asked to reflect on
independence. "It is in our blood."
Though numbering fewer than 4
million in a corner of the Caucasus,
Georgians are deeply attached to and
fiercely proud of their land.
Today, a single issue is at the
heart of a widening political war:
Georgia wants the world to recog-
nize it as a sovereign state freed
from occupation, just like the three
Baltic nations.

Russian Cyrillic characters are
fading fast from the Old World
walls of Tbilisi. On government
buildings and newer shops, English
accompanies the curvy Georgian
script.
When Austrians opened the
fancy Metechi Palace Hotel in a
joint venture with the republic's
government, the staff refused to put
borscht on the menu. Too Russian.
Building a separate economy
will be far harder, Georgians say.
"We are good poets, good politi-
cians and good managers, but not
very good workers," said Victor
Gonashvili, a former top Finance
Ministry official who is now a pri-
vate entrepreneur. "And we have
nothing to sell."
Georgian industry is well devel-
oped but not good enough to com-
pete in the West. It has oil and man-
ganese, but not enough. The tourism
potential, however, is vast.
Georgians agree on independence.
But most are convinced that separa-
tion in any real sense is still some
way off.
"The English say it takes three
generations to make a gentleman,
and it might be the same for a free
person," said Nataly Guliashvilifan
academic translator. "Our genera-
tion will never be independent, and
I'm not sure about our children's.
But it will come, and that makes me
very happy."

International affair
The Law School's international alumni gathered for a reunion Saturday. A large tent was built
in the Law Quad to house the festivities, which included speakers and food.
Canadian prime minister to

recognize 'distinct' Quebec

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Find out what's out there, read..
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-

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U p L1"

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THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO
BECOMING A NURSE IN THE ARMY.
And they're both repre-
sented by the insignia you wear
as a member of the Army Nurse
Corps. The caduceus on the left
means you're part of a health care
system in which educational and
career advancement are the rule,
not the exception. The gold bar
on the right means you command respect as an Army officer. If you're earn-
ing a BSN, write: Army Nurse Opportunities, P0. Box 3219, Warminster,
PA 18974-9845. Or call toll free: 1-800-USA-ARMY, ext. 438.
ARMY NURSE CORPS. BE ALLYOU CAN BE.

TORONTO (AP) - Prime
Minister Brian Mulroney takes his
best shot at keeping Quebec in
Canada this week when he announces
proposed constitutional changes
aimed at appeasing the French-speak-
ing province.
Quebec wants the constitution to
recognize it as a "distinct society"
and will hold a referendum on
sovereignty next year if its demands
are not met.
Mulroney promises that his pro-
posals "will be the beginning of the
process and not the end." They are to
be presented to Parliament tomor-
row.
The Meech Lake accords, an ear-
lier attempt to appease Quebec, col-
lapsed last summer, spurring a new
rise in Quebec nationalism and the
feeling among many Quebecers that
they had been rejected by English
Canada.
Quebec, which has about 7 mil-
lion of Canada's 26 million people,
believes its French language and
culture are threatened by the sea of
English speakers on all sides. The
province already has its own legal
system based on the Napoleonic
code and laws making French the
only official language.
Quebec refused to sign the 1982
constitution, although the province
is still covered by its provisions.
The federal government has spent
much of the past decade trying to
woo Quebec back into the fold.
Although there are many issues
involved, Canadians outside Quebec

are most disturbed about the de-
mand for "distinct society" status.
"They fear that the word
'distinct' would be interpreted as
meaning superior, and that such a
definition would make them infe-
rior," said Joe Clark, a former prime
minister who is now Mulroney's
minister for constitutional affairs.
Details of Mulroney's plan have
not been disclosed, but Clark said in
a speech last week that they would
include giving Quebec this special
status.

'Being equal does not
mean being the same.
And being a 'distinct
society' does not
mean that Quebec is
superior to Alberta'
- Joe Clark
Former prime minister
"We are all equal as Canadians,"
Clark said. "Being equal does not
mean being the same. And being a
'distinct society' does not mean that
Quebec is superior to Alberta."
The Conservative government
also will propose a constitutional
change that would provide for the
Senate to be elected rather than ap-
pointed by the prime minister and
his government. This is meant to ad-
dress concerns by Canada's western

provinces, which believe elected of-
ficials would give them stronger
representation in Ottawa.
Mulroney also will propose
self-government for Indians and the
Inuit, more powers for the
provinces and central control over
the economy.
A 30-member parliamentary
committee is to travel the country
to hear how the public feels about
the plan and submit a report on Feb.
28.
"We think it is a sensible docu-
ment and a sensible approach, but we
are inviting constructive criticism,"
Mulroney told the House of
Commons on Thursday.
Both of the main opposition par-
ties, the Liberals and the New
Democrats, have agreed to cooperate
with the process but say that does0
not mean they will ultimately sup-
port the government's plan.
The Meech Lake accords fizzled
in June 1990 after failing to gain the
approval of all 10 of Canada's
provinces. Quebec Premier Robert
Bourassa said he would no longer
participate in interprovincial meet-
ings, and his government passed a
law calling for a referendum on
sovereignty no later than October
1992.
Nationalist fervor seems to be
cooling somewhat, but recent polls
indicate about half of Quebec's peo-
ple favor independence from Canada.
Others would like some sort of
"sovereignty-association" with
Ottawa.

*
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