The Ambassador of Germany to Georgia Hubert Knirsch participated at the opening of today’s conference “100 years of Georgia’s first democratic constitution and soviet occupation” at the Tbilisi State University. During his speech he spoke about the importance of democracy and the protection of the Constitution:
“It is an honour to commemorate with you both the adoption of Georgia’s first democratic constitution and the occupation of Georgia by Soviet Russia. The dates, so close together, speak to us clearly and strongly. Georgia, a hundred years ago, had no chance to put its constitution into practice.
The message of history needs no interpretation. It lies open before all of us:
Live your constitution! Have it in your pocket, under your pillow, have it always on your mind! Defend it with all your force of reason, should it even be against your own narrow interest or personal impulse! A constitution de-personalizes politics. No matter who you are – you are not the most important thing in it. And neither is your party. A democratic constitution gives you rights and freedoms. But constitutional politics works through institutions. It is they who decide. It is they who hold legitimacy.
The German Weimar constitution, adopted in the same years as the Georgian one, may serve as a warning example of an order that was not destroyed from the outside, but from within. Of a democracy in which there were too many fighters – and too few democrats. Both our countries were given another chance.
In Georgia today, however, the danger is obvious of parties putting themselves first.
This is clear in the case where they run for parliament, but do not take up the yoke of responsibility.
Also more generally, however, parties too often follow an understanding of politics in which fighting the other side comes before serving the community.
If this does not stop, it will be a fight on a sinking ship.
I say this as an outside observer – but you don’t need us to know it. Democracy is not something you do to please the European Union, or the United states. Not even to annoy the people in the Kremlin and to nourish the fear in their hearts.
You do it for your own well-being as a nation – and because you owe it to its history.
I look forward to hearing more about the state of research into the events of a hundred years ago - and I commend TSU, Ivane Javakhishvili University, for having strengthened research into Georgia’s 20th century history”, - said the Ambassador.