There is a guerrilla war going on in the middle of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. But this is no armed conflict. It’s a struggle over green space and greenbacks, and one with important implications for grassroots activism throughout the region.
The offshoot of a global campaign to garden wherever concrete threatens to prevail, Tbilisi’s self-proclaimed “guerrilla gardeners” have so far succeeded in planting trees and in halting construction of a $20-million luxury-hotel project. In Tbilisi -- a city of roughly 1.17 million, where construction provides much-needed investment and jobs -- that’s a result that gets attention.
Preventing the hotel from going up was not the initial motivation for launching this guerrilla movement. “In the beginning, all we wanted was to plant some trees,” said Nata Peradze, a wiry, 40-something woman who leads the movement in Georgia.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a frequent contributor to Eurasianet's Tamada Tales blog.