Textbooks should be set on fire, or at least sent to the bottom
Recently reprinted 8,000 copy edition of the ‘History of Abkhazia’textbook for grades 10-11, under the editorship of S. Lakoba and O. Bgazhba, has given rise to a scandal.
The textbook authors have been blamed for falsification of domestic political developments in Abkhazia in 2013-2014.
A dispute arose over paragraph 13 of the ‘Modern History’ section, namely the story about how and why the early presidential elections were held in Abkhazia in 2014.
‘Aytaira’ public movement claimed, the textbook provided misleading information on the developments in 2013-2014 and suggested destroying the copies completely.
“We demand from President Raul Khajimba to withdraw the textbook from circulation and to take measures against those, responsible for its publication -the administration of the Ministry of Education and Science. Otherwise, the authorities’ inactivity will be regarded as direct involvement in falsification of the history of Abkhazia and deliberate split of the society also at the level of younger generations,” reads the statement.
A remark, made at the opposition’srecent meeting with the population in Ochamchira, added more fuel to the fire.
Leonid Lakerbaia, ex-Prime Minister of Abkhazia and the head of ‘Aytaira’ public movement, stated that new textbooks should, by all means, be withdrawn from circulation. Someone from the audience shouted that they should be set on fire, whereas Lakerbaia replied that burning textbook was expensive and they’d better be drown.
According to Stanislav Lakoba, a historian and co-author of the ‘History of Abkhazia’ textbook, this book was prepared for publication as early as during Alexander Ankvab’s presidency. Then Ankvab resigned early and the publication of textbooks was delayed due to the controversies as to which interpretation of the historical developments of 2014 should be used.
“The textbook was distributed among schools in early September. Then, all of a sudden, in early November …it [the opposition] raised the hype. The book presents the developments from ancient times to the present day, and there is much new, that has never been there before. So, one shouldn’t be throwing it around in such a manner, saying that the history of Abkhazia hasn’t been written in the right way,” said Lakoba.
He believes that the problem stems from the fact that opposition disagrees with representation of the developments on May 27, 2014 as an acute political crisis, which didn’t go beyond the constitutional framework and the power was transferred to the Parliament.
“Some people confuse Abkhazia’s history with their personal stories… We know that manuscripts don’t burn. The book was published and there is no getting around it. Even if it’s burnt and destroyed,” says Stanislav Lakoba.
In an effort to get more people involved in debates, ‘Aytaira’ held a roundtable, during which the textbook chapter -‘2014 early presidential elections in Abkhazia’ was discussed. As it was pointed out in its final communique, ‘interpretation of the developments that preceded unconstitutional dismissal of the legitimately elected President of the Republic of Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab, is a manifestation of the political climate.’
- On May 27, 2014, under the pressure of mass protest rally that grew into an aassault on the presidential palace, then-President of Abkhazia, Alexander Ankvab,was forced to flee to the Russian military base in Gudauta and to officially resign 4 days later.
- Opposition and a considerable part of the population interpreted those developments as ‘a violent overthrow of the legitimate government.’
The opinions expressed in the article convey the author’s terminology and views and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial staff.