On Sunday morning may 14 the NPR had a segment about “bridal kidnappings” in Georgia, as the program evolved it became obvious that the story was in fact recorded in the Armenian regions (Akhalkalaki) of Georgia,and the word “Armenian” was mentioned several times just as some of the characters with names like Anna Oganesian etc. were heard speaking.
Below the listing. I can’t find the full text and neither can I open the audio. Can anyone?
Btw, in the same program was a story about the Kana dogs whish we know as Haykakan Gampre, even if there mention no mention of “Armenian” Kidnapping Custom Makes a Comeback in Georgia
by Lawrence Sheets
Weekend Edition Sunday, May 14, 2006 · In some rural parts of the Republic of Georgia, an old custom is experiencing a revival. Women are being kidnapped and held for a night by men who want to marry them, thereby making eventual nuptials a necessity, according to local traditions. Some families say they fear letting their daughters go out into public, lest they be "forced" into unwanted marriages. Activists are speaking out against the "tradition," but they concede it may be hard to change attitudes
Edit. Here is the full text.
KIDNAPPING CUSTOM MAKES A COMEBACK IN GEORGIA
Anchors: Liane Hansen
Reporters: Lawrence Sheets
National Public Radio (NPR)
SHOW: Weekend Edition Sunday 1200-1300 PM
May 14, 2006 Sunday
LIANE HANSEN, host:
In some of the more remote parts of the former Soviet Union, there's
been a resurgence of bride kidnapping. The ancient custom is being
practiced in Kyrgyzstan and in some parts of the Caucusus Mountains.
Women's groups in former Soviet Georgia are trying to draw attention
to the kidnappings and to use new laws to curb the practice.
NPR's Lawrence Sheets has this report from Georgia.
LAWRENCE SHEETS reporting:
In the remote mountain villages of the Javaheji(ph) region, the fall
of communism led to a revival of the old ways, even in courtship.
Lea(ph) Meidseradi(ph) had seen her husband-to-be Gia(ph) only once
or twice, when he and some of his friends grabbed her off a village
street, shoved her into a car and took her away to his relative's
Ms. LEA MEIDSERADI (Kidnapped Bride): (Through translator) I told
him I loved another boy, but he told me, even if you had five kids
I wouldn't leave you alone.
SHEETS: That time, Gia relented and he let Lea go. But Gia was
persistent. He kidnapped Lea a total of four times, chasing her down a
ravine in one case. Finally, Lea says, most people in her home village
found out she'd been kidnapped and, thus, she had lost her honor.
Ms. MEIDSERADI: (Through translator) He kidnapped me so many times
and everyone knew. I started to be afraid that people might say I
wasn't a virgin. So I just gave up, even though I wanted to run away.
My family told me, there's nothing you can do now. You must marry him,
otherwise you'll shame your brothers.
SHEETS: After village elders celebrated by slaughtering a pig, Lea
and Gia were married. She said she cried through the entire ceremony.
Most so-called bride kidnappings -- called Motsatseva(ph) in Georgian
-- are actually part of elaborate local courtship rights. Brides
often give their consents to the so-called kidnappings as a way around
parental opposition to the marriages. But locals estimate 20 percent or
so are real kidnappings, done against the wishes of the would-be bride.
Taquiv Aranan(ph) is a civic activist in the Javaheji region.
Ms. TAQUIV ARANAN (Civic Activist, Javaheji Region): (Through
translator) According to our mentality, after that kidnapping, even
if she doesn't want the guy, she's forced to marry him. And they live
without love. The woman becomes a slave and in these families there
are many fights and beatings.
SHEETS: Taquiv Aranan says that in Soviet times, bride kidnappings
were very rare. But over the past decade there's been a big increase.
She attributes the rise to post-Soviet poverty and the lack of ways for
young people to interact in this highly conservative mountain region.
Ms. ARANAN: (Through translator) When I was growing up in the Soviet
period, there was a theater, places to meet, a youth club. Now there
is nothing. We have to create new places where young people can meet.
SHEETS: Until three years ago, kidnapping a woman for marriage was
considered only a relatively minor infraction under Georgian law. It
even fell under a separate statute. That law was scrapped and bride
snatchers now theoretically face 15 years in prison, as any kidnapper
Fifty mile away lies the predominantly ethnic Armenian town of
Ahakalagi(ph), tucked under 10,000-foot high mountain peaks. Bride
kidnapping is rarely discussed here, but a group of women is meeting
to talk about the problem. Some of them are openly talking about it
for the first time.
Lawyer Anita Hoganisian(ph) encourages bride kidnapping victims
to press criminal charges. But she says almost no young women do
because of pressure from their families in this closely knit society
to keep quiet.
Ms. ONITA HOGANISIAN (Attorney): (Through translator) There are very
many cases where the authorities blame this on our traditions. Young
women have no social protection in our society and their families don't
understand the problem. They see their daughters as having been shamed.
SHEETS: Hoganisian says only five legal cases were opened in this
region over the past year, though she believes the real numbers
of bride kidnappings to be many times higher. And four of those
five cases were dropped after the young women victims refused to
cooperate. Hoganisian represented the only young woman who took her
case all the way to a judge.
Ms. HOGANISIAN: (Through translator) This girl was kidnapped by a
distant relative, held for 48 hours and raped. But the guy was only
given a suspended sentence because the girl's family evidently put
pressure on the girl not to demand that he be punished.
SHEETS: Hoganisian says the young girl now has been shamed into
isolation. She refuses to even come out of her parents' house.
(Soundbite of chatter)
SHEETS: And although this women's forum is discussing ways to raise
social awareness about bride kidnapping, not all in the room agree
that the custom can be stopped.
Ana Naktaktian(ph) is a 62-year-old former accountant.
Ms. ANA NAKTAKTIAN (Former Accountant): (Through translator) It's a
bad thing that this happens, but this has been going on for hundreds
of years. There's nothing anyone can do about it. These are our
SHEETS: Lea Meidseradi agrees with that. She's now been with her
husband Gia for 15 years, since she was bride kidnapped. Lea says she
hated her husband at first, but that things worked out fine in the end.
Ms. MEIDSERADI: (Through translator) I got used to it. He's a very
good husband and I quickly came to love him. Gia fought for his love.
The main thing is for a boy to love you. The woman will love him later.
SHEETS: Lea and Gia now have three children. Lea says she hopes her
now 12-year-old daughter will get married by mutual consent one day.
But Lea, an Orthodox Christian who now teaches religion in a public
school here, says that if her daughter is bride kidnapped, so be it.
It will be the will of God, she says.
Lawrence Sheets, NPR News, Georgia.
Edited by Arpa, 16 May 2006 - 05:28 AM.