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The Velvet Revolution

Dear readers, and you too, Kay,
Several of you have asked about the safety of my brother Clif and his wife Mary Neal, who are spending six months in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. (Mary Neal is the one who has been giving us superb fiber arts reportage from central Asia, if you’re joining us late. She is also a rabid fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Nine Inch Nails.)
Anybody watching CNN today may have seen the scenes of protesters storming Parliament in Tbilisi. Hubbo awoke me this morning with a cheerful, “They’re storming the Parliament in Tbilisi–watch this,” and sure enough, it looked just like a revolution. Alarming. Well, it took me about eight minutes to figure out that I should call Clif to hear his voice.
The utter miracle of cell phones meant that I dialed him up, and one ring later I was talking with him. Characteristically cheerful and cool as the other side of the pillow, he said they are safe, fine, and that the embassy folks suggested they lay low and stay home today. Clif said he was going to behave, but I didn’t believe for a second that he could resist getting a taste of a genuwine overthrow. See their blog Living with Caucasians for their first-hand account of an extraordinary, amazing day.
Love to you all, and remember: that whole country has risen up in search of freedom. Pretty spectacular. Would you storm Parliament if your elections were corrupt?

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  1. We wish we would, don’t we? Rise up, I mean. Sometimes I wonder. Like being waylaid by a ballot-seeker today that I would never vote for, but instead of engaging him in my pet community issues I just signed the ballot petition and moved on. (O.k., it was just a spot on the ballot, and my kids were in tow. But still.)
    What amazing times for (you and) your extended family to be living through, and how like them (given that they chose to spend a year there in the first place) that they would be comparatively nonplussed by the whole thing. At least for tonight.
    Here’s to cellphones!

  2. Hope it all stays relatively calm.

  3. I have to tell the rest of you, Ann already knows this, that I am not a thrill-seeker. So if I think it is way cool to be out there in the crowd, it is. It’s hard to convey how joyful and peaceful the atmosphere is. The opposition leaders are acting in the most responsible way possible, giving many clear signals that they are not just pigs shoving the old pig out of the way so they can have his place at the trough. The defense minister has said he will not call out troops. The Russians have said the same. So I feel hopeful and lucky that I’ve been here to witness it. You would be braver than you think you are here, too.

  4. I’m very glad to hear that Clif and Mary Neal are safe and sound. I couldn’t help but think of them all day yesterday.
    (aka Buffy’s friend from high school and I’m not talking about the vampire slayer!)

  5. For Mary and family,
    I hope you are all safe, and that the defense minister is right. They said on Norwegian television last night that the President has given the opposition 48 hours to retreat before military action will be taken.

  6. ann and mary neal —
    thanks for the update. i was wondering how you all were as the news accounts kept coming. for christmas, for forever, i would like peace. is that so much to ask?
    be well ( and let us know how the yarn merchant of tbilis is, too, ok?)
    btw….only like ONE song by nine in nails…and it is too early in the morning for me right now to remember WHAT exactly that song is!

  7. Clif sounds as if he is going to dine out on this for the next few years….But so pleased to read that they are safe, the atmosphere is peaceful and good – long may it remain this way. Take care, you two……

  8. After 4 extremely satisfying episodes of EastEnders last night–I sat bolt upright at scenes of Tbilisians dancing in the streets at 8 a.m. I’m still nervous, being old enough to remember, vaguely, Czechoslovakia and how groovy that was, until suddenly it wasn’t. Come home Mary Neal!!!! Love, Kay

  9. Well ,the presidential jet is on the runway & he has resigned.Seems,right now,that it has ,indeed,been a velvet revolution.

  10. So strange. I don’t even know you but I read your blog every day. The first thing I thought of when I saw the turmoil on CNN was your brother and your blog.
    I hope they stay safe.

  11. They are now calling this the rose revolution. Saakashvili walked (forced) his way into parliament with a rose in his hand to show that he was unarmed. Say what you will, these Georgians have a great sense of style.
    Last night here was the biggest party I have ever seen: like Mardi Gras, but with less public nudity. It is beyond my ability to describe: the noise, the joy, the streets flooded with tens of thousands of people beggar description.
    Apres la revolution, the hangover.

  12. So sorry to hear about the lack of public nudity–but it does sound like it was something to see, and be caught up in. I’m waiting for Wilson’s blog! xox Kay

  13. Seeing the unfinished projects inspired me so much that I sewed and put buttons on three almost finished vests that I had knitted in the past 1-2 years and never go to wear. This week is like Christmas with three new vests to wear! Thank you so much for the inspriration! I only have a sweater and a summer top to go now. The rest of the unfinished projects just need to have the yarn recycled!
    I love the site since Mary Neal recommended it, and visit often. Thanks for the fun. Mary

  14. Mary–Hmmm. It seems as if you saw that shot of my bed piled up with yarn-trailing half-knits and said to yourself: I better finish up my UFOs or I’m gonna end up like that!
    I don’t mind being anybody’s wake-up call. Must be fun to have all those new vests!
    And thanks, Mary Neal, for making us the Number One foreign knitting blog choice in Tbilisi, for the sixth straight week.
    xox Kay

  15. Mary–It’s always the buttons holding me back. My Beth sweater was a buttonhole band and buttons shy of completion for at least four months. It’s just a Wall I hit. Congratulations on such massive productivity–you know we’re envious, and a little bitter about it.


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