‘It is Our Duty to Oppose it’: Screenings of Undercover in the Alt-Right in Georgia Prompt Discussions about Combating Extremism

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The Why
April 11, 2024

Our Partner The Georgian Media Development Foundation

In Georgia, amidst a complex political landscape marked by debates over democracy and governance, The Georgian Media Development Foundation (MDF) emerges as a beacon of empowerment and progress for media freedom and human rights education. As the country grapples with challenges related to political transparency, accountability, and the protection of democratic principles, organisations and NGOs such as MDF play a critical role in fostering  media freedom with accountability, human rights education and social development. By working to foster critical thinking with the current media landscape in Georgia, MDF not only addresses the pressing needs of communities but also contributes to the larger narrative of strengthening democracy and civil society in Georgia.

Educational Screenings in Akhaltsikhe and Tbilisi

In late March and early April, MDF - in partnership with The Why - organised two thought-provoking screenings of the documentary "Undercover in the Alt-Right" by Bosse Linquist (2018). These took place in Akhaltsikhe and Tbilisi with the audiences made up of University students, civil activists, and representatives from the non-governmental sector. Over 150 people attended the screenings. This documentary follows an undercover Swedish journalist as he infiltrates the secretive world of the Alt-Right movement, shedding light on its dangerous ideologies, tactics, and impact on society. Through intimate interviews and undercover footage, the film delves into the complexities of the Alt-Right movement, exploring its radical beliefs, recruitment strategies, and online presence.``Undercover in the Alt-Right'' offered a compelling and eye-opening look at the rise of extremism and the challenges of combating hate in today's digital age to the audience.  

"Undercover in the Alt-Right" for a Georgian Audience

The documentary "Undercover in the Alt-Right" by Bosse Linquist is particularly intriguing for a Georgian audience due to its relevance to contemporary social and political dynamics. Georgia, like many countries right now, grapples with issues of extremism and radicalisation, making the exploration of the alt-right movement pertinent. By delving into the secretive world of the alt-right, the documentary sheds light on the underlying ideologies and tactics of such groups, offering valuable insights for Georgian viewers into the complexities of modern extremism and the challenges it poses to societal cohesion and democracy. Additionally, the documentary's investigative approach and revelations about the alt-right's strategies provoke critical reflection on the potential presence and impact of similar movements within Georgian society.

"Undercover in the Alt-Right" is also of interest to a Georgian audience as it presents contrasts to Georgia in several aspects. Firstly, while both regions may face issues of extremism, the specific manifestations and ideologies of the alt-right differ between the Western context depicted in the documentary and the socio-political landscape of Georgia. Georgia's historical, cultural, and geopolitical factors may give rise to distinct forms of extremism with unique motivations and grievances.

Important Discussions

After the film screenings, discussions were held. In Akhaltsikhe, the discussion was led by head of the Tolerance Center, Beka Mindiashvili and was moderated by the Deputy Executive Director of MDF, Mako Chilashvili. In Tbilisi,  Giga Zedania, Director of Centre for Advanced Studies and Professor at Ilia State University led the discussion after the screening and the Executive Director of MDF, Tamar Kintsurashvili moderated. The film screening was attended by both young people and representatives of the older generation. They discussed the phenomenon of alt-right with the speaker, moderator, and each other, delving into what could be the basis of it and what drives them to resort to violence. One of the most important aspects of the screening is that the film “Undercover in the Alt-Right” will raise awareness of how other members of society can be protected from the influence of these extremist beliefs.

A standout comment from the screening in Tbilisi came from the key speaker Tamar Kintsurashvili, who voiced:

“Maybe some people sincerely believe that the fight against identity through violence is justified, but justifying violence to achieve this is extremism, and it is our duty as the society’s to oppose it”.

Comments from the screening participants in Akhaltsikhe centred around how they could connect the reality shown in the film to the situation in Akhaltsikhe itself. They said that they are aware of their own responsibility in this process. The speaker, Beka Mindiashvili spoke about the nature of Western democracy and the role of the citizens in this system. He also highlighted why views based on racial intolerance are a real threat.

Positive Outcome

Screenings and debates like these are so important in Georgia - a country that is experiencing numerous political challenges, notably regarding media freedom and the ongoing information warfare with Russia. These events underscore the importance of engaging young Georgians in such crucial discussions. With youth comprising only 12% of the population and a significant portion expressing little interest in politics, it's evident that there's a pressing need to provide opportunities for political involvement. According to a recent study, only 38% of young Georgians reported a low level of interest in politics and most have minimal engagement in local and national affairs. This lack of interest is partly attributed to the limited opportunities for political participation among young people in Georgia. However, addressing these issues is crucial, as the younger generation is likely to be the most affected by information warfare in the future. The discussions during the screenings also explored ways to address extremism, with participants acknowledging the significant role young people play in finding solutions. The positive reception of the documentary screenings and the expressed desire for future events indicate a promising path forward for fostering continued dialogue and action.

For more information visit mdf.georgia.ge.

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