Khachapuri and Rave

I have no idea who the people next to me are. I can’t see anything but the outline of humans. I can smell them. The dancing heap of dissolute egos. They are the foreigners that warrant no fear, strangers causing no discomfort. They are the warm, welcoming hosts in our cosmopolitan world. They are the embodiment of freedom dancing their own thoughts away. I’ve never been more excited about tomorrow. I can smell her hair. She’s dispersing droplets into the air, perspiring with the energy of nuclear fission, the splitting of her body and her soul. We touch. There’s a shiver every time. My heart beats faster and faster. I know it’s coming. The ecstasy.

There are thousands of us here. We’re humming to the vibrations of bass. The crowd sweats the sour, inducive pheromones of love coursing through the youth that will own the land of tomorrow. We owe nothing to no one. We are indebted only to the freeing darkness; to the flattening of time into the one-dimensional point of a psychedelic experience. We’re not here for anything that can be given. We are simply the premonition of a future that will eat away the coercive bonds held by our jailers.

We wait for the drugs to kick in. No one marches in uniform. We don’t stomp. We’re not some demanding collective hammered into a cohort by screaming slogans. Our crowd is a fragmented mirror reflecting a kaleidoscopic vision of the world, full of colour and energy, independently liberated into a force for peace. We are our own masters that’ll never tire before an empty canvas. Sovereign minds. We’re playing hopscotch on fluorescent courts drawn with stardust and fate. But we dance together. We fight together.

On the turn of midnight in Tbilisi, I feel the heat slowly descending into my hands. It’s a cool night in the Georgian capital but the forming rave, like a fuel, makes all of us into combustible engines fuming heat and sweat. My arms point loosely to the ground as I swing them to the rhythm. From the darkness, I look toward the light. The screen of smoke and steaming breaths before the laser beams looks like a veil around our shamanic overlord of music – I can see the sky painted neon red. A sky full of good spirits.

We’ve come to protest power. A turning point is being marked. We’ve reached the summit from which we can see the yesterday’s fermenting fear and the blossoming of our future tomorrow. There’s a resounding “no” being heard. “No” to all the paternalistic visions headed our way. “No” to the false claims of dominion over our bodies and our minds. A “no” to each uniform that usurps the young night from us, leaving us destitute and devoid of our fun. We won’t give up on fun. We were promised it on our birth. We won’t give in to the collective violence that wants to steal that from us no matter where we are. We say “no” to that. Instead, we’ll build up momentum and break through their barricades. And running, at the speed of sound, we’ll hurl down the motorway with our hands in the air leaving a trail of fire behind us and no end in sight ahead. Around the world, clubbers, ravers, pill munchers, DJs, divers, hoofers, trippers, activists, pacifists, tourists and hosts, angels, hell-raisers, stoners, and the occasional square – all artists of their own trade – join in on the peaceful show of force contained by love and music.

That’s something that connects us. The sound. There’s an esoteric ringing coming from the speakers like sirens. I can hear the obscure language of the snares, the long horns of battle, and the muffled delay of bass; and looming, just over the sound horizon, the orgasmic experience set to remind of the universal energy that connects us all.

Then there are the forces that disturb that connection. A diabolical notion – that we are not all morally equal universal beings but rather vastly different forms of life – has somehow been allowed too much divisive power. It disrupts more than our fun. It makes our physical characteristics, our mental efforts, our choices more than quirks of our character with which we take on life. It makes these characteristics into the debts we owe to our pasts, our skins, and our compatriots.

The closing down of our clubs is much more than a threat to our fun. The aggressive police raids on Bassiani and Café Gallery on early Saturday morning, on the 12th of May, have shaken up the survival instincts of kind souls. As reported by Resident Advisor, Tbilisi police forces have arrested around 60 people in their effort to display authority and make their intention known: this culture will not be tolerated. They want to assert control and make this world of ours into a dangerous battleground of incompatible lifestyles.

But for those who have ever been a part of it, it’s well-known that aggression will not stop the thriving scene. The pervasive energy contained within it has always made it much more than a rebellious sect made to challenge the status quo. We’re not challenging anyone. We are simply an expression of freedom. That is why our fight is one of music and dance. That is why, around the world, protests of support are being organized from New York to Warsaw in front of Georgian embassies.

We are freedom’s children. And if this freedom must challenge something, it will challenge the idea of subjugation and paternalism. And this is what these raids were – a product of a vile idea.

Married to this diabolical notion of fundamental intersectional differences is the thought that there are certain ways of life which are enjoyed collectively, not individually; that there should be violent forces employed to preserve them, whereby all other ways of life must be purged or banished so as not to disturb the natural order of things. It pertains that identities exist collectively and that the fundamental differences between such collectives are incompatible with one another. Consequently, the competition between collectives, not ideas, is the norm of human existence. There are collectives that are threatening; there are collectives that are dangerous – and there is legitimacy in extinguishing the choices and actions of those in disagreement with a dominant narrative.

This idea, that we should be compartmentalised and marginalised on the premise of group-think, has always been the greatest, most deceptive demon to an individual; and aptly, at the same time, it presented the individual as the greatest demon to itself.

And as the forces of this idea made themselves known on the 12th of May, saying that our dances and our drugs, our sounds, and our love are a threat to them, we gathered together – thousands of us – and in thousands of interpretations of our freedom said: “No. We dance together. We fight together.”

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