Maro Makashvili – the Georgian Joan of Arc
“Having lost the will for life or death
May is made snowy by February forever!
My heart is full of sadness with all of its heaviness;
Georgia is drenched in the loud mourning of Makashvilis!”
These verses belong to Maro Makashvili’s father Kote Makashvili. In the poem is reflected all the pain of Georgian parents whose children fell heroically in the winter of 1921.
The diary that is left from Maro shows her majestic soul and amazing intelligence. On the cover of the diary, Maro drew the flag of Georgia and wrote the proverb: “Whatever you give is yours, what you have not is lost.”
This little girl was dreaming about a bright and happy future. In her diary, we read: “I have to go to France and study agricultural business. I want to work by myself on my land. I wish to go to Paris and Italy. Will anything stop me from fulfilling these dreams?”
Deep down Maro was a simple girl dreaming to find true love and live a happy life.
She wrote: “I do not know his name nor his surname. I like him very much. He is nice-looking. I want to get acquainted. As we meet, he looks at me as well. I saw him in a white chokha, he looked wonderful. I am sad and lonely and wish my mom was next to me. “
In the era when Maro was born, women could only dream of living an independent life and having their own job. And then Maro, a 19-year old progressive student, wrote:
“If I get married, I will not be on the back of my husband. I will work and have my own money. It is not fair to live with someone else’s money. I am against it.”
Maro’s father, Kote Makashvili, remembers: Nothing could change Maro’s mind, as she said, “I should be there where the blood and tears of my fellow Georgians are”.
According to one story, Maro’s parents did not let her go to the front. The list entries were full and she asked her friend to give her a place instead of her.
In 1921, when the 11th Army came to Tbilisi, the most heartfelt part of the Georgian youth moved to Kojori-Tabakhmela to prevent the enemy’s bullets from hitting their homeland. No exception to this was Makashvili’s family: first the eldest son, Shalva, went to the battlefield. Soon after, Maro stepped forward too.
Maro probably sensed an upcoming event as she wrote: “Yesterday, for no reason, I suddenly started crying and cried for almost an hour. My heat felt relief. I ask myself what it is, but it is silent and does not answer. What is the reason, I do not know.”
On July 30, 1919: “Dear Father, I’m fine now. The enemy is still far away, we are attacking. We are very excited. If it is possible, send me nuts and sweets. Take care of yourself. I kiss you a lot. It is not that cold. Say hello to everyone. Do not be afraid. We will win gloriously.”
On the evening of February 19th, a grenade which exploded next to her did not give her a chance to say her final goodbye to her homeland and her parents.
The first victim of the struggle for independence of the homeland – the death of the woman was severely mourned by Georgian society, which was reflected in the press. Maro was called Joan of Arc.
Maro Makashvili’s garden was opened in the National Library in 2015. In honor of Maro Makashvili, Zakaria Paliashvili named his main character of the opera “Daisi” Maro.
On December 24, 2015, the President of Georgia awarded Maro Makashvili with the title of national hero of Georgia. Maro was the first such woman to receive this great honor.