This was written October 8th, 2020 and thus, all dates and epoch-related commentary is centered around the aforementioned temporal indication.
The war against totalitarianism wages on in the hearts of Belarusian and International citizens everywhere, despite shameful acts of perturbation by spellbound Belarusian citizens and heads of State Putin and Xi Jinping, who have shown public support for 26-year dictator Alexander Lukashenko, the same leader who had said, “Yes, I have been in power for maybe a little too long” in a recent interview with Russian State media. Protests in Belarus are now entering their ninth consecutive week of mayhem and carnage, October 4th the ‘March For Liberation" occurred, which was followed by the ‘"God Almighty’ protests in front of St. Helen Church in Minsk. This was then followed by Belarusian counter-governmental leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s meeting with Angela Merkel on October 6th, followed by the "We are walking” women’s protest on October 7th. Where does this leave Belarus? In a state of suspended animation, as a monumental Journalistic purge recently occurred in Belarus by The Belarusian Foreign Ministry, revoking all Journalistic licenses for foreign-bodies, any content deemed ‘anti-governmental’ is now strictly forbidden from being created and disseminated within Belarus. This is reminiscent of Stalin’s 1936 USSR Constitution Article 125 which bestowed press freedom, although contingent on ideological submission and wholly subject to revokement at any time. If this wasn’t enough, on October 2nd the EU had implemented sanctions, conveniently not on Alexander Lukashenko due to their hopes that this would encourage the dictator towards “inclusive dialogue on Belarus.” The fact that they thought this would work proves that the EU’s ability to correctly handle the strengthening hand of dogmatism running amuck in Eastern Europe is degrading and structurally collapsing. It is reported that only hours later, Lukashenko issued his own set of sanctions on various EU officials, resulting in Tikhanovskaya’s plea to the EU to “be more brave.”
Violent clashes between Belarusian citizens and their government are nothing new, as protests broke out prior in both 2011 and 2017, the former lasting only one day and taking on a peaceful demeanor, although leading to 400 purported arrests. The latter, however, lasted 4 months and took on a much more serious deportment, fueled by the continual economic dissatisfaction in Belarus conveyed due to a tax of $250 levied against the unemployed, defined as those who have worked ‘less than 183 days per year.’ According to collected sources, the construction of the 2017 protests were very much like 2020 contemporaneity, although there was significantly less global coverage than its modern counterpart. On the first official day of the protests, February 19th, there were upwards of 4,000 protesters spread among five cities in Belarus. This was matched the second day, February 26th, and throughout March's protests, upwards of 2,000 people were gathered for events of various natures. The protesting ceased for the month of April though, only to slightly reemerge in May, following the arrest of Mikola Statkevich, one of Lukashenko’s political opponents during the December elections in 2010. In 2017, he had been ‘released’ technically, but then quickly retaken due to his dictation of a planned demonstration, made illegal by Lukashenko on July 29th in 2011. Concerning Belarus’s Joan of Arc, according to reporting done by BBC, she is now wanted by the Belarusian government, stated to be also applicable in Russia due to ‘agreements’ made by the two dictatorial officials. The response from Tikhanovskaya’s campaign is one of collective, active stoicism, their response to the ‘wanted’ status being, “We don’t know about this. Svetlana did not receive any messages. But this is actually of little interest [to us].” However, she is brave beyond human reason in my opinion, as she has welcomed Putin’s active involvement in Belarusian affairs, going so far as to welcome him as a potential mediator if the time does arise, “We want to invite him to be a mediator.”
What can the average citizen do who cares about the future of global freedom? Venture onto Facebook, find groups, participate in marches, or spread the message by sporting the true Belarusian colours [red and white]. Solidarity can take many forms and there is no right answer as we have seen from protests across the world, all ranging in locality, size, denomination and ethnicity. Belarustogether.com can be your starting point, as a team of dedicated Belarusian supporters have created an easy-to-use website which has compiled Facebook pages, events, separate Initiatives, and more to help one stay informed, no matter their global region. This Sunday, October 11th in Detroit, Michigan, there will be a protest entitled, “Stand together against Violence and Dictatorship in Belarus,” starting at 10:45 am at 3434 Russell Street Detroit, MI. Put together by a chapter of The World Association of Belarusians, they ask you to bring posters written in English if you can, and I advise trying to wear white and red. Even if you’re not Belarusian, this can and will happen to your country and region if tyranny is not reprimanded and confronted by those who bear the biggest pain. The illusion of power lies in its ability to camouflage under false pretenses, but peel back the layers and you will be to see the wolf from among the sheep’s clothing. Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin have shown their true colours, where are yours?
Information about the Protest is available here.
Stand together against Violence and Dictatorship in Belarus
3434 Russell Street Detroit, Mi [10:45 am, ostensible weather will be 55–66°F Cloudy]
(Request is made for signs in English showing solidarity of any kind)