Inifrån från Belarus: ”Vi kämpar mot ett monster”

I Belarus ökar den politiska spänningen och förtrycket till följd av de fredliga protesterna. Nobelpristagaren Svetlana Aleksijevitj hotas av åtal. Vi publicerar till stöd för landets författare ett tal av Barys Pjatrovij, ordförande i det fria Belarusiska Författarförbundet. 

Dear colleagues, greetings from Belarus!
We are grateful to the EWC, dear Ms. Nina George and Ms.
Myriam Diocaretz, for the support we received after sending our
statements explaining the situation in Belarus. We thank everyone for
the solidarity and support we received after the publication of our
statement. We are excited that Europe and the world, thanks to your help
too, have finally paid attention to our country and our people struggling
for freedom, democracy, and the right to choose.

Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, are now facing criminal charges.

The brutal suppression of protesters on August 9-12 did not
frighten people, as the authorities were hoping, but provoked even
greater protest. As the riot police grabbed and severely beat most of the
men, the main role was taken by the nice and brave Belarusian women.
They came out on August 13 dressed in white and with flowers in their
hands and inspired the already fading protest to continue. They were
supported by factory workers and on August 16 at least 300,000 people
showed up at the protests in Minsk, and about a million – all over
Belarus. Protests continue daily to this day.
The specifics of the Belarusian protests are:

  • There are almost no leaders, as possible organizers were arrested
    preventively before the election. And then, if anyone tried to, they were
    arrested immediately. Members of the Coordinating Council that led the
    protests, one of them is the Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, are now
    facing criminal charges because ostensibly they attempted to seize
    power by force. By the way, no criminal cases have been initiated on the
    facts of beatings, tortures, and murders of protesters.
  • The protests are absolutely peaceful: during the marches, not a
    single shop window was broken, not a single car was turned over, people
    marching wait for the green light to cross the street, and take off their
    shoes when they get on the benches to see better…
  • The role of coordinators and organizers of the protests was taken
    over by social medias and Telegram channels.
  • Meanwhile, beatings, arrests, and trials continue. If in the first
    days about 2,000 people were arrested, now it is one hundred or two
    hundred people a day. Intimidation and persecutions continue, especially
    against the journalists. More than 70 websites are shut down. The
    printing of major independent publications is banned, and even if they
    can be printed outside Belarus, it is impossible to distribute them. The
    Internet is slow and sporadic.

Members of our Union are absolutely on the side of the people and
participated in the protests with them. Pavel Seviarynets, one of the
members of our Union, is a prisoner of conscience for more than three
Now the situation is stalemate: people are protesting all over
Belarus every day for a month already, and Lukashenko is sitting in his
residence and promises to carry out some constitutional reform in a year
or two. He behaves as if he really won the election. He says he will not
give up power, even if he is killed. After the mass rallies, he goes out to
the riot police with a machine gun in his hands, which causes not only
laughter but also pity…

It is important for us to make Europe understand what monster we have to fight with.

We need to understand that we have a dictator whom Europe did
not know yet. Any honest person, having so convincingly lost the
election, would agree with the will of the people. The problem is that
Lukashenko knows that if he gives up his power, he will face trial in The
Hague for previous crimes and the deaths of the opponents.
While the European Union promises sanctions against the
Belarusian authorities, Putin is clearly on Lukashenko’s side, preparing
and keeping special units near the border with Belarus to help
Lukashenko retain power if even loyal riot police turn away from him.

What can be done to help us in this situation? It is important for us
to make Europe understand what monster we have to fight with and to
see what an aggressor it is to its neighboring countries. The Belarusian
people have consolidated and clearly expressed their desire to be with a
free Europe and must understand that Europe is also with them. As for
the members of our Union, we will continue the struggle that has lasted
for 26 years. We believe in the justice of our will and the victory.

Barys Pjatrovij ordförande i det fria Belarusiska Författarförbundet.