It’s not all grim in Belarus September 13, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I’m waiting for permission from the owners of this site before actually reproducing one of the heavenly photos from this series of photos of Ružany township in the Brest region, south-west Belarus. If you look at the last of the seven photos in the series – hopefully I’ll reproduce it in a later blog entry – isn’t that just the perfect Chagallian view of Belarus and doesn’t that innocent snapshot just capture so much of Belarus’s history in one fell swoop? First there is the ramshackle synagogue, now in ruins, but reminder of a bygone age when Jewish life was at its most vibrant anywhere in Europe (along with Poland). In front of the ramshackle synagogue, there’s a nice ramshackle hut which you could happily picture a Chagall violinist playing in front of (or a nice married couple flying over). And then behind the disused synagogue, you have not just one church, but two, as if this photo hadn’t summed up Belarus’s history nicely enough already. The Orthodox church is resplendent with its blue cupola and its kemptness is an obvious contrast to the synagogue’s having seen better days. But what’s that over to the right? A Catholic church? Belarus may be some sleepy dictatorship now but isn’t that all the more tragic to contemplate when one thinks of what a crossroads it’s been and what a rich cultural history it’s had? For the 75th time on this site, I say, “Жыве Беларусь!”