Belarant September 21, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
There may be a hint of ‘flogging’ and ‘dead horses’ going on in this blog, as one or two of you may have noticed, on the subject of Belarus, but is that not the joy of blogging? Lukeski over at The Diary of Disenfranchised Booksellers muses,
The lunatic fringe(s) are really the greatest beneficiaries of the internet,
and he is right, but I plan to give them a run for their money, so here’s another little rantette about Belarus (and I wanted to blog something so that the first thing that met any potential reader’s eyes wasn’t the Soviet and North Korean coats of arms emblazoned across the screen).
No doubt there’ll have been many a click yesterday from your humble servant’s site to this site*, where the gentleman in question has a far larger (captive) audience. (By the way, the link is to the Russian-language page. Don’t bother clicking on the ‘eng’ in the top right-hand corner. No need.) And therein lies the crux of my Belarantette. The site is in Russian and English. That’s very cosmopolitan, even internationalist of you, Mr. President, but isn’t there room for another language on there and another little abbreviation – bel, say – in the top right-hand corner?
The Belarusian language was in a parlous state when independence came. I met some Belarusians when studying in Poland in 1992 and when we did the obligatory address-swapping at the end of the course, one young lady actually spelt her country’s name wrong, so new was the name to her in the native tongue (and she wasn’t spectacularly dim). Yet there began a proper revival of the language – and everything else, even democracy to start with – with independence, but that has been largely snuffed out since the collective-farm manager surged to power on a wave of neo-Soviet manic depression in 1994. Whereas university education, for example, had started being conducted in Belarusian, now even Belarusian-language schools are closed down. It’s a queer type of anti-nationalism Lukashenka displays. The political rumour mill had it his ultimate aim was to tag Belarus back on to Russia – that could still happen, but it looks less and less likely the longer time goes on – so that he could then run for the absolute top job. Imagine! Part of the technique seems to be to continue the russification begun in the late 18th century full steam ahead.
Well, ever the optimist, I remind myself there are elections next year. If not before, let’s hope something miraculous can happen then to prevent Luka scoring another elegant victory.
*Update. He’s only gone and put a Belarusian-language page up.