A Day of Solidarity with Belarus October 16, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
I haven’t quite yet worked out why today, specifically, but October 16th is A Day of Solidarity with Belarus (link in English also available), when folk have been asked to switch off the lights at 8pm and burn a candle in their window. OK, so I’m as sceptcial about this sort of gesture as the next man, but the lights are off and I’ve got my candles burning, struggling against the breeze our clearly non-airtight windows are exposing them to. Anyway, with the amount of information that gets out about anything to do with anti-Lukashenka resistance in Belarus, probably only twelve people in the country itself knew about this ‘protest’ and lit up against the dictator. But let us not despair. I’m all for anything that reminds folk of those who have suffered at Lukashenka’s hands. Solidarity is indeed what is called for as the opposition, such as it is, aims to unite against the incumbent in next year’s elections. Solidarity from without is necessary too, of course. Of the important players, only Russia – surprise, surprise – isn’t active in opposing Lukashenka, though at least there’s not the active support there once was.
In the cold light of day, or chilly candlelight of the first wintry evening of the autumn, of course one feels despondent about the chances of getting rid of Europe’s last dictator. But these movements must start somewhere. The opposition now has some good years of experience behind it and claims to have learnt from the mistakes of the last presidential campaign. You just have to hope the point of Lukashenka’s increasing isolation will make itself felt amongst the Belarusians themselves.