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Why you can't become free in a day

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Vyshyvanka / rodnayamovaby.blogspot.com

Freedom is not the finish line where you run to become free in an instant. It is an internal, innate sense of dignity, believes culturologist Syarhei Hareuski. This is his answer to the question of Euroradio about why the changes in Belarus took so long.

It all did not start in 2020

Let's go back in history. Over the past centuries, there have been many uprisings in the territory of Belarus: from Tadeusz Kosciuszko to Stanislaw Bulak-Balachowicz. And all major uprisings ended in defeats and repressions. Why so? Khareuski does not consider it appropriate to draw historical parallels and does not consider the conflict of 2020 a revolution.

"Today's Belarus is not like Poland was in times of "Solidarity". It is not the uprising of Kosciuszko. Can the conflict of 2020 be called a revolution? I'm not sure, and most importantly, I'm not sure that it began in 2020. If we're talking about culture, let's not forget that blacklists of performers and authors have existed for years.

This conflict has just entered another information phase, but it has never subsided.

He urges us to at least remember the kind of relationship the authorities had with Vasil Bykau or with Uladzimir Niakliyaeu. According to Khareuski, the conflict has been dragging on since the perestroika.

"Since then, it has not been possible to apply total "perestroika", "perestroika" is not over. There are thaws, aggravations, but I do not see any end to it."

Today's situation is neither the beginning nor the end, but simply part of a chain. In order to finally rebuild something, Khareuski urges to start with oneself. And people are not ready to start with themselves.

"If you want everything in the country to be in Belarusian, speak Belarusian. Otherwise, they bring their children to the church and go out for a beer. This is just like sending your child to a Belarusian school - but you can't speak Belarusian yourself."

Independence did not come out of nowhere

Khareuski disagrees with those who say that independence fell on the Belarusians in the '90s like a snowball.

"Belarusians had been preparing for it for decades. There was a community. Openly or not, but independence was being prepared. Even though there were external factors, it is an absolutely wrong message to say that this independence has fallen on our heads."

And it is not only Belarus that could not defeat the "Soviet spirit". This victory is not obvious in Ukraine either, says Khareuski , "no matter how much we like the spirit of freedom and a certain anarchy."

"Not everything is so obvious there. Not to mention the bloody conflict that has been dragging on since 2014. There is a pile of corruption problems that even Ukraine's benefactors can't ignore. And I'm not talking about our eastern neighbors, we don't live 1,000 kilometers away on an island. We still live in the Russian information space. Hence the "Khabarovsk, we are with you" and the "Changes" anthem.

Besides, freedom is not something one achieves in one day and is content with.

"You can't tell everyone that we are now decent, free. All peoples and privileged nations are constantly fighting for freedom through parliaments, through the media. It's a continuous process, and there are thousands of new challenges all the time. It is a constant self-development.

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