Belarus: Experience of Resistance

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Roundtable
11 November 2020 - 8:00PM to 9:30PM

During August, a significant part of my job, as well as most of my free time, consisted of watching Nexta videos on Telegram, and posts elsewhere about the police brutality, the daring struggle, and the unfolding drama that was taking place in  Belarus. Three months on, and there has been no clear resolution of that conflict, despite the efforts of an overwhelming, popular movement with clear political demands. Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in power since the turbulent days of 1994, remains formally in charge, but his power and influence seem to have diminished. 

Walls, a production by Belsat, is a short masterpiece that captures the tension and grotesque monstrosity of the situation through the most iconic pictures of the uprising: the relatives of illegally detained and severely beaten protestors — spouses, partners, parents and grandparents  — confronted by walls of cruelty, silence, monstrosity, and cynicism. There is a long history of walls separating relatives in our part of the world, and today, in Belarus, they laid bare the nature of power — the "invisible” wall that, even without an outright oppressive regime, we have faced  in France, Britain, the US, or Poland, Serbia and Hungary. These are the invisible walls, the intangible nature of power, which are completely unresponsive to popular demands.

Watching this short film you will understand why the EU gave the Belarus opposition the 2020 Sakharov Prize. The film brings the events of a relatively far-away place so close that we find ourselves deep in the heart of the drama, from where we can see our own precarious position more clearly. 

Csaba Tibor Tóth

Participants:
Olga Zubkovskaya,  translator and interpreter, an administrator of the Belarusy Vugorshchyny Facebook group, a community of the active Belarusians living in Hungary
Almira Ousmanova, professor at the European Humanities University, Vilnius

Moderator: Csaba Tibor Tóth, journalist, merce.hu

The discussion is in English.