28 March 2020, Saturday, 12:01
People’s Quarantine

Syarhei Parsyukevich: “Main thing is to remain a human, when they want to turn you into a beast”


A political prisoner Syarhei Parsyukevich, sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment in a colony for participation in a protest rally of market vendors has sent a letter.

“For me absence of freedom, an elementary impossibility just to go where you want and meet friends and family members is a great burden for my psyche. Certainly, I’m trying to groan inwardly. But sad and irritating thoughts are in my head all the time. Besides, I have worries that my family and friends are going through a difficult time. In addition to moral suffering, troubles and problems previously solved by me, financial problems have rained thick upon them. Earlier the main part of the family income was earned by me, now they are spending maintenance money on me.

I am aggrieved at what is happening in the country. The recent repressions and absence of adequate response to that from the civilized world do not uplift my spirits either. Absence of letters and objective information irritates me. I am sure my wife Natasha writes me almost every day. There are reasons her letters are no received by me. There are no newspapers either.

The whole system of the prison life in our country is aimed at debasing a person who had appeared there. Zhodzina [detention centre] has “top results” in that. A person is treated worse than cattle. It wouldn’t be possible for me to treat in such a way anybody. This all happens in front of my very eyes, and I cannot help it.

It is possible to take a philosophical approach to living conditions’ problems. There are 20 inmates for 12 places and no water for 24 hours? It’s not a big deal. Sometimes you are sitting the whole night in darkness, and you do not have a place to sleep.

One is given a sour cabbage soup as a breakfast, and boiled cabbage as a supper. When I have an asthmatic attack, I have to hammer on the door for 20 minutes. It is forbidden to have the inhaler in the cell.

The main thing is to remain a human, when they are trying to turn you into a beast by in all possible ways”.