23 January 2018, Tuesday, 15:11

Mieczysław Szcześniak: I cannot pretend it does not touch me


A prominent Polish singer has been invited as a jury member to Slavonic Bazaar Song Festival in Vitsebsk.

He received the offer before the arrest of journalist Andrzej Poczobut and the latest tide of repressions against the opposition. Now, he lost his desire to take part in the festival, Gazeta Wyborcza runs.

The singer sent a very private letter to the festival organizers explaining the reasons for his decline:

“I am thankful for invitation to take part in the work of the international jury panel. This is a great honour and pleasure for me. I appreciate your talents and your work, as well as your efforts to develop art. I know this, because I visited your festival, I love it sincerely and dream of coming back again, but…

The Belarusians and Poles, who lives among you, have faced difficult times. You feel it in your everyday life in the same way as it felt by those in prison, like Andrzej Poczobut and many of your countrymen. I cannot pretend it does not touch me. I cannot earn, have fun and drink Champagne while others are suffering from persecution before your eyes.

Sorry, but I will not attend the festival. But one day I will come with great pleasure to celebrate your freedom – this is inevitable!

I wish you courage and hope,

Yours faithfully, Mieczysław Szcześniak”