23 January 2018, Tuesday, 20:52

Krzysztof Zanussi: The power of Belarusians is in resistance


Independent Belarus is a common European interest, the famous Polish film director is sure.

In an interview to Radio Svaboda Krzysztof Zanussi draws parallels between today’s Belarus and the moments it Poland’s history when its independence was threatened and the Polish language was forbidden.

- The Belarusian and Polish languages are very close, we can communicate without an interpreter. For the past fifteen years there has been active Russification policy applied. How can the language be protected?

- It depends on the will of the nation. For more than a hundred years Russian had been forbidding the Polish language. It was forbidden to speak Polish even at school, but the Polish language suffered in no way from that. On the contrary, we hold on to our language very strongly. If a nation has the desire to protect the language, it will do it. But sometimes a person does not want to live. And a nation, as well as a person, has such times, when it does not want to live, and the nation then dies. But people have such an inner movement, when they want to be a nation. And I see how it is happening, for example, in Kazakhstan, where the Kazakhs are a minority. But how strong the revival of the Kazakhs’ national identification is! They have always been humiliated and underwent Russification like Belarusians. Let’s take Canada, where there was a huge pressure on the French language, 0 how prosperous it is now! They did not manage to destroy it, although the influence of the English language is humongous there. It all depends in whether a nation has the desire to live. It is the same with people – who got tired and thinks, that he should not live anymore, will die, and the one, who wants to live, will survive.

- Have Belarusians got tired of living, according to your observations and perception?

- At the first glance, yes. But if you dig, if you talk a bit more to people, you can find deep there a huge desire to survive, the ability to bear all the oppression. You, Belarusians, are famous for being able to sustain an incredible pressure. The strength of Belarusians reveals in resistance to external pressure.

- Belarus is on the border of the Western and Eastern civilizations. How do you see Belarus in this context? Where do you see it? And do you see it at all?

- Of course, I do see it. And I want very much for my Eastern neighbor to be independent in thinking, in its political choice, in the language. It is not only my personal interest. This is the interest of Europe for Belarus to exist and be different from the Poles, from Russians, from Lithuanians, from Ukrainians. Independent Belarus is a common European interest. If Belarus disappeared and turned into a trivial province of Russia – this would be a huge loss for us all. But I am convinced it will not happen.