Spring is a great time for changes.
Every December issue of Time magazine has a photo of person of the year on the cover. Last year that was Donalt Trump, the years before last - Angela Merkel. In 2011 the Protester was the person of the year. A generalized character, a protester in Belarus, Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Russia. If we had a tradition to nominate a person of the year, now, eight months before the end of the year, one can be said for sure: the person of the year of Belarus is the people. People's hero is the people. There is the light in the end of the tunnel, not a wall.
When politicians burst with lofty rhetoric, participants in protest actions just told their true stories. And it turned out that the scale of the hell Belarusians lived in could not be assumed by any official. This is not a catastrophe, a cataclysm or a natural disaster. It's just a daily, endless, continuous hell. When you listen to people at rallies, watch reports live one can get scared. How has it been possible to be silent for so long and survive? At the same time you feel joy: now they are not silent anymore and are ready to stand until the end with no fear.
Amid protesters' stories these bureaucrats-silver spoons look even hateful. And not even because they live in huge houses and drive Maybach. But because they intentionally, insolently, consciously have been bringing people to a complete moral exhaustion for years and have turned the life of the Belarusians into a humiliating battle for survival. This regime does not need secure, prosperous, and confident citizens. It needs slaves who can be easily controlled by a loaf of bread. It does not have influence on those having money, but it works with hungry and the rightless. They could even not be given that bowl, but a piece of hope that this bowl was about to appear. How long we have been promised the salary of damn $500, for 10, 15 years? I remember at the history lesson at school I asked my teacher why the communism had been promised until 1980, and then it was 1982, but the communism had not come yet. Then she rode out of the situation: "Since socialism is the first phase of communism, it can be argued that we already live under communism." Now this function is performed by numerous ideologues - they convince Belarusians that they live under communism. Did those people now participating in protests believe them then? I don't know. I guess, yes. But they got tired. Then they got angry. And Decree No. 3 is not the reason.
Sometimes it happens as that: wife escaped, no job, diabetes is diagnosed, a child does not respect you anymore. And a person has to bury his pain deep inside. He feels bad, he does not cry, break the wall, howl with pain, show his teeth. But some miserable problem occurs - a button comes off or a finger is grazed - and the knot unties in a second. Anger, howling, aggression, household rubbish, an axe. And you'd better run away at once. Almost the same has happened to the Belarusians.
The decree only played a come-off button, and was over and gates opened. The Belarusians have overcome indifference that is so convenient to call tolerance. I look at people who go to marches, and I really like their faces. These are the people who have made a choice. They do not want to squirm under their own blankets. They are ready to fight and defend each other. We see faces of new heroes streets would be uninhabited without. It seems to me that after a cold winter of 2011, the spring has finally come. And all previous years were just a winter dream.
The other day my friend said: "Why are you so glad to see pensioners and jobless in the streets? They stole our youth. They have felt good for 23 years." It is tough and fair. But I'm excited. Because the people, like an individual, have the right to be mistaken. And to recognize it. And what is more to fix it. After all, someone remembers the multiplication table in an hour, and someone needs months. As a result, both of them know it. And how can a person be blamed for his necessity for more time?
Spring is a great time for changes. Their smell is as strong as the smell of the earth after a spring rain. And what does Decree No. 3 mean? It is just a come-off button.
Iryna Khalip, especially for charter97.org