These days, in this difficult year, I have been doing one very special job. Every day, I say thank you to the people who help the Charter97.org website. I thank everyone two times: first in my thoughts, on receiving a notification on getting assistance, then in writing. I say to myself the names of everyone who helps us, and I wish these people all the very best in life. I only regret that I cannot thank them publicly because of the situation in our native Belarus.
Over the past three months, we have been able to collect 15 thousand euros. Unfortunately, this money does not solve all the problems of Charter97.org, but this will be enough for the salaries of two journalists for almost a year. Imagine how many people have joined the solidarity campaign if the majority of our sponsors donated 2, 3, 5 euros. And it moves to tears, because people who barely make ends meet find an opportunity to support us.
Obviously, it’s a pity that those who really could easily solve the problems of not only Charter-97, but also of other Belarusian independent media, prefer to retreat to the bushes. I mean our businessmen. They continue to wait for something and remember that there are independent journalists only when they find themselves in prison with a considerable sentence and confiscated property, as only we write about their fate after they end up in dungeons. We do not let them disappear without a trace there.
In the civilized world, a successful businessman is, above all, a strong man. But in our country, these people are much weaker than those thousands of common people who have decided to help the independent site.
There remains disappointment with numerous Western funds “in support of democracy,” which have practically abandoned Belarusian independent media to their fate today. If it were not for Poland, Lithuania, and some foundations that continue to save freedom of speech in Belarus, then, probably, today there would be nothing left but the Putin-Lukashenka propaganda.
Today, a part of the European and American establishment wants Belarus to stay quiet and still, therefore it does not concentrate on democratic changes, but on preservation of the doddering dictatorship that is hated by the people. “We have enough of Ukraine and our own internal problems.” In their attempts to “put out fires” in the Donbas, in Azov or in Syria, they do not notice that all these problems have been created by their own hypocritical policy.
However, let me finish on a positive note. There is one thing that seems to be the most important. Right now, before our eyes, day by day, an entire community of people, who not only want changes, but also make a step towards these changes, is being created, and it is expanding. The number of these people is constantly growing. Every day I say more new names.
Natallia Radzina, Charter97.org Editor-In-Chief
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