8 April 2020, Wednesday, 4:51
Stay at home!

You're Fighting the Moonlight, Guys with Shoulder Straps

You're Fighting the Moonlight, Guys with Shoulder Straps
Iryna Khalip

They have nightmares about the Square.

This time Jauhen Afnahel is lucky. Or he is not. It will become clear later. But what happened to him on Wednesday is not a provocation to arrest one activist. This is a good warning to all of us. Their methods change.

Before, you remember, everything was easy and simple: if a person needs be isolated before a protest action, well: he is grabbed in the street or at home, and a protocol of administrative offense is drawn up (he was walking down the street, used foul language), and it results in fifteen-day arrest. Or it is five- or ten-day arrest; it does not matter. They may release without waiting for the sentence to expire or to add the same term without releasing from the prison on Akrestsina. They may sentence to one day, but do not put in jail - you can go home, dear comrade, we will put you in jail when the right political moment comes.

It worked for decades: activists managed to get married, bear children, and so on, but they are still grabbed on the streets and taken away on such a well-known route. Faces of judges and camp garrison also change there - some went on the bottle, others got promotion - but the scheme is the same. A convenient, well-tested scheme, reams of already filled in protocols, you only need to enter the name; and boxes of ready-made sentences. When the money is urgently needed to pay pensions, the scheme changes for some time: detentions, protocols on the use of foul language are used, but sentences are taken from another box - the one with huge fines. As soon as the hole is filled a bit, detentions are popular again. The detention of Afnahel shows that the scheme has changed. And it's changed for the worst.

Jauhen was trailed for as usual, but they followed other scenario. They accused him of stealing building materials he had in his trunk. The trader from the construction market was promptly delivered to the police station and they had a face-to-face confrontation. They wanted the entrepreneur to file a complaint. Afnahel was told: "You will go to the detention centre". Documents for convoy were prepared. Later something happened and Zhenya was told: "you're free to go, you are a witness now." In what case? Larceny, of course. And who actually stole it if nothing was stolen? Whatever...

I do not know what went wrong. All KGB and police bosses like to use the term "performer's mishap". Maybe that's what happened this time. For example, they got mixed over the place. Big bosses ordered to put a bee in the bonnet - a bunch of dill is stolen in the market, for example, and performers ran for Zhenya in the construction market. Everything was perfectly organized. What is the difference between markets, after all? Bosses realized that building materials were the kind of thing that could not be stolen in the market. One can only steal them from a warehouse. It was ordered to let the detainee go, but not to close the case. Let it remain open so that one could say later: "Afnahel? Yes, I remember. Either he stole something or something was stolen from him; in general, it was a mess."

We should, of course, wait for a new story, because it's a new script for intelligence. Eugenia's testing started. There is no need to arrest for 15 days, understandable to the whole world. It is better to cover up with criminal cases, so that both those who consider Afnahel's authority indisputable, had vague doubts ("everything is fine now, but I remember this bad feeling"), and those outside their native country, shape the Western policy towards Belarus ("they used to be crystal-clear political prisoners, but now everyone has some an unclear criminal history"). Of course, they have a much higher intellect than inventors of such scenarios, and all the provocations, current and future ones, will be another spit in the abyss. But it may serve as a good warning. One has to be as wise as one can, not to ease their work. Not to day-dream, to be quick and to remain on edge. To be attentive and to stay focused. And of course, to be bold.

Because, strange as it may seem, the news about the provocative detention of Jauhen Afnahel is one of the good one. It happens when someone gets emotional. They avoid Zhenya like the plague. They are not afraid of any round tables, seminars, conferences and resolutions - only protests. They have nightmares about the Square. And they're willing to do whatever it takes to keep it from happening.

You're fighting the moonlight, guys.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org