Drinking is a holy cause.
Every year it's the same old song. In the second half of February children listening to Belarusian rock, playing the Battle of Grunwald, and growing up with Pahonia and white-red-white flags start making some weird things. They are ordered to do a hand-made gift for their fathers during arts and crafts in school. No one asks them whether their fathers celebrate February 23. There is a code - to do a hand-made gift for fathers on February 23. Somewhere at home I also have a cardboard tank resembling a guinea pig, which was made by our son at primary school. The son has wisely decided not to present it.
From a young age children are persuaded that February 23 is the holiday of true men. And, first of all, this is the Daddy's holiday. February is the month of fathers, and March is mothers'. It's easy to remember, isn't it? While growing up, children are told about the creation of the Belarusian Armed Forces of this day. And now it is called Defender of the Fatherland Day. Son, as soon as you're 18 years old, you will defend your Fatherland. You will be a soldier, like Aliaksandr Korzhych was. You will get an extra ration on February 23, only if you're still alive, of course.
Today all military men, except active-duty soldiers, will drink much. According to the official version, they celebrate the 100th anniversary of creation of the Belarusian Army. They might have celebrated so hard that they forgot: two days before the one they call a great holiday, 21 February 1918, Minsk was seized by Germans without any local resistance. And on February 23 the Council of People's Commissars received a German ultimatum by telegraph and rushed to agree to all conditions and to send a delegation to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. And where are the Belarusian Armed Forces? And what do we celebrate, gentlemen officers? However, do not answer: it's just an excuse. Vodka is already in the freezer, benefits are issued. And hell with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and especially with the fact that this date does not have anything in common with our history. Drinking is a holy cause.
I do not want to dig too much into the history of World War I, it doesn't matter. The state might as well announce the day of Grand Duke Ferdinand's murder or Trotsky birthday as the day of creation of the Belarusian Army. The main thing is to have a reason for a holiday and for brainwashing. And here any date will suit. Children are persuaded that this is the holiday of true men. Men are taught to drink a lot on this day. Women are said that they must congratulate men and do not berate men for overdosing. Because a man is a soldier, and a woman is a mommy.
By the way, here is an example. My friends' child fell ill. The family meeting decided that father would go on a sick leave, because mother earned more. But first mother had to take a certificate that she worked full time and to deliver it to a polyclinic. After a working day she had to go to the polyclinic to deliver the certificate, after all, a father on a sick leave is at least suspicious. And when the father closed his sick leave certificate, a lady in the Registrar's Office thoroughly examined stamps on border crossing.
When he noticed whether she minded her own business, she replied it was ordered; fathers could go on a sick leave and travel abroad without taking a sick child with them. That was the explanation of bosses. From the state's point of view, a father must work hard and get hammered. No other functions exist. To work three jobs, as it was ordered by the official. And on Fridays, Saturdays and February 23 get hammered. And one should do that being surrounded by weird and foreign symbols.
By the way, the state is pretty careless to annually get dusty symbols of foreign troops and history out of the trunk. First, Belarusian men will only start sneezing, they can't be hypnotized with Soviet symbols anymore, as well as rattling of foreign Mosin rifles does not inspire them to heroism. Second, the smell of naphthalene can easily decoy foreign troops, after all, they are not good with quick understanding. And one must explain them then that this is not the Belarusian Red Banner military region.
Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org