The Belarusians have chance to gain freedom and preserve independence of the country.
There are two Belarus for me. The first is nationally conscious, patriotic, being aware of a true history of the country and responsibility for its future. The second is indifferent to abstract ideas and mostry concerned about life of its families.
The first takes care of the future of the country and the nation, the second cares only of itw own well-being. And the first one is apparently smaller than the second.
The history of the past century proves that all projects of the first Belarus on creation of the nation and the state collapse, if it does not rely on support of the second one. The way it was a hundred years ago. Then almost the only mass uprising of Belarusians for independence of 1920 in the Slutsk district resulted in the unification of nationally conscious politicians and peasants who wanted to protect their farms from Bolshevik requisitions.
In the early 90's the first Belarus succeeded to attract hopes of the second one exhausted by the Soviet shortage of essentials, corruption and the hollowness of the communist nomenclature. Unfortunately, it did not last long.
During the first and the only free presidential elections, people who experienced social shock and watched the growth of corruption and property inequality expected politicians to deliver clear proposals on how to solve problems. Instead, the former leader of the national forces launched a public fight against the ghost of the long-deceased Lenin and, at that time, the incomprehensible campaign against Russia, which at that time was still trying to find ways to freedom and, by the way, provided Belarus with cheap gas and oil without conditions.
In addition, the then leading national party started a weird competition with public organizations for the right to celebrate victorious anniversaries of the Belarusian military history. I understand how important it was for a nationally conscious minority to stay among a large number of like-minded people, among the inflorescence of national flags even for a few hours. But the survival-aimed majority perceived the focus of national politicians on incomprehensible holidays as ignorance of their pain and problems. Therefore, in the presidential elections they chose the one who spoke about key things for them. We know the result of it.
For 20 years patriots fought for democracy, resisted attempts to surrender the country, then attempts to trade its sovereignty. But now the ruling regime is in the minority, 80% of the population hates it. Now patriotic forces have all prerequisites and the ability to lead the protest majority. To do this, we need to speak out in defence of social and political rights of people. A public consensus on independence, democracy, the need for changes already exists. In addition, if people see that you really stand for their interests, then they also accept your ideology.
To become a real alternative to the regime, it is first needed to publicly identify oneself in this direction. Patriotic forces have nothing but mass protests as real means to do it. After all, no one can hear statements in the offices. And only officials who draw necessary figures are the ones interested in the "elections".
Unfortunately, for years of government pressure the leadership of the authorized opposition not only lost the ability to resist it, but even fell under the influence of the regime. To avoid their most important but dangerous duty - the struggle for democracy and independence - the leaders of the majority of opposition parties began to deal only with "minor things" that are under the guise of public organizations.
However, there is a periodic imitation of "participation" in the "election" imitation, but it can be ignored because of poor influence on the situation.
"Minor things" aimed at the regime improvement will not bring freedom, they have strict boundaries - the government accepts them unless they confront its interests. In addition, if all politicians go to the public sector, the regime will persecute public activists. The repressive machine cannot be idle.
The authorities see the danger of mass protests actions. It both represses its participants and strives for discreditation of the very protests idea.
Not surprisingly that some nationally conscious parts of the society have joined this campaign. In spite of common sense organizers of exclusively peaceful protest actions, where people demand free elections and a dialogue with the authorities, are called "radicals" who "play into the hands of Moscow."
Spiritually and ideologically devastated, former national leaders are ready to rejoice the imitation of "Belarusinization of small things" and to turn a blind eye to a really disastrous condition of the state. It reached the point where some "thinkers" turned to the idea that the main hope to preserve independence was the person hated by the people and who consciously turned our country into a branch of another state that was responsible for the catastrophic state of the language and the dominance of Russian military propaganda in the media space of Belarus. It's a strange, pathology-like desire to always remain in the minority.
Preparation and celebration of March 25 clearly showed the real state of things when leaders of the authorized parties agreed with officials behind the back of the organizing committee. Now it's clear that only the Belarusian National Congress (BNC) can play the role of a true alternative to the regime in power.
We are marooned. But we do not back down, as we know that if do not become an alternative to the regime in the eyes of the majority, then it will find one for itself outside of Belarus. Then our country loses even formal independence.
We will never accept the shameful situation, when Belarusians remain the ONLY enslaved nation in Europe. In spite of everything, we will keep fighting. After all, we still have a chance to unite two Belaruses in order to gain freedom and preserve independence of our country.
Heroes who marched on Yakub Kolas Square on March 25 not only defended the honor of our nation. They showed Belarus and the world the falsity of "Belarusinization" and "liberalization" games of the regime. They still retained our chance at people's respect and trust. It means our chance to save our country.
No one should wait for freedom to come. Freedom cannot be begged for. It can only be obtained.
Mikalai Statkevich, one of the leaders of the BNC Rada