Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians still have many things in common.
And it's not only about the language group. We all love the dead and are mad at those who survived. The story of Arkady Babchenko confirms that.
However, I do not mean Babchenko at all. He just reminds us of our latent necrophilia. I recall times when Charter was blocked in January and the situation on social networks. Almost everyone expressed his opinion and a general sense of it was as follows "they deserve it". Almost everyone barked that "it's easy for Natallia Radzina to broadcast from abroad, while we are suffering from the bloody regime here." Almost everyone said "serves it right" between teeth. And just imagine for a second what would have happened if Radzina had not escaped and served her term in prison. Can you imagine? So can I.
Well, she would have received tons of letters. Her photos were at rallies. "Support Charter with a ruble and a note" campaign would be continuous. And if she had been killed, it would have been the best option for all. There would be Natallia Radzina Award, people would collect signatures to name a street after her, they would commemorate her together... And it would have been done by those who now write and say that it's so good that Charter is blocked; this website has no any right to existence, because it locates abroad, but plays like a local one.
I still remember all that dirt poured down on my husband Andrei Sannikov, when he was forced to leave. At the same time, he repeatedly explained there had been a threat to life and the information was provided by a Western Embassy, not a guy from housing and communal service.
No way! If you're a patriot you must die and do not leave the country. You must either perish in prison or die at large at a hand of a scoundrel. It's so romantic, after all! Then let photoshop help you to fix the crown of thorns to yourself and make it a user image on social networks. It allows to wonder "how many murders should we, Belarusians, experience unless we rise?!" and to collect likes, to take the floor at conferences telling about a killed friend.
And the number of those who would tell "I voted for him" was as large as the number of those who carried a log with Lenin on voluntary Saturday work.
Just remember the hunger strike of Vitsebsk activist Siarhei Kavalenka and the very moment when he tore off his shirt in court and people saw extreme emaciation. How many people wrote "Kavalenka is our hero!" on Facebook. It's a rare case of a complete unity. As soon as he gave up on his strike and stayed alive, the very same users immediately burst with the question why he stopped the hunger strike. He gave up? He got tail down? Do you want to live, bastard?! You did not justify our expectations, we believed in you...
Something similar happened to Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Russia, when he was released after ten years in Transbaikal camps. The term was about to end, but a new criminal case was initiated. It was clear that no one was going to release him, and Putin had already decided to let him perish in wild steppes of Trans-Baikal. But when Khodorkovsky wrote petition for pardon and was finally released, the Russian liberal society was sincerely indignant: "how did he dare do it? After ten years of torment and a good prospect to die? Ugh, it's not clean! We have already made an obituary, invented a monument, and prepared farewell words, and he is unexpectedly at large! He has no respect to those who was worrying about him for ten years.
The same is bein said to Babchenko both in Russia and Ukraine. The corpse is always more reliable. A dead person rouses only a noble sorrow and a secret pride for a grieving one: I am a good person, I am nice and kind, I'm suffering.
The dead give a chance to the living to be proud of their own nobility. And the alive are so nasty, and I agree with it. They say and do things you do not like, they make everything possible preventing us from loving and respecting them. As soon as you put a person on a podium and step back to admire him, he sticks his foot in his mouth. He'd better be silent, as if he's dead. Ok, let's do without this "as if".
It turns out while screaming about the Constitution, we reject the right to live to others. And we should fight both with bloody regimes and our own necrophilia.
It's really hard to love the living. They write and say silly things, do ridiculous deeds, swear. Oh God, they go to the toilet - they are lost to all sense of shame. But only the living can love us saying silly things, doing ridiculous deeds and annoying to the top.
Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org