20 April 2019, Saturday, 10:17
For our and your freedom!

The Final Impudence

Iryna Khalip

Why do women in "parasite commissions" not feel ashamed?

Not work but shame is ennobling. I imagine it this way: millions of years ago, an Australopithecus suddenly felt ashamed to ease himself in front of his fellow tribesmen, and he hid behind a tree. Perhaps it was not like that. But it was the shame that helped a man to evolve from erectus to sapiens.

Shame has nothing to do with morality - it's just primitive feeling: I will not swear in front of children, I am ashamed; I will not rat, I am ashamed; I will not hit the weak, I am ashamed. Hardly any of us says to ourselves: it is immoral to do this or that, I am noble and principled person. No, we just don't do wrong things so we're not ashamed. And this is not a complicated moral choice, but a simple reflexive one.

Eight years ago in the KGB detention center, I couldn't understand those who work there voluntarily: it's so embarrassing to watch women through a peephole. A cellmate objected: "They probably watch their mothers-in-law in the bathroom when they come to visit. It's a professional deformation of a personality". But there was a conscious choice before the deformation - to go to such a job, where you feel shame. I wondered then if their wives and children knew where they worked. Most likely, they don't know. They probably tell at home they work in a secret special unit combatting organized crimes and from eight to eight sit in an ambush. However, those watching are the last thing I think about now. Because impudence of greater scale left them barely distinguishable in the dark.

Women in "parasite commissions" do not feel shame at all when they tell housewives and the unemployed that they have to pay increased utility charges now, because the decision is made by an insane citizen. Officials of Executive Committee do not feel shame when they gather a meeting at the request of the woman who has been caring for a disabled person for many years and therefore deprived of a pension due to lack of insurance experience, and tell her: "We won't pay you any more for taking care of a disabled person, because you have reached the retirement age. But you have no pension, so put your mother in an almshouse and find a job,". Policemen who force a teenager to apologize to the cast iron monument are not only not ashamed but they feel high when shooting a video. Scumbags who attack a journalist on orders of cops they despise are not ashamed. A deputy principal who threatens students who haven't joined pioneers are not ashamed. It is not shameful for an inspector from the children's services to part the child with the family for arrears in utility payments. It's not a shame for officials to offer Belarusian men to work on many jobs. But they are also shown on TV.

Even a prison guard can remain unrecognized - a chance to meet a former convict is equal to a statistical error, and no one knows their names. But officials of all ranks, turning our lives into hell, they are quite tangible. We know them by sight. They don't hide it. They speak loudly and clearly. They give interviews. They don't even wear a balaclava when they go to work. And yet they are not ashamed.

They come home and say calmly: "Today ten more parasites have come, I do not easy on them - there is no evidence of participation in the financing of the economy. Today a teenager is captured near the city policeman monument. I came up with a great punishment - let the entire country know about this scumbag. Today two more boys are parted with their families - next time let their parents think first than multiply poverty. Today one blatant hack is beaten - he won't slander the state anymore. Today we have collected signatures for Lukashenka's nomination - I have personally signed ten papers, but nobody will check it, and the plan should be fulfilled. Today I've hit an anarchist on kidneys, he'll be silent from now on. Tonight I'll be telling these paupers how to save money in difficult times. Honey, did you pay for business class to the Maldives? Today I've kicked three old women with snowdrops out of the passage and let them rent a place in the market."

These people have names, surnames, positions, titles, faces, money, benefits, bribes. They miss only shame. But absence of shame - gut one, reflexive, which does not allow to trickle down - means the start of anthropological regression. And we will see it soon. First, they'll all start scratching themselves on the air, then flatulate and laugh. Maybe they're already doing it. The only problem is that they retain their authority and do everything to make the whole nation descend to an animal existence.

Will we swallow it?

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org