16 October 2019, Wednesday, 4:01
We are in the same boat

A Challenge for Everyone

A Challenge for Everyone
Andrei Sannikov

Is it true that Belarusian IT-specialists are the most brilliant?

I can't get who else but a small criminal group benefits from this regime? And what is the point of supporting it? Criminals in power, causing lawlessness, understand that their power is in covering each other's backs. But why there are those who help them? Why aren't they ashamed to justify crimes? Why it happens when the degree of hatred for the regime is rising significantly in society, and Lukashenka's inadequacy is no longer concealed even by his entourage? Why is the number of those recruited by secret services who do not resist is increasing? Why is the real opposition being mocked at? This is what the regime aims at: don't resist, obey, and you will have your agrarian happiness under our supervision. "Everybody's been taught. But why were you the first student, you bastard?" Why is this phrase of "The Dragon" by Evgeny Schwartz acute again? I can't understand what kind of benefits these "first students" get. They live in a misery they help to create. I mean those who are not allowed to the feed trough, and obviously earn less than 30 pieces of silver. The integrity of a person, in theory, is determined, among other things, by his or her attitude towards tyranny. Out there, far back in the day, there are many red lines that should have never been crossed by any of us. It is almost always unnoticed, or it seems to be unnoticed. Well-rounded corners, soft colours for scoundrels - and now the picture of life is different. It already diverges from reality, but words are so tricky that it“s not easy to recognize it at once. And the worst thing is that this coating is already noticeably different from the concept of decency. Decency is not a popular product. And who will measure it? And in what units? Well, we are getting sick and tired of hearing about arrests, protests, cops' lawlessness. There is no intrigue, even names do not change. There is another life, after all. Eurovision, for example. Eurogames. We have to be objective. This very "objectivity", devoid of decency, has led to the fact that people who lost respect of others have become heroes, and heroes have turned into meddlers. They bother our agricultural peace with their forbidden tricks. And now scoundrels give us lessons how to live. At some point, unwillingness to resist meanness turned into changes in attitudes. Not political preferences, but basic values, the foundations of what is called dignity. Treachery, informing on others, and justification of crimes and criminals have become a norm, so that normality has stopped being the norm. And the question is: what is a benefit? Even for those who earn good money? The condition for this agricultural prosperity is lack of freedom, unconditional obedience and involvement in crimes. We, however, are being convinced that in dictatorship it is possible to feel comfortable, even to run a business. All those who were especially convincing in promoting a good business environment under Lukashenka have already been robbed and jailed. Now the regime successfully breeds new lambs to the slaughter, feeds them with juicy laws, keeps them in a special aviary-ghetto called "high-tech park". These new sources of foreign exchange earnings into personal pockets of the ruling group are called the IT industry. The bosses were informed in time that huge money were made in the sector, and the most brilliant IT specialists work in Belarus. And the whole country should go mining bitcoins guided by the ruler. The logic of the regime is simple and firm: to let IT specialists play in the aviary, to grow fat, and then have some of them stripped naked or killed. The logic of IT business is also clear: we are the smartest in this marshland country. We support the authorities a bit not to be bothered. We will not get into politics, and they will stay away from us. But the end of the story will be predictably sad. The bankrupt state will soon need more money, and the IT sector and the banking bitcoin industry will become the most natural source of money. Who is going to miss it? But they will tolerate, negotiate, and obediently go to «Amerikanka» prison, cherishing the idea of their money stashed somewhere offshore. Our IT specialists are really great ones. And is obedience to the ignorant power all they can do in our society? Google, for example, learned that in Venezuela, Maduro was blocking unwanted web-sites and got down to work to solve this problem and help the opposition. Intra application has been launched. It allows both to bypass the blocking and to encrypt user data. It was a year ago. Today Venezuela is about to get rid of Maduro, Lukashenka's friend and his brother in spirit. I didn't hear any such proposals from our IT specialists when the Charter97 website was blocked. The largest software companies registered in Belarus and working for foreign customers could help themselves and, at the same time, their country. They could offer software and technical solutions to prevent election fraud and to learn about the real attitude to the regime. The whole industry of Russia works dirtily: to derail and falsify elections in other countries, to harass decent people, to plant fakes. I am sure that Belarusian IT specialists are also involved in their activities. But all these technologies can work in the opposite direction. Why can't this reverse be tried in Belarus? After all, they are really one of the best in the world, our IT specialists, and they are very qualified in users' safety. They could launch secure surveys and show what people really think about this power. Or take the company from Belarus, which made the whole world play tanks. Creativity, authenticity of details, plots of drama - everything is perfect. Why don't you dare and play seriously fair elections in Belarus? To use brains and experience, technologies to liberate your country? Long ago, back in the Soviet times, I watched three young men in a village. They contested in spitting. They were sitting on a rickety bench near a food store, very similar to each other: shapeless gray pants made of some synthetics, old tarpaulin boots, washed out flannel shirts and a persistent smell of sweat. It was hot, and the general store was closed. Guys were trying hard to collect more saliva and spitted in front of them. After each spit, they laughed and made some strange jokes. It was so unusual since the store was w closed. It looked that they didn't need vodka for their fun! Meaninglessness was more exciting than alcohol. The current regime in Belarus is a clash between ignorance and literacy. It's not just a political challenge. Maybe not even a political one at all. It is an intellectual, aesthetic, technological, moral challenge that needs to be recognized and responded to by all of us together. It“s a challenge for everyone. Andrei Sannikov, coordinator of the civil campaign «European Belarus», specially for Charter97.org