22 July 2019, Monday, 18:12
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‘This Is Our Heart’: Village Near Homel Rebels Against Construction On Mass Grave

THE PEOPLE CRIED AND SAID THAT THE MONUMENT FOR THEM IS A HOLY PLACE
PHOTO: PAVEL MITSKEVICH

Directly behind the monument to the fallen warriors, the district authorities allocated a plot for the construction of a pharmacy.

Before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazi invaders in the large village of Pakalyubichy, Homel district, people took on a fight for the mass grave, writes kp.by. About 500 Soviet soldiers, who died during the liberation of the village and the regional center, are buried here. And recently, the villagers learned that the district authorities allocated a plot to an entrepreneur for the construction of a pharmacy - right behind the monument, on the lawn, the place where, most likely, the remains of fallen soldiers are also buried.

THE VILLAGERS WERE ENRAGED: WHY THIS PLOT NEEDED TO BE GIVEN TO BUILD A PHARMACY?

Residents of Pakalyubichy collected about a thousand signatures and wrote several applications demanding that a pharmacy should not be built there. And here in the village club they organized a meeting with the authorities - Chairperson of the Homel regional executive committee Alena Aleksina came to talk with people. She explained how it happened that this site was given for the construction of a pharmacy - right next to the historical and cultural value.

It turns out that an auction was held, and everyone had the opportunity to speak out against the construction site, the head of the region noted. People responded that they heard about the plans to build a pharmacy for the first time only after the site behind the monument was marked, and the trees, planted there in the memory of the fallen soldiers to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the village, were unrooted and removed.

PEOPLE STAND AGAINST EXCAVATIONS AT THE BED OF HONOUR

A local resident recited her poem on behalf of those buried in the mass grave:

Gentlemen who have come to power,

We appeal to you, we who fell:

Please give up your ambitions and passions!

With you the souls of the warriors speak,

Who gave their lives for the Motherland …

People in the hall stood up and applauded, and some cried.

Old-timers emotionally told how they built this bed of honour

The Chairperson of the district executive committee agreed that during the formation of the site a mistake was made: for some reason they did not take into account that the monument is of historical and cultural value and has protective boundaries within which it is impossible to build. However, for some reason these boundaries are not known:

- This is our mistake, we recognize it and we will fix it. But now it is impossible to determine whether the land plot violated the borders of the protection zone.

These boundaries can be marked in accordance with the decision of the executive committee, and for this, it is proposed to carry out excavations. If the area allocated for the pharmacy is within the protection zone, the auction results will be canceled and the costs will be reimbursed to the entrepreneur.

CHAIRMAN OF THE DISTRICT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PROMISED TO RECKON WITH THE OPINION OF PEOPLE

- Do not touch the bones, do not mess into this! - the remarks from the audience came. - Determine the boundaries under conscience!

The people emotionally told the regional executive committee delegations how the villagers built the mass grave: they dug trenches, upholstered them with boards, and brought the bodies there from the entire neighbourhood. Therefore, the remains are not only under the monument, but on a large area around it.

- This is our heart, our sacred place! We are not against the pharmacy, we need it - but why can't it be opened in abandoned buildings or built elsewhere? - outraged the villagers.

PROTECTION ZONES OF THE BED OF HONOUR REMAINED UNKNOWN DUE TO SOME REASON