Belarus as the heart of the world.
I may have enough words, but I certainly won't have enough energy to depict the events happening in Belarus in recent months - they are so dreadful. Although it is possible to become bereft of words looking at the sufferings to which the Belarusians are subjected today. When reading the chronicle of repression in Belarus, I remember the film "Come and See" by Elem Klimau and Ales Adamovich about the horrors of World War II more and more often...
However, it is not 1937 and not 1941 today. It is the year 2020 today. Belarus is an extremely important geopolitically and independent country in the center of Europe. The world must and can stop this genocide as soon as possible.
As one of the fathers of geopolitics, British Halford McKinder, said, "whoever controls Eastern Europe... controls the whole world." In the 21st century his words may sound as follows: "If democracy and freedom win in Belarus and Ukraine, they will win all over the world".
We have studied this regime very well over these 26 years. We know exactly what it is afraid of. It is afraid of the economic sanctions.
We have seen it on concrete examples. In 2008, political prisoners, including presidential candidates, were released after the U.S. imposed sanctions against Belnautakhim, the state enterprise supplying oil products to the West. In 2012, a number of political prisoners were released from prison because of the demarche of EU ambassadors who had left Belarus, and the refusal of European banks to grant loans to the Lukashenka regime. Similarly, in 2015, presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich and other prisoners of conscience were released after five years in prison because of sanctions.
I personally know how the regime fears sanctions. In 2011, I was released from the KGB detention facility under the written pledge not to leave country only because the EU had announced its intention (!) to impose economic sanctions. When, being in Belarus under the supervision of the police and special services, I was writing articles calling on the West to impose sanctions against the dictatorship, they immediately started coming down on me: spontaneous arrests, intimidation, blackmail, threats to stop writing about economic sanctions, otherwise I would immediately be detained again.
Therefore, I know from my own experience: they are afraid of only one thing - economic restrictions. This is what will surely kill this dragon and free Belarus from fascism.
I agree with the demand to impose the following sanctions against Lukashenka's regime for crimes against humanity:
- to disconnect the regime from SWIFT, the international interbank system;
- to freeze the accounts of state enterprises abroad;
- to stop purchasing oil products produced in Belarus;
- to impose an embargo on any deals with companies that support the regime;
- to declare Lukashenka's punitive authorities terrorist organizations;
- to authorize the arrest of those responsible for the regime's crimes by international and national courts anywhere in the world;
- to expel all ambassadors of the regime as accomplices to the crimes.
I call on all people of the world, politicians, human rights defenders, journalists to help us impose these measures against the dictatorship. By doing so, you will save the lives of certain people. You will save the Belarusian nation and the whole country.
The slogan of my favorite film "Schindler's List" is a quote from Talmud: "He who saves one life saves the whole world". I want to say today: "By saving the Belarusians, you save not only a nation and a country, you save the whole world". For unarmed and defenseless Belarusians are shedding blood for freedom from slavery and tyranny today. The outcome of the battle will have consequences for all mankind.
Natallia Radzina, Charter97.org editor-in-chief