16 January 2021, Saturday, 12:12
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Three Times Heroes

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Three Times Heroes
Iryna Khalip

The doctor said, "take it to the morgue!" Then take it to the morgue.

Each of us has our pictures of this autumn. Some of us were most impressed by the column of brave pensioners, others - by the beautiful Volha Khizhynkova, going to prison with dignity, and others - by the masterful saxophone of Pavel Arakelyan, sounding every evening in different courtyards of Minsk with a technical break for 15 days. The Belarusian autumn turned out to be so full of terrible and beautiful events. It is challenging to choose one among this burst of colours and sounds. I will surely keep in my memory two images of this autumn forever.

The first one is the doctors of the Emergency hospital in white coats, facing the wall on both sides of the hospital corridor. Hands on the wall, as people did it in the Savetski police department, and a piece of paper with the inscription "0 permille". Since Wednesday, half of the country stands facing the wall with the same inscriptions - so everyone was shaken by this desperate action of doctors, so brave and sincere, so close to each of us.

The second image is Academician Ostrovsky, who on his day off goes to clear the rubble at Academician Mrochek's summer cottage, burned down by arson. Both of them are world-known cardiac surgeons, who saved thousands of human lives. As a sign of gratitude, the retired tyrant sent to one of them another Massandra (sort of wine) lovers, who set fire to an old summer cottage and left a note with threats on the ashes. However, this heinous story clearly outlined the scale of personalities: on the one hand - the outstanding doctors we can entrust our lives to; on the other - petty spitting hooligans, who can beat to death under the cover of darkness in the yard or set someone else's house on fire, but never take an honest open fight.

However, doctors do it. Artem Sorokin gave the journalist Katerina Borisevich a certificate of zero permille, risking his job and freedom, not for the sake of glory. His name became known only two days ago, and before that he was a citizen a suspect for the regime and an unknown hero for the Belarusians. Sorokin did it so that the villains wearing shoulder straps and TV studios ould not lie about the drunken fight that killed Raman Bandarenka. Pathetic "go to prison for the truth" is not a figure of speech. In the case of Artem Sorokin, this expression free of metaphors.

Colleagues Artem Sorokin in solidarity stood facing the wall right in the hospital corridor, holding sheets of paper with the inscription "0 permille". Now, it is the same symbol of the Belarusian revolution as the last phrase of Raman Bandarenka "I go". Doctors - standing in the hospital corridor, standing in front of their hospitals with flags, taken to the paddy wagons in white coats near the Academy of Sciences - are also a symbol of our revolution. It's a beautiful, inspiring, heroic symbol.

Our doctors today are three times heroes. First, they work in the conditions of a pandemic, which is still denied by the regime. That means that it cares neither about protection, nor about additional payments, nor the safest possible conditions for their work. Secondly, they save our lives by risking their own. If during the spring wave of the pandemic the Belarusians took them to lunches, bought personal protective equipment and medications, which they lacked. Now they raise money for the families of political prisoners and stand in long lines to get to the pre-trial detention centre or temporary detention facility in time to give them to their relatives. Case in point: on Wednesday, a friend went to Zhodzina pre-trial detention centre at 5 am and was already the thirtieth in the line. They are either on duty at the prison walls to help those leaving after the arrests to get home. So the doctors have to cope without any help. Thirdly, despite everything, they find strength and time to protest. They protect their colleagues. They do not let to undermine the reputation of the victims. They quit their jobs as a sign of solidarity. They take part in protest actions.

It is clear why Sasha three per cent hates them so much. Doctors deliver him a diagnosis being at risk. They deliver the diagnosis to the whole system. The diagnosis is simple: death. Coma caused by the excessive consumption of Massandra. It's a complete breakdown of tissues and cells of the soul. In general, the final stage of the regime, which last year seemed to many people quite viable and even rosy, especially after powdering and blushing in front of a mirror. Nevertheless, the doctors tell the truth: it won't survive. Now the dying system is trying to destroy them - they have revealed a terrible medical mystery to the whole world. While the patient is not in the morgue yet and even trembling, shooting from a machine gun, waving sticks and imprisoning people. It believes that it can still play the first violin.

No, Mr Patient. The doctor said, "take it to the morgue!" Then take it to the morgue.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org