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Harauski’s Lessons

37
Harauski’s Lessons
IRYNA KHALIP
PHOTO: NASHA NIVA

The products of Lukashenka's system cannot change.

You may have experienced this: you read an article by a foreign journalist about events in Belarus. The publication is respected, the journalist is talented and knowledgeable about the topic, the narrative is correct - everything is as it was. Nevertheless, there's always one annoying thing: an inaccuracy here, a completely wrong conclusion there, a detail that doesn't exist there, and for some reason they add a Gigin as an additional expert to the normal people in order to present two points of view. Everything is generally correct, but it feels like hackwork.

It's not the journalist's fault. His only problem is that he is not from here. And he is simply unable to fully understand the situation with all its nuances, details, monstrous stories and lack of logic in the events. It is good that he paid attention to a country far away from his own, which in no way affects the geopolitical situation in his, the journalist's, region. It is good that he wrote about it. It is great that he at least tried to understand the situation here.

This is roughly how I perceived the trial of death squad member Haravsky in Switzerland. Yes, the Swiss prosecutor caught him on contradictory statements, asked crucial questions, interrogated him harshly. But he is a Swiss prosecutor who lives and works in a completely different coordinate system. There the sandwich falls butter-side down, and the prosecutor never realises that in our reality the sandwich might just fly off with a flock of birds to warmer places. They are professionals - both the prosecutor and the judge. But they are professionals of a different world - the one where the President of the Confederation will never order to push a former minister into a car and shot him down somewhere in the woods. They will not hear in Haravsky's words "I will take Gonchar by the chain" what we hear here. And that is why the prosecutor is asking for three years' imprisonment, two of which are suspended. Of course there will be conspiracy theories that this is a special operation to lure the other killers out of the death squad, a bait, a fat worm on a fishing hook. Look, it doesn't hurt and it's not scary, come to us in Europe and tell us how it was. We'll give you a short sentence, but with social rehabilitation and benefits. No, I don't think so. This is humanism seasoned with a different geolocation. And the conditions in Swiss prisons are such that young Belarusian specialists would rather go there to live in normal conditions for a year or two, albeit behind bars, than to work on a mission.

Frankly, I don't care about Haravski's sentence. It will be symbolic anyway. But the real trials will still take place in Belarus. Because only we, only the judges of free Belarus, whom we will trust, will be able to give a fair verdict in the case of the kidnapping and murder of outstanding Belarusians. I was thinking the other day that if Saddam Hussein had been tried in The Hague instead of Baghdad - who knows, maybe he would already have served his sentence and be living quietly somewhere in the Dutch or Belgian countryside, like the former dictator of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, giving interviews like Vojislav Šešelj. So the best court for Putin would not be the International Criminal Court, but the Basmanny court, and for Lukashenka and his death squad, let's say the Oktyabrsky or Partizansky courts. I believe these trials will still take place.

As for Haravsky, strangely enough he has taught us all a lesson. Now we know for sure that the products of Lukashenka's system do not change. They know no remorse, no guilt, no empathy. They are all like this Swiss defendant: deceitful, despicable, incapable of distinguishing between good and evil. They see their own crimes as a commodity to be traded when the need arises, when they desperately need money or legalisation in Europe. There is, by the way, more than one squadron of such good former convicts.

Iryna Khalip, especially for Charter97.org

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