I’m going to hijack the blog today to highlight a protest that I’m going to be involved with soon. March 18th is the Young European Federalists’ fifth annual “Free Belarus” day, a day of protest against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the last remaining dictator in Europe.
While I don’t believe that the protest will lead to instant change, I do believe it is important to show the people of Belarus that they are not alone. I don’t join every web campaign going, nor do I festoon my Twitter avatar with ribbons every time I hear of an injustice. This is something I can do, and I can have fun doing it. I’ve already drawn up a list of targets to photograph, chosen my favourite scarf, and even have a cocktail planned for my hipflask to keep the winter chill at bay.
Is this process necessary? Oh, yes indeed. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the Charter 97 archive. The level of repression and intimidation is horrific. Talk to Belarusian journalists, writers and bloggers. As the internet allows people ever more opportunities to report on the issues that are important to them, the fact that people are still being victimised for their personal view is a slap in the face to anyone who believes in freedom.
I have given political howls into the wilderness before, and I probably will again. This is one campaign I can get behind, as I consider it to be not only a show of strength, but also a public declaration of opposition to a corrupt regime. If you’d like to join the campaign, I hope you download the Action Pack and make use of it.