Жыве Беларусь!


Do I regret what’s happened? Today, when the time has passed, I can answer the question definitely - I don’t. I don’t regret anything. And if the clock could be turned back, then, at my first interrogations where my fate was determined, I would do the same thing.

I owe a lot to prison. For those who set oneself a goal of self-improvement, prison is a real school of struggle with your weaknesses, a school of understanding human psychology, a school of identifying the limits of your possibilities, in other words, the school of life. This is what it became for me. Moreover, frankly speaking, staying in prison and suffering is not difficult, if you know why and what for you are doing time. You are not doing it to bring to power another president and then complain that he let down his people, not to make the state replace a pro-Russian bureaucracy with a pro-Western one, not to have the workers of Belarusian enterprises change a state boss to a private one, and not to make the paperwork in the punitive institutions of KGB and Ministry of Interior in Belarusian instead of Russian'. You are doing it to make your own, though pitifully small, contribution to the building of a society where one human being will never deprive another of freedom, rights and human dignity.

The anarchist order seems utopian to many; where the very premises of structural inequality, narrow-mindedness, hierarchy and exploitation of human by human will cease to exist and will make way for the equality of the many, tolerance, real direct democracy and liberation from any oppression. State propagandists specifically are fervently trying to prove the ‘utopian nature’ of anarchism. But as for me, only such a goal as the striving for this ideal can become a worthy reason for risking your freedom, health and even life in a single bet. All other goals apart from the above-mentioned are tinkering at the margins that lead to facelifting of the System which will continue to produce prisoners and guards, exploiters and the exploited, masters and slaves. The essence remains, and only the facade is changing.

It’s not difficult to stay in prison for the idea if we remember the fighters of the past. Narodniks? in tsarist Russia were literally buried alive in lifeless dungeons - they used to spend decades there, and not many were released alive.

During the civil war, the White Guardists® used to fry captured Makhnovist anarchists on metal sheets.

In 1906 a 20-year old social-revolutionary Maria Spiridonova who shot at a suppressor of peasants’ uprisings was beaten and raped during her arrest and then sentenced to lifelong hard labour in exile. In 1941 Romanian anarchists called Haiducks of Kotovsky, who rose up to defend Jewish neighbourhoods from pogroms, were killed in a slaughter house by the legionaries who hung them on the hooks for dead animals. The memory of those who survived much more severe ordeals didn’t let me lose heart and bate demands to myself. This is another reason why you shouldn’t think that you are the only martyr for social justice in the world and overestimate your role in this war.

In one of the works of Carlos Castaneda, Don Juan tells his student, “The main obstacle on the way of a warrior is considering yourself the centre of the Universe’. Indeed, the consciousness deceives us, making us in certain moments feel just our own pain and consider just our own difficulties. Inherent egotism forces us to consider ourselves unique, a person who deserves great compassion, whose acts are uppermost and ordeals are the hardest. But this is not true. You are just a link in a chain of thousands and millions who were suffering before; they also had families, friends, they also wanted to take the air of freedom and spend time with friends instead of staying in humid dungeons. Your pain is no greater than theirs. It inspires, because it makes you - with no exaggeration - an accessory to history, and makes you more critical and demanding to yourself. You begin to understand that you are just a brick on the scale of the planet, a brick that must be used as part of history to build the new world...

We know who we are. And we know what we want. Let the people in power make up new methods of fighting with ‘extremism’ and think about more things to ban, let the chekists* graft the budget buying new equipment for controlling us, let the cops intimidate us with their water canons, tear-gas grenades, and special units, let them demonise us from the screens of zombie-boxes - we will still go forward holding hands with those who have taken this path before us.

For only this means life, and meaning, and the truth.

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