2009 16/07

Why the Belarusian-language student from Zhodzina is waiting for the new troubles? Or how does this relate to Belarusian people … and … constitutional right to free choice …!?

Harassment based on language and ethnic grounds in Zhodzina continues!? Observers attribute that to the next wave of pre-election sweep of the political field and fight of regime with the dissenters according to “Zhodzina scenario”!

Zhodzina is small, but the industrial city of Belarus, which is located near the south-east of the Belarusian capital. Recent data from this city forced to recall the events of 2004-2005. It was then, on the eve of the election campaign, when the local authorities through its decisions from 2004 and 2005, at first brought up the only gymnasium Belarusian-language class in the city at that time, and then more than in a year were forced to resume its work.

That happened as a result of persistent struggle of parents of Yanka Lapitski for the right to continue a teaching in Belarusian and obtaining the secondary gymnasium education in the native Belarusian language by their son.
Till that time, the whole academic year and almost 2 months, Belarusian-speaking boy was unable to continue his education. He was forced to learn on his own, at home with the help of parents. At that, the education department has not offered any support to parents: nor proper curriculum, nor the relevant Belarusian-language textbook. Nothing (!)
But after the recommencement of the gymnasium teaching, the student actually had to pass the external “special examinations” or tests for the year of self-study.

These are the tests FOR THE RIGHT JUST TO be yourself, be a Belarusian, in own native country, to live, TO learn … to USE inherent civil rights guaranteed by the state and the fundamental law of the country!

Despite this, the Belarusian-speaking boy and his parents in Zhodzina passed all tests that are even not obligatory and absurd in a civilized society. Thanks to their own beliefs and the natural desire for their inner freedom, they stood this whole nightmare, which they had during a purposeful and planned discriminatory prosecution.

Yanka Lapitski then, in October 2005, resumed classes on self-Belarusian-language curriculum at the gymnasium fourth-class, passed external tests very successful last year and continued his new academic year in the room within the Gymnasium № 1 in Zhodzina that was especially reserved for Belarusian-language teaching.
By the way, according to the words of the director of the Gymnasium № 1, the room is available for Yanka in this year as well. In connection with the closure of teaching program the executive committee plans to win several million of BYR by reducing the “teacher hours” of Belarusian-language teaching that is roughly two rates of Belarusian-speaking teachers. Director assured that both Zhodzina Gymnasium № 1 and its leadership are not interested in this reduction.

Whatever it was, but… During the 2008 campaign Aliaksei Lapitski as a human rights defender actively committed the long-term observation, and Sviatlana Lapitskaya because of the rough violations of electoral procedures during the formation of district election commission № 66 in Zhodzina, was forced to cease her nomination as the candidate of PBNF in Parliament of the Republic of Belarus. Immediately after the 2008 campaign the leadership of Zhodzina department of education with reference to a “mysterious order” urged Aliaksei Lapitski to refuse further gymnasium Belarusian education of son Yanka and agree to send him to Zhodzina boarding school (!?) … This fact is of a fantastic degree of cynicism, arrogance or absolutely unthinking “idiotocracy”.
Conversation with Mr. Shulzhyk occurred in the office of the latter and carried out even in the protocol format … (!?)

Position expressed by Aliaksei Lapitski was firm and clearly understandable to the official.
Human rights activist said that such proposals of local authorities in Zhodzina have undisguised and systematic discrimination on ethnic, linguistic and political grounds. They are completely illegal … As well as presented materials of justification or a claim of 5 million BYR annually are “far-fetched and totally inappropriate basis for liquidation the only in Zhodzina Belarusian-language gymnasium educational program and deprivation of Belarusian citizens of inalienable constitutional right, in particular, to receive free secondary education in Belarus in the native state Belarusian language guaranteed by Belarus.”

On this occasion, in 2008, “a representative inspection” came to Yanka the school. They talked with the young boy (without parents) about his views, interests and desires … Yanka had told them about his interests, he said he had interest almost in all subjects … And Yanka liked that they spoke to him at school in Belarusian language …

After the peremptory and harsh appeals of parents the fuss around closing Belarusian-language class in 2008 had stopped. However, as time shows not for long. On the eve of a new “grand political epic” of 2009-2010 “someone” begins purposeful “cleaning … the territory” again.

And on 06.07.2009 the director of the Gymnasium № 1, Mr. Henadz Korshun, notified the parents of Yanka about the next decision of Zhodzina executive committee on repeal of its own previous decisions and the routine closure of Belarusian-language gymnasium program. All it is due to the same economic reasons and the need for budgetary savings. That is the same motivation that was used by officials in 2004.

At the request of the parents to familiarize themselves with this decision of the executive committee, Mr. Henadz Korshun offered them to come to school next day, but during meeting on 07.07.2009 it turned out that the executive committee had prohibited the director of Gymnasium to show a document to the parents and said that they show the paper after the parents come directly to the executive committee.

However, in Zhodzina executive committee neither employee of the organizational department, who registered an official request, nor the head of internal affairs of executive committee, Mr. Siarhei Konan, have not been able to resolve this “complicated” issue alone. They were consulting for a long time among themselves, with some “experts” on the phone, but eventually refused even to show the document to Aliaksei Lapitski for review.

Thus, the Belarusian-speaking boy in Zhodzina has twice been subjected to discrimination for his 13 years of life. By that discrimination he forfeited the right to Belarusian-language education and training in his own country. Yanka’s parents have never been given the text of decision № 928 adopted by the executive committee on 23.06.2009 that directly affects parents’ and Yanka’s vital rights and interests.

Quite gloomy conclusions could be made out of everything that is observed recently in the country, under the “smoke curtain” of “Eastern Partnership hopes” in the economic crisis and the new “pragmatic appetite of sister nation Russia”…

There is next wave of “educational” ideological and administrative pressure on human rights defenders, dissidents and any opponents of the so-called “Belarusian authorities” on the way.

And it happens on the eve of the new long-term election phase in the country …

In Belarus (in Zhodzina it is especially dramatic), the cynical and step-by-step russification and destruction of the remains of Belarusian-language presence in the visual-external, informational and educational sphere continues. The latter is regarded as an important platform for the current authoritarian-command regime. It is, in fact, strategically designed to service pro-Russian regional interests and slavophil ideological and cultural expansion in Belarus.

Indeed, much becomes clear after we recall the actual “ban” of the annual festival “Belarusian Yalinka” on Christmas in Zhodzina Gymnasium № 1 in 2008 with reference to the collective decision of the activists of Belarusian Patriotic Youth Union (BPYU) (this evening-party was meant for the pupils of 7-8 classes), as well as the expressed impossibility to hold a Christmas Belarusian-style disco.
It seems that the regime need “sterile conditions” for “making a new electoral material” and the formation of the “properly socialized staff” for maintaining the future sustainability of the pyramidal and denationalized authoritarian-command system of total control and management of the society.

Here, at the local level, the very different strategic goals of the government are clearly traced. These goals are to achieve not the state of democracy, but so-called “governed democracy” (fake and formal in fact); as well as, obviously, to achieve not the revival of the Belarusian- consciousness, but the “controlled Belarusian-consciousness” (denationalized and russified consciousness) in Belarus.
Thus, the continuation of the former Soviet experiment on the formation of the “Soviet people” in Belarus today is directed into the channel of forming a separate type of nationality, namely, such an artificial entity like “post-sovietus-Russian-speakingus” … without any national consciousness, with no historical memory and national and state perspectives in result.

WAIT AND see what will of all that happen!
And meantime, will fight
For the right to free choice in the broad sense of this word: for the choice of language of learning, ways of thinking, freedom of thought and communication of information, peaceful assembly and association … for the right to real choice at the time of truly democratic, fair and transparent elections in Belarus.

Those who are named in absentia and everywhere as “the people”,
OUR Belarusian people begins with every individual citizen who knows and really exercises his/her constitutional rights. Only the society that is revealed through their own rights and freedoms, civil society of active and free individuals, who really controls the officials of authority through efficient, clearly defined and transparent democratic procedures can be called a civilized nation that made the choice for democracy, sustainable development and progress in their own independent state.

Where there are no such clear procedures of democracy there is a clan-nomenclature usurpation of power and ideological order to suppress any of the civil initiative and activity, human rights and freedoms in society and the basic right for society – the right to free choice …

Where there is no democracy there is corruption, abuse of power and prevarication. There is persecution and repression there. There is no choice and welfare could not be there. It is since welfare is not just a general “deep nomenclature trough” and what is around him … Welfare is the absence of any trough and “stupid nomenclature and bureaucratic piggish around” at all.
Welfare can not arise where there is no culture of relations of authority and society, where there are no government guarantees of fulfillment of civil and economic rights, and … where does not implemented in practice, the right to choice and re-choice …

And could welfare exist in the place where there is only a sham and a deceit, disrespect for their own people, to national shrines, culture, history, language, national independence and democracy …!?

Awareness of this will allow us to get closer not to the pro-governmental trough … but to the truth, to ourselves and our place in society, learn to respect ourselves, to feel responsible for our own children, for their future, for the country!

Let’s be together!
Let’s be the people!
And we will win!

12.07.2009, Ales Volny,
Zhodzina, Licviny-INFA.

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