The Center for Belarusian StudiesPress Release
The Center for Belarusian Studies notes with profound regret and extreme repugnance the violent, illegal, and wholly unwarranted attacks, arrests, and incarcerations December 19 by the Belarus government against unarmed Belarusians. The inherent right of public demonstrations for redress of wrongs by citizens against their government is one of the most fundamental of democratic institutions. In trampling the elementary human rights of hundreds of its citizens, the Belarusian leadership revealed its true nature and intentions even more dramatically and viciously than in the past. The innocent blood shed December 19 is a stain of shame on those who caused it, a stain that time and diplomatic “business as usual” must not permit to be erased or forgotten.
The Center for Belarusian Studies calls on the Belarus government immediately to release all those imprisoned on that Day of Shame and provide proper medical care for the wounded.
The Center for Belarusian Studies appeals to the Governments of the United States and of the European Union to treat these tragic events as a benchmark for future relations with Belarus. This stain demonstrates vividly that the episodic tactical, wasteful measures by the West in response to supposed signals of liberalization and growing western orientation coming from the Belarus government were neither warranted nor beneficial. We call on the West to develop and implement--finally--a coordinated strategy targeted toward Belarus per se and not view Belarus through the prism of some regional geopolitical or economic chess game. December 19 starts a new page in Belarusian history, a beginning that its perpetrators will surely come to regret. So be it.
December 22, 2010
This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 4
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