On this past December 19, 2011, the foreign affairs ministers of four of the member states of the European Union (Carl Bildt from Sweden, Radoslaw Sikorski from Poland, William Hague from Great Britain and Guido Westerwelle from Germany) published a joint statement containing severe criticisms of the Belarusian government and its president Alexander Lukashenko. They accuse the Belarusian authorities of having violently suppressed an opposition demonstration on the evening of the presidential elections last year, and denounce the ongoing legal process against some of the people responsible for the demonstration. Because of this they ask the “international community,” and in particular the EU, to strengthen existing sanctions against the country and to reinforce aid to opposition organizations.
Their presentation of the facts appears to us to be biased. The text speaks about a demonstration which was indeed ended by the police, but the statement omits to mention the fact that the behavior of a large number of the participants was neither peaceful nor moderate. This is why a major French daily newspaper, Le Figaro – which cannot be accused of harboring sympathy with the Minsk government – thus entitled its article the day after the events “Belarus: Government Under Siege” and wrote, on the basis of the dispatches of its correspondents: “This evening, opposition demonstrators have attempted to seize control of the Belarusian government building.” (1) In addition, the four Western European ministers omit to say that the aforementioned “suppression” caused no fatalities or serious injuries.
Moreover, these “humanitarian” sentiments seem to be exclusively reserved for Belarus. In fact, at the very moment when these dignitaries were writing and publishing their text, many young Egyptian demonstrators – these ones truly peaceful – were continuing to die by the dozens in the squares of Cairo without benefiting from any of their distinguished attention.
Finally, there is an element in this statement which is quite revealing, and which seems ultimately to constitute its true objective, for the text ends by demanding something unprecedented, to our knowledge, since it so blatantly interferes in the affairs of another country. It demands that the Belarusian officials adopt “a sensible privatization policy and encourag[e] private enterprise,” and protests against the fact that “about 70 per cent of Belarusians work for the state.” Four foreign ministers thus shamelessly and surrealistically dictate the “privatization” of the public domain of human rights.
In response to such a statement which well summarizes the hypocrisy of the “values” of a governing clan which cannot stand that a small country dare resist the dictates of globalization, we find it necessary to express to the Belarusian people our clear and strong support and encouragement. We support and encourage the Belarusian people confronted with such indecent pressure, so that it will not weaken its achievements but rather strengthen its social economic model which remains unique in Europe. This social model makes Belarus, despite being the victim of much aggression coming from the EU, the US and the Russian oligarchs, able to boast of an astonishing success in the fields of health, education, and employment, among others. Our support goes also to the worthy and pacifist foreign policy of Belarus, opposed to the warring violence of the policies of NATO and its members which bring death and destruction to the world in the name of human rights.
At the same time that this call is being launched, US President Obama has just signed the “Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act” into law, strengthening and renewing US sanctions against Belarus. This law not only reinforces the existing harsh sanctions, but betrays a clear and indecent coordination between Western powers in their simultaneous attacks against the country. This fact gives further reason for all those committed to democracy to reinforce our solidarity with the Belarusian people and their pursuit of independence.
Paris, January 2012
(1) Le Figaro 19/12/2010
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