What Belarusians can learn from Poland’s Solidarnosc



They are Europe’s “disappeared.”

Dozens of people arrested while protesting the Belarus presidential election have vanished and remain unaccounted for — and the EU should not forget them, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told POLITICO. RTWT. HT: National Endowment for Democracy partner CEPA (above).

The current program of the Belarusian opposition is generally limited to the slogan shouted by the protesters in Minsk: “Lukashenko go away.” That must change. The opposition must tackle a much wider range of issues, starting with a recovery from the economic disaster caused by Mr. Lukashenko’s failure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, he writes for The Times:

The pressing issue for the West now is to ensure that Mr. Lukashenko respects fundamental political freedoms and doesn’t repeat the early August violence against the opposition. His government is certain to strike back in other ways. On Aug. 22, ahead of large opposition rallies, more than 50 independent internet websites that provide information on protests were blocked by the regime. It could portend a giant crackdown on any future protests.

In turn, the European Union must open its borders to the victims of political persecution, admit young Belarusians to European schools and universities, help establish independent media outlets and help foster the Belarusian open society. In the 1980s, the West invested a lot in Poland — not only in money, but also by sharing knowledge with our universities and media and helping us toward democracy. Belarus needs the same support today. RTWT

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