Belarusian PEN took part in online solidarity event with the People of Belarus

Vice-President of PEN Belarus Taciana Niadbaj made a speech as part of the online solidarity event with the People of Belarus that took place on Friday, July 10th.

It was organized by the EU Neighbourhood East Forum.

The whole video of event is available at Andrius Kubilius Facebook page. It includes all four parts – 1) compilation of solidarity with Belarus and music videos, 2) solidarity with Belarus statements from the Members of European Parliament, 3) statements from Belarusian activists – bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, NGOs, CSOs and media portals, and 4) meeting with people of music in Belarus, united in #kultprotest movement. This meeting was also attended by Lithuanian rock musician Algirdas Kaušpėdas, one of Lithuanian Reform Movement initiators in 1980s.

Taciana Niadbaj said:

The sphere of (Belarusian) culture has always been pushed to the background, further and further back, and was not in the focus of support either within the country (“first the economy – then culture”) or by Western partners. Culture is often perceived as amateur activities, and the attitude to it is the same – indulgent. External support for “culture” is very limited, and it is understandable why: everyone believes that it should be the concern of the Belarusian state and Belarusians. This is true, it should be. But within the country, a predominantly official culture is maintained, serving the ideological needs of the government. It’s not just that organizations and creators who haven’t showed loyalty to the authorities (or even showed disloyalty), can’t count on subsidies from the state, but they have also faced persecution, and therefore local businesses aren’t always ready to take this slippery path, for we know where it will lead.

Culture is exactly what fosters long-term change and sets a value platform for it. Without a value skeleton, any political change will not be lasting. If you want change to happen and last long, invest in culture. The results will not be quick, but they will be felt by the future generations who (hopefully) will live in this country.