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Henadz Buraukin: Belarusans astonish the world with their patience

22.08.2013  |  Society   |  Zmicier Kazlouski, EuroBelarus,  
Henadz Buraukin: Belarusans astonish the world with their patience

What civil choice is more appropriate for Belarus? Where is the line between good and bad patience? Who is guilty of the split in today’s Belarusan society?

It was the topic for the conversation between EuroBelarus and Henadz Buraukin, famous Belarusan poet and former representative of Belarus in UN.

- Social polls show that Belarusan society is extremely divided for those who stand for authorities, those, who stand for joining the EU and those, who are for the integration with Russia. What, in your opinion, is the chief reason for this split and will Belarusans manage to overcome it?

- The fact that the public mood can disagree is a reality. However, the reasons for that lie in our history, as it has always been so that some people in our country were turned to the west, and the others – to the East. We can’t escape from being situated at the border; we want for it to disappear at some point, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen.

I believe that it is the state and the authorities who are to blame for it, as they often change the situation for the worse. The state initiated the formation of two Unions of Poles and two Writers' Unions, and promoted the difference in opinions, so that it drives to near hostility.

I think that nobody in our country has any doubts that this is wrong; and if each person, each citizen regardless of age, profession and party affiliation starts doing something to the good of our national state, it will result in faster problem-solving.

But it isn’t happening. I have no idea why, but the state has tough policy by way of example, which I can’t view as a sensible decision. I wish we were united and thought about our country in our chief aspirations and in our concerns.

Well, we have what we have. Our country is unique in its disrespect towards our national language: our officials reject it, and its status of a state language is only a formality. How are we going to unite our nation and our citizens in the fight for better life and better future?

- In your opinion, how long will Belarusan authorities remain in power? We all know the myth about the patience of the Belarusans and their ability to wait, but can this waiting last forever?

- There is no doubt that the waiting cannot be infinite, and the rule in the country will change anyway. The problem is that Belarusans are so patient that we astonish the world with our patience, or, as the officials are used to saying, with our tolerance.

Take, for instance, election campaigns. Most countries that I’ve visited have one goal – to make their life better with the new authorities, whereas our people are openly saying “We want our life not to become worse”. This is our mentality, our mood, and it doesn’t further to the end of the split in society, though the sooner it happens, the more useful and desirable it is for Belarus.

- Where do you think lies the boundary between the valuable tolerance and the harmful one, when people bear something they shouldn’t bear?

- It is both easy and difficult thing to define. I believe that everything that harms national state can’t be tolerated, as in case with the Belarusan language, which is being mocked at. I think that for many people this boundary is clear. However, why people simply observe this boundary and are ready to put it further and further is the question to be put before the nation, not some social group or an individual. We should be aware of the direction in which the humanity is developing, or, vice versa, learn from the other’s people mistakes.

- If we imagine that in some time Belarus gets the authorities who are concerned with the retention of state, culture and nation, what direction would our country choose: West or East?

- I think that both historically and geographically, Belarus is a European country, though we shouldn’t disown the East with its prominent and interesting history and culture. After all, civilized world mostly adopts intellectual values which were formed in Europe. Thus, it’s obvious for me that we are a European country, though we shouldn’t say nothing bad about the East.

- Is there any risk that Belarusan culture can disappear among numerous European cultures?

- Why should it be so? It all depends on us. Europe has both large and scanty nations, and they don’t have problems with literature or language. They are developing according to the European laws; and that is why neither Czechs, nor Slovenes or Bulgarians have no questions about the survival of culture as we do.

While we all the time want to meddle in foreign culture and foreign traditions, though this imperialism has no possible justifications. There is no need to adjust ourselves to stronger nation; we should be ourselves instead. And if you are accepted, it means you are worth it the way you are. As even if you don’t have oil, you have culture!

It is my self-reproach. Why can’t we understand that we are just worthy and equal in the world? When we finally get to understand that, we won’t adjust ourselves neither to the West nor to the East. We will form our own Belarusan state and will take pride in it.

“EuroBelarus” reference

Henadz Buraukin

Born on September 28, 1936 in the village Shuliacina in Vitsebsk region. is a Belarusian poet, journalist and diplomat.

In 1959 he graduated from the journalist department of the Belarusian State University.

In 1972-1978 – chief editor of the Belarus-wide magazine Maladosts

In 1978-1990 – chief of State Television and Radio-company of Belarus

In 1990 -1994 – accredited ambassador of Belarus to the United Nations.

Awarded the Leninist Comsomol Preium of Belarus (1972) and the Janka Kupala State Literature Premium (1980). 

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