In our country, Belarus, for over 20 years, hundreds of people have been subjected to reprisals for their political views. During that time, there were always political prisoners. However, there are organizations that are trying to help those who are persecuted. In Minsk, works the Committee of Assistance to the repressed “Solidarity.” The President of the Committee, Ina Kulej gave an interview to Palitviazni.info.
Ina Kulej: When we say “political prisoners” – we mean those convicted for political views. Those who have been convicted by the court and deprived of their liberty. But repressions in our country are very multifaceted and multi-threaded. They may have a form of dismissal from work, removal from the list of students, compulsory military service for young people who cannot serve because of health or because they attend university or college. Repressions may also have a form of pressuring the family of the prisoner, or even the compulsory psychiatric treatment. Currently, the government use various kinds of repression against citizens.
– Does the Committee of Assistance to the repressed “Solidarity” supports all the oppressed? How and under what conditions a repressed man can count on help?
Ina Kulej: Yes, we support the oppressed and their families. But most importantly, we need to have some evidence, primarily documents from state institutions, information from the media, so that we can have confidence that the repression had taken place. People can turn to us for medical, psychological, even material support. We help people in finding a new job, in completing the courses or starting own business, when a man does not have job opportunities. We also help young people who were expelled from universities to complete their studies. Help can be given in different forms. You just need to contact us by phone 280-88-63 or via our website on the Internet.
– Based on our experience, we can say that every person can be subjected to persecution or repression. Even so, the public is not sufficiently cohesive and able to create an organization that authorities would be afraid to repress. How do you think, why is this not happening?
Ina Kulej: I would like to emphasize that there is much more solidarity as compared to the beginning of 2000. Since 2010, people quickly react to other people’s misery. This is evident when the case goes to the Internet, and many people respond to it. And for Belarusians it is really a new phenomenon, a very nice sign. However, in our country there is fear. Therefore, our main goal is to destroy this fear. People are afraid that they will lose their jobs, they will not be able to feed the family. What arouses the greatest fear is the fact that repression can be imposed on children. Therefore carrying help to repressed is crucial. People must know that they are not alone with their misery. Through education, the sense of solidarity within each of us, by the lack of indifference to other people’s misery, step by step, things will change for the better.