Belarus Burns

by Jonah Goldberg

Robert Bidinotto sent out an email last night asking for help calling attention to the mess in Belarus. Since he says it better than I could, here’s the email:

Fellow Bloggers and online friends,

Please forgive this intrusion. But I feel compelled to bring to your
attention an emergency situation about which your own public comments —
however brief — may help save some very brave freedom-loving souls whose
lives are in peril.

This past week, the nation of Belarus in Eastern Europe held another rigged
“election.” Now, long-time Stalinist dictator Alexander Lukashenko has
cracked down on his opponents with a ferocity not seen since the worst days
of the old Soviet empire.

Lukashenko’s KGB (yes, they still call it that) violently crushed a mass
protest demonstration in the streets of Minsk, arresting hundreds and
sending many young men and women to the hospitals. More outrageously, his
goons have viciously beaten and brazenly kidnapped seven of his opposition
presidential candidates. They are now being held incommunicado at
undisclosed prisons and jails, being subjected them to brutal treatment and

For details on these atrocities, see these press accounts:




I have a personal interest in this issue, because one of those opposition
presidential candidates happens to be a personal friend: Jaroslav Romanchuk.

Jaroslav, who represents the United Civil Party, is one of the rarest
politicians in the world: He is a staunch free-market economist and an
Objectivist — and also one of the bravest, most brilliant men I know. See
for yourself in this interview that I conducted with him in 2006:


Right now, Jaroslav is trying to elude capture by the goons that Lukashenko
has dispatched to arrest or kill him (there have been past attempts on his

Friends, I realize that, at this time, domestic American politics and the
upcoming holidays are far more compelling personal preoccupations for you.

That’s why I would be especially grateful if you would please take just a
few moments to publicize this urgent matter online, and perhaps forward this
message to others.

Please request that your readers call or write the White House and ask the
Administration to organize international sanctions and universal
condemnations of the brutal Lukashenko regime. Encourage the Administration
to demand the immediate release and end of persecution of these political

Our united efforts at this critical moment may very well save the lives of
some courageous champions of liberty. Right now, they’re isolated and facing
torture or death. Their freedom would be a Christmas present for which they
and their desperate families would be forever grateful.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful consideration. And I wish you and your
loved ones all the best this Christmas and in the New Year,

Robert Bidinotto

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