The Corner

Belarus Burns

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

interrogations.

For details on these atrocities, see these press accounts:

<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/20/presidential-candidate-dragged-

from-hospital>

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

life).

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

prisoners.

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,

Sincerely,

 

Robert Bidinotto

 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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