30 November 2021, Tuesday, 8:25
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Mask And Strike

10
Mask And Strike
IRYNA KHALIP

He who is not wearing a mask is a Lukashist.

Now subway inspectors are also responsible for wearing masks. They are conducting raids, convincing passengers to wear masks and keep their distance. State lawyers are working to develop a system of administrative responsibility for not wearing masks.

At the same time, all the patients in the oncology dispensary are being discharged because the institution is being given for covid treatment. Activist Alena Amelina straight from the Akrestsina prison is admitted to the intensive care unit to receive life support and never returns from there. Pavel Seviarynets’ father, poet and journalist Kanstantsin Seviarynets, dies from coronavirus complications. Anatol Shumchanka, head of the liquidated by the state entrepreneurial "Perspective", is staying in intensive care for the second week after three weeks of treatment in the "covid" department. Every day, new virtual candles are posted on social networks in memory of relatives and friends who died of the coronavirus.

Even the official statistics have allowed themselves to rise beyond two thousand sick people a day (one can only imagine the real numbers). I am not talking about numbers and not even about the lies of the authorities, but about their cynicism, insolence and swinishness. All the deaths and serious cases, the people who have been taken off the rails for months and their shell shocked relatives who are in fear for their loved ones, the doctors who do not sleep at all and the lack of treatment for cancer patients are the consequence of this cynicism and swinishness.

A year and a half - even more - after the pandemic began, the authorities admitted the need to wear masks. They admitted that covid exists, even in Belarus, and that people are dying from it. Now, in order to imitate the teeming activity, the authorities send subway controllers to convince people to wear masks.

In fact, why am I using the word "authorities," which sounds too obscure and impersonal? We are talking about Lukashenka. When the whole world was learning to live in pandemic conditions, it was he who declared that the coronavirus does not exist. When people in Europe used to go out only to the balcony, Lukashenka was inviting Belarusians to church on Easter, and pathetically claimed that one must not be blocking someone's way to the temple. When other countries converted stadiums for "covid" hospitals, he was standing on parade. When the WHO sounded the alarm, Lukashenka was laughing and saying that the coronavirus could easily be cured with vodka, a bathhouse, and a tractor. When people were getting used to wearing masks even in elevators and to that they could leave at home anything - an umbrella, car keys, or important documents but not a mask - officials were not even allowed to attend the meetings with Lukashenka wearing masks: the bodyguards would threateningly raise their eyebrows and demand to take them off immediately, because he did not like it. When news about deaths from the coronavirus started appearing in Belarus, Lukashenka called the first deceased "the unlucky poor guy" and posthumously mocked at another one because of his extra weight (I feel like adding "you are one to talk," but I will not, it's not about that). At the end of May last year, the queues at the points for collecting signatures for alternative candidates irritated him so much again because the people in those queues were keeping their distance and were all wearing masks. And signature collectors were also wearing gloves, and had antiseptic on the tables next to the signature sheets. Such a level of self-organization and internal discipline could not but frighten the dictator: if they are able to act this way now, when all the government forces are thrown into denying the danger of the coronavirus, what will happen then...?

Then there was August. And September. And the long partisan struggle that continues to this day. Yet, did we really exhaust our stock of civic awareness last summer? Today, when I see my fellow citizens without masks standing one behind the other in lines at the supermarket checkouts and on buses, I cannot believe that these are the same people who were standing shoulder to shoulder a year ago.

We are supposed to win, which means we need strength, and we have an obligation to help, not to kill each other. So let's face it: he who does not wear a mask is a Lukashist. And let him keep at home a hundred white-red-white flags: if he is not able to put on a mask in a grocery store, he is a Lukashist and there is no point in hiding behind the flag. The mask is the main political marker of this autumn. And the readiness to strike, too, of course.

Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org