19 October 2021, Tuesday, 3:04
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Hello, Belarusian!

10
Hello, Belarusian!
Iryna Khalip

Your letter has reached the addressee.

The address was written on the envelope in the mailbox, but the addressee was not indicated. There was no return address either, only the surname and initials - U.V. The letter was not just thrown into the box, but came by mail: there was a postmark on the envelope.

At first I thought it was an advertising mailing or something like that. But the envelope contained a handwritten letter. It began with the words “Hello, Belarusian!" It means, me. And all of us. Thus, I can publish it without violating the privacy of correspondence. Here it is:

“Hello, Belarusian!

I sent you this letter, writing the address at random. I don't know who you are, how old you are, whether you are a man or a woman, what you do and what worries you. But you and I live in Belarus, which means that we have been fighting for almost a year to regain our votes. You and I have been through a lot: signature gatherings, chains of solidarity, marches, the nightmare of August 9-12, and the inspiring days after this hell. We were beaten, fined, imprisoned, persecuted. We were happy and terrified. But we inspired each other, no matter what.

One thing remains unchanged: you and I are still here. We have not resigned ourselves and did not give up. We are the only ones who can change everything.

Today I cannot go out with you to the march, I cannot stand with you in the chain of solidarity. Today I can't even put on socks with a red stripe to let you know that I'm around and still struggle.

I know this is a very difficult ordeal. We all share the pain - no matter how we took part in our struggle. Whatever happens in your soul, I want to support you. We don’t know each other, but we will understand one another without words, looking in the eyes on the bus or in line at the checkout. We are Belarusians. There are many of us, we are a whole country.

I am finishing this letter to you, and will write a few more to other Belarusians whom I do not know personally. But they are my friends and brothers, just like you. I believe that I am doing the best for everyone who receives such a letter.

I am not giving up, and I want you not to give up. Only together will we win! Hugs.

Long live Belarus!”

The author did not leave an address, so I will answer him here. However, what could be a reply to such a letter? Unless you copy the entire text again. Because it couldn't be better. More precisely, you cannot write. Still, you need to answer letters. So let it be so:

“Hello, U.V.! Your letter has reached the addressee. However, you knew perfectly well that you would not be mistaken: the probability that the letter will get to the address is 97 percent. You did everything right: everyone to whom you send such a letter at random will not only feel inspired and grateful. Each unfamiliar addressee will again believe in themselves, if they have recently lost this faith, and in the victory that they could forget about. Because the victory was near all this time. It just never reminds of herself. You need to go for it on your own, without a navigator, compass and pointers. The main condition is together. In the hitch. Thank you for reminding me of this.

I also want to remind everyone about it. And the best I can do is publish your letter. Such words deserve to be read by millions. The very millions who do not give up. We are close. We are together. We will win. Long live forever!”

Do you know what else we can do together? Let's write such letters. With words of support and inspiration. With words of love and faith. With words that are understandable to everyone, and felt by each of us. Writing by hand, putting it in an envelope, coming up with an arbitrary address, throwing it into the mailbox and knowing that these simple actions will make someone on the other side of the city feel easier and more joyful. Moreover, these letters can become our partisan leaflets, and after the victory we will give them to the Museum of the Revolution. Tourists will wander around the museum, read letters from Belarusians to each other, remember with difficulty when they themselves received the letter last time, and regret that they were not with us at this amazing time.

If the letter gets to the three percent - well, that's very good too. The recipients will realize that our people are in the city, and, just in case, they will carefully save this letter, putting it in a cache. And in that cache a white-red-white flag has been kept for a long time, this is for sure.

Iryna Khalip, specially for Charter97.org