Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Viva Belarus


A few important links about the election protests in Belarus:

A disturbing trend I've noticed is that a lot of blogs from outside Belarus advocating democracy and human rights there have a distinctly conservative bent, while a lot of progressive blogs, and what some might call "liberal media" stories, take a more skeptical, and sometimes openly hostile, tone. Which is a huge disappointment. Maybe tomorrow I'll go into more depth speculating about why this is so, but in many cases it seems like the opposition stems from a base desire to oppose anything it looks like Bush is for. I'd argue this is a silly and childish reaction. Having visceral negative reactions to the chimp from Crawford is not the same thing as having a coherent policy of one's own. Are we supposed to walk away from the very notion of universal human rights, just because GWB occasionally mouths some insincere platitudes about countries he can't even find on a map? When he talks about civil liberties, he doesn't really mean it. Ever. Anywhere. So even if you do think it's smart to just be for the opposite of whatever Bush is for, you can't take his words as any kind of guide. Since when is the notion that protesters maybe shouldn't be massacred a controversial idea? How did that happen? Opposing Lukashenko doesn't mean you're signing up for George's next war or anything. And you're also not signing up to help impose vicious laissez-faire capitalism on Belarus, either. I personally don't care what sort of economic model they use. They can stick with classic Soviet central planning so far as I care, just so long as they hold free elections and respect human rights. That's not so farfetched; the former Soviet republic of Moldova is giving it a try right now. Whether it'll work is anyone's guess, but it's their decision to make. Economics are an internal matter, for the local voters to puzzle out. Censorship and election fraud, on the other hand, are everyone's business, and what GWB thinks about it is entirely irrelevant.

tags: .

2 comments :

spanarch said...

Hi! Thanks for the link, but I dont live in Minsk. I started the blog as my husband and I traveled through Belarus. I live in California. Sorry for the confusion. I will change the title to reflect that.

I like your article.

atul666 said...

Sorry about the confusion. I've corrected the post now.