With a focus on the participation of women against the dictatorship in Belarus, a photographic exhibition that has already visited 13 countries is also being organized in Brazil – it is expected that it will be inaugurated in September, in Brasilia.
Women rose to prominence in the backlash against the dictatorship in the first week after the release, on August 9, 2020, of an election result deemed unacceptable by critics of dictator Aleksandr Lukachenko. Thousands of people took to the streets and the first few days were violent. It was for peace, however, that they kept people mobilized.
On the fourth day after the elections, girls dressed in white and carrying flowers in their hands formed a chain on the sidewalks in central Minsk, calling for an end to the violence. The image circulated, the idea caught on and many began to take to the streets every day, all over the city.
At first the regime was astonished – Lukachenko always said that women are not good for politics, and only for this reason he allowed the leader of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaia to assume the role of candidacy for the presidency in place of her husband, Sergei Tikhanovski.
Like the dictator, the shock troops were surprised for a few weeks. But in September, the apparent truce gave way to indiscriminate mass arrests – of women, the elderly, the disabled and anyone voicing opposition to the regime. Simply wearing a white ribbon on the wrist can be punished with detention and a fine.
This Saturday (29), demonstrations were marked for the 365 days of Tikhanovski prison – which has not yet been tried – in dozens of cities in Europe and the United States, on the occasion of this which has been called the World Day of Solidarity with Belarus.
In Brazil, where women are also at the forefront of publicizing those who oppose the dictatorship, there are no marches. But Volha Iermalaieva Franco, who represents Svetlana Tikhanovskaia’s team in the country, has launched a campaign for Brazilians to support the return of democracy in Belarus: “People can write on social media and use tags like #StandWithBelarus , or tag the Embassy of the People of Belarus in Brazil (@BelarusInBrasil).
In addition to the photo exhibition, titled “Belarus: Democracy Has a Woman’s Face”, the group intends to show two documentaries and an interactive installation, curated by Italian Luca Bonacini and curated by Anastasiya Golets and Olga Aleszko-Lessels. The hijacking of the plane in which blogger Roman Protassevich was traveling cast a shadow over the event.
The exhibition presents the work of four Belarusian photographers, three of whom are still in Belarus. Lukachenko’s maneuver to arrest a rival who was out of the country prompted organizers to demand confidentiality over the names of professionals, including those who have already left the country. “No one is safe anymore, not even abroad,” one said.
The reaction shows, on a smaller scale, the large-scale concern of the leaders of the major countries of the world. Last week, the UK and the European Union banned airlines from flying over Belarus and closed their airports to Belarusian airlines. They will also extend sanctions against companies and people linked to the dictatorship.
US President Joe Biden also announced a flight ban and sanctions against the Belarusian regime on Friday.