This year I discovered an exciting new Fringe venue, the Summerhall, which won the Herald Angel Award for presenting a vast range of high-quality events (the These Silences Writing Festival conceived by Rupert Thomson, Artistic Director of the Summerhall, also won the Herald Angel Award). One of the most significant talks at the Summerhall was an interview with Zara Coombes and Irina Bogdanova, Director of Free Belarus Now and sister of imprisoned Presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov. Both the talk and a great performance of the Free Belarus Theatre in the Pleasance Courtyard were a real wake-up call to me.
We can’t talk about a free democratic Europe when the people of Belarus wage their solitary battles with the current dictatorship. The performers from the Free Belarus Theatre claim that Belarus is not “sexy” enough for Europe to care about it because the country has no natural resources, no mountains, no sea access and most of all it has no economic value for many European leaders. In the meantime, people in Belarus are arrested every day for clapping their hands, gathering in groups larger than three and for just walking in the street, not to mention the right to freedom of speech. Such a right is denied in all forms of life in Belarus. The Free Belarus Now Campaign and the Free Belarus Theatre will hopefully rouse many politicians from their chronic comas.text by Agata Maslowska
photos by Anu Selva
Posted by Hannah on September 13, 2011.