It’s been four months since mass protests erupted in Belarus against Aleksandr Lukashenko bid to stay power. The situation is a stalemate, for the lack of a better term. But despite the gridlock, massive changes are underway in Belarus. A popular political awakening has occurred. And this will continue no matter how many people Lukashenko’s security forces arrest. Or how long he remains president.
Belarus is far from where I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But even our small Belarusian community has organized to support their friends, family and compatriots. They’ve formed their own Facebook group, Belarusians in Western PA, and have been holding in-person and online actions since August.
I went to one of their recent rallies. It was small, about 15 people, on the corner of E. Carson and 25th Street in Pittsburgh’s southside. I came to support my friends. But I also brought my Zoom recorder to interview people. I had no well thought-out agenda in mind. I just wanted to get a sense of where they stood and what they wanted us, Pittsburghers and Americans in general to know and do about the events in Belarus. And maybe, I hoped, the material might make for a short podcast