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16.09.2007 | Halya Coynash

Not with candles alone

   

On this day, 16 September 2007, people in Ukraine (and not only) are remembering Georgy Gongadze who disappeared exactly seven years ago. 

It would seem that this time, politicians have had, if not the decency, then the sense, to leave the events of remembrance to Georgy’s friends, colleagues and all those wishing to honour his memory.

By hideous coincidence, exactly one year earlier on this 16th day of September, two Belarusians - opposition figure Viktor Honchar and his friend Anatoly Krasovsky were abducted in Minsk and never seen again.  They are not the only people under whose portraits people in Belarus and other countries will be lighting candles on this day.

On another occasion, this could be cause for learned discussion about the differences in political development between Ukraine and Belarus.  Such an analysis is doubtless needed, but by others, and not today.  Today we remember.

And yet, there is one major difference in this act of remembering.  Certainly we all feel immense frustration at the way the “investigation” into Georgy Gongadze’s murder is being run or stalled, take your pick of words.  The journalists, however, who will be remembered this evening on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] in Kyiv, were killed earlier.  There are no political prisoners now in Ukraine.

Despite all the reasons for remembering Ukrainian victims of a lawless regime which crushed its own people, light your candles today, and raise your voices loud, about Belarus where there are many political prisoners NOW serving sentences for wanting freedom. 

The difference requires no analysis.  It needs action.

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