Here is what Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya spoke about in her address to incredible Belarusians.
It has already been said many times that the year 2020 was difficult, rich in difficulties and worries for the whole world, but especially for Belarus. And so it was. But the year also gave us a lot of hope and inspiration. A lot has changed this year, but the main change is us.
The year 2020 was the year when Belarusians united. We united in March and April to help the medics who were fighting for our lives.
We united in May and June to put signatures for the names of those leaders we trusted and suddenly saw each other in endless lines.
We united in July to defend our choice. Our candidates were stripped of their freedom, but we started meeting all over the country.
It was breathtaking to see how many of us were at rallies together!
We came together in August to vote for change.
We cried together in pain when we heard about Akrestsin and in joy when we saw that there were hundreds of thousands of us at the Freedom March.
We united in September to feel that we will not be crushed, stopped or deterred. After all, each of us is not marching for himself, but for everyone. Because one torn passport is stronger than the whole repression machine.
We united in October to fight in the streets and avenues, in courtyards, in factories and universities for a country to live.
We felt the support from all over the world – from Belarusians and their friends.
We united in November to honor a new hero. We wrote “I am going out” on the walls because we will never forget Raman Bandarenka, Mikita Kryutsou, Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, Henadz Shutau, Alyaksandr Vikhor and Alyaksandr Taraikouski.
We united in December to declare that we are ready for a new stage in our history, where we will live by the same law for all.
We know that we no longer have to prove anything to anyone – we have already proven everything we want.
2020 was the year we stopped being silent and came out of our homes.
And we’re marching on.
And who goes there?
There goes a doctor who marches after hours in a crowded hospital rescuing the injured during the rallies.
There goes a journalist, working to let the world see footage from the streets of Belarus and learn about the heroes of the protests.
A car mechanic, repairing for free the cars damaged by truncheons and explosions.
A volunteer who gave months of his life to others.
There goes a former policeman who refused to carry out a criminal order.
There goes an Orthodox believer who prayed for the Catholic archbishop to return home.
There goes a lawyer who defends a political prisoner at the risk of losing her license.
There goes an athlete who gave up awards that no longer give her pride.
There goes a programmer who donates money to help victims.
There goes a retiree who doesn’t want her grandson to leave the country.
There goes a miner who joined the strike because it is his legal way of demanding new and fair elections.
There goes a businessman who opened the doors of his cafe to protesters and now worries about the people he gave jobs to.
There goes a teacher who still has a white ribbon in her bag.
There goes an artist who dreams of the day when all the paddy wagons will be scrapped and given over to art objects.
There goes a student who stood up for his classmate, because love during a revolution is love for life.
There goes a neighborhood resident who, in spite of his fears, decorates his yard with flags, even though it’s a “troublesome business.
There goes a neighbor who yesterday ripped down the flyers from the entrances and today hands them out himself.
There goes a Belarusian who craves respect for himself as a human being.
Every political prisoner and every detainee for his dignity is marching with us in thought and in heart.
There goes you who are watching this video.
And most importantly – we march together!
Our path is eternal: we came out of our homes to return home. Each of us went out so that we could all return to our common home. Because home is where we are hosts. Home is where the people, not “the little people,” lives. It is a place where we and our family are safe, the place we don’t want to leave, and where we want to return. Home is a place where everyone is valued and loved, both those who want change and those who are still in doubt. It is a place of meeting and understanding. Home is the place we deserve. And in the new year we will live together in our home, in free Belarus.
I congratulate you on that, my dear Belarusians.
I wish us to remain as sincere, open and unbelievable as we are now. I wish us even more strength, health to our families, peace and faith to our hearts. I wish that in the new year everyone we miss so much will come home.
Happy New Year 2021!
Long Live Belarus!