The world knows Ales Bialiatski as a social activist, but he is probably known as a writer only in his own country. He is currently working on a history of the dissident movement in Belarus.
While the human rights activities of Ales Bialiatski are at the center of society’s attention, his creative work has remained behind the scenes. But, as his fellow human rights defender Tatyana Revyako tells Naviny.by, his literary activities are an important part of his life. She hopes that he will not abandon his creative work in prison and that he will write a history of the Belarusian human rights movement.
The Russian human rights defender Ludmila Alekseeva has a book called “The History of Dissidence in the USSR.” It tells about national movements in different Soviet republics, but not about dissidents in Belarus. “It is important to fill this gap so that readers don’t think that nothing was going on in Belarus while the rest of the former Soviet Union was fighting for human rights and for freedom,” said Ms. Revyako. “Ales is working in this area.”
Before his arrest, Ales gave Ms. Revyako the first 35 pages of this history, which are mostly dedicated to the background of the Belarusian human rights movement.
“Ales says that now many layers of his memories have been freed. This is probably to compensate for the lack of outside information,” noted Ms. Revyako, who corresponds with Ales.
The author wrote a literary column in the newspaper Litaratura i mastatstva for many years. He had plans to publish a collection of his work to celebrate his 50th birthday on September 25. Now his colleagues have decided to give him this gift: “Ales is in prison, but work goes on – he will get his collection.”
Ales is currently in quarantine and still does not know that he won the Norwegian Freedom of Expression award. “We will let him know and congratulate him within the next few days,” says Ms. Revyako.
The Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova recently nominated Ales Bialiatski for the Nobel Peace Prize. “If he wins the Nobel Prize, this will change the moral climate in the country,” notes Ms. Revyako. In this way, all political prisoners and fighters for democratic values will receive international recognition. “I truly hope that then more regular citizens who are not interested in political prisoners or in what is going on will learn about the real situation and about people who have devoted many years to upholding democratic positions,” said Ms. Revyako.