Lech Walesa on Bialiatski: “He has infected his fellow Belarusians with the dream of freedom”

12 October 2012

The famous Polish politician and human rights defender explained why Ales Bialiatski, chairman of the Human Rights Center Viasna, received the Lech Walesa Award this year.

In an article published in the magazine Wprost, Lech Walesa discusses democracy in the modern world, values, and the high price that must sometimes be paid for changes that lead to the better.

“You may be condemned for your concern about others, and you may even sometimes pay a high price for this. For your selflessness, which gives hope and faith in a better future, you may be subjected to persecution. Nevertheless, there are still people who believe that in spite of all this, it is possible to live in a free and democratic society, even in places where there is no actual democracy. Such a position deserves respect. This is why this year the jury awarded the prize to our friend from Belarus Ales Bialiatski, who infected his fellow Belarusians with the dream of freedom,” writes Walesa.

Walesa stressed that the Polish community must help strengthen Belarusian civil society by coming out against the Lukashenko regime. “Today we can clearly see that Belarus is not part of the group of countries that could be called law-abiding and democratic,” said Walesa, summing up the situation.

The Lech Walesa Award was created five years ago and recognizes individuals, institutions, or social movements working for the good of the world, solidarity and cooperation among nations, freedom, and respect for human rights.

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