People of the Square
The presentation of Aliaksandr Tamkovich’s book about political prisoners “Life after prison” took place in Warsaw.
The book comprises 27 essays and conversations with the participants of the events of 19 December 2010, who got to prison after the crackdown on the protest action against the falsification of the presidential election results, their relatives and close ones. “Life after prison” is the follow-up to the collection “Against the flow”, published in 2012. The new book tells about the life of former political prisoners in two years after the Square. The book’s author a journalist Aliaksandr Tamkovich made a speech at the event that took place in the Belarusian House in Warsaw. Former political prisoners Natalia Radzina, Dzmitry Bandarenka, Dzmitry Drozd, Uladzimir Kobiec, Aliaksandr Atroshchankau and Ales Michalevic also spoke at the presentation.
The book’s author told the story of its creation at the beginning of the event.
“Life after prison” is a follow-up to the book “Against the flow”. It tells the stories of practically the same people, but in two years after the Square. We intended this book together with Ales Bialatski. We wrote first essays when he was at large. Unfortunately, I had to finish it without his because of his arrest. The second book was also written without Bialatski”, - Aliaksandr Tamkovich said.
“Life after prison” is illustrated with unique photos from the family albums of former political prisoners. All the pictures were shown at the presentation. According to the author, there are over 200 of those.
The editor-in-chief of the charter97.org web-site Natalia Radzina noted that the book is very important for today’s Belarus.
“What you do is actually very important today in Belarus. Unfortunately, the topic of political prisoners does not go to background. Two and a half years have already passed, people remain behind bars, others have not yet recovered from prison. If we do not remind Belarusians, opposition, human rights activists and people in the West that there are political prisoners in our country, that there is the necessity of their release, it will all remain as it is. As to the book, then in my view “Life after prison” is a very good title. It is necessary to write about what is going on with us after the release, because life has changed a lot for all of us. It was happiness for me in the first minutes after I was released from prison. The happiness to be at large. But a day passed, another one, a month, and I realized that I was released from a little prison into a bigger one. That is why we must keep fighting. Many of us have to be in emigration now, but we have the same goal – for the country to become free”, - Natalia Radzina stated.
A coordinator of the European Belarus civic campaign Dzmitry Bandarenka highlighted that “Life after prison” was a unique collection of stories of Belarusians.
“When I was at a hospital, wife sent me several magazines, including a Story Caravan. It had stories about Russian musicians, singers. They were written with love and respect. Actually there are many stories of different heroes, about famous people from different countries. There is nothing like that is Belarus. They do not write such stories, do not make movies. At the state level no one is told about apart from one person. It is yet another crime of the regime that nothing good is written about Belarusians, nothing remains there for descendants. When I read Aliaksandr Tamkovich’s fist books, then I thought that it was our Story Caravan. He writes positively about everyone – about Bandarenka, about Dzmitryeu, about Niaklaeu – about everyone. Historians will then find out, life will show, readers will understand too. I think, it is the first concentrated positive project on Belarus and Belarusians. I would like to thank Aliaksandr Tamkovich for that”, - Dzmitry Bandarenka noted.