A court trial against weekly newspaper of Belarusians in Poland “Niva”

2004 2004-10-01T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

At the end of September members of the editorial board of the weekly newspaper were accused of humiliation of book-keeping law. 5 members of the board are accused of baseless spending too much money for publishing activity. A more detailed content of the indictment is impossible without specific knowledge in law and book-keeping but a most purified form of it says that members of the editorial board are guilty of the fact that the book-keeper did not fill in some documents. From the very beginning when the Highest control chamber started its actions concerning “Niva” it was obvious that one was looking for a scandal. And when a state institution is looking for anything, something will be found. As a Prosecutor of Stalin age said: “Show me a person and an adequate law will be found”. The blow to “Niva” was especially planned.
After the results of 2002 national census were announced (almost 50 000 of local population called themselves Belarusians) local nationalists came to the thought that the process of assimilation has been stopped and it whould be activated by means of administrative and repression methods. They started with the “Niva” which they considered to be a stable fact which contributes to preserving of Belarusian community. After 1.5 month searches of something illegal in the newspaper authorities of Belastok region, headed by Antoni Januhta, started an informational war against “Niva” and soon after informed the Prosecutor’s office about numerous humiliations. The form and content of the documents sent by them show that the publishing activity of the newspaper threatens the budgets of the whole Polish state, region and city administration. Regional administration for example gave us 1000 for publishing of a book.
The second attack from the authorities covered schools where one of the subjects is the Belarusian language. In the controlled schools the officials demanded from the head masters declarations of the parents who want their children study native language. The declarations successfully crashed Belarusian schooling during the period between two wars and in the 1970s. Today it looks like this experienced method is being used to fight the remainder of Belarusian schooling.
The accusation of the editorial board of “Niva” is a specific piece of information to all active Belarusians which means approximately the following: “The polish state has enough potential in order to abase you with impunity, lead you to the state of criminals, do everything needed”. The only guilt of the Editorial board members is that they agreed to become members of it and performed their function on volunteer basis. This is demanded by the Statutes of the Board.
Somebody wants to make us second class citizens. They know that everything concerning Belarusians can be done with impunity, that nobody will protect our interests and we are so disintegrated that we will not protest even against open discrimination. And at the same time works the law that when in Belarus an anti-belarusian movement starts the same appears in Poland. That was in the 1930s and 1970s of the twentieth century. Methods are different but the aim is the same – to destroy Belarusian national life.
In 1938 by the same methods all Belarusian cultural, publishing and economic institutions were liquidated in Poland. In 1967 the liquidation of Jewish movement started with financial control over cultural and publication institutions. A few months after the Jewish community was repressed. Now after Poland has entered the EU all super-patriots put off the mask of Europeans. It was most obvious on the discussion of the “Law about national minorities”.
The worst will happen when nationalists will mange to threaten those last belarusians who show that they are eager to do something. That will not be only their victory but will destroy everything what has been created in the recent hard years. The times which approach will not be easy for national minorities. Political crisis most often lead to the aggression against “others”. Earlier the jews have been the victims in such situations, nowadays the nationalities can express the aggression only against Belarusians. That gives them political capital. We will probably be accused of nationalism, separatism, terrorism or some other criminal actions. The attempts of the highest state institutions – Highest control chamber or the Office of the Prosecutor - to make criminals of the members of the editor’s board of the “Niva” show that everything is possible in Poland.