Alexander Lukashenko is Europe’s last dictator. He’s been president of Belarus (in case you’re a Republican, that’s in Europe) since 1994. Instead of having free elections, his nation has the the kind of strongman system favored by Donald Trump, Republicans, and MAGA terrorists. Belarus is a former Soviet satellite nation, yet maintains Soviet symbolism. Lukashenko may be hornier for Russia than Donald Trump and Republicans are.
Belarus also does not have a free press or the rights to oppose the president’s administration. Belarus is very much a wet dream for Donald Trump. Sorry if you were eating lunch when you read “Trump” with “wet dream.”
Over the weekend, Roman Protasevich, a high-profile opposition journalist to Lukashenko’s administration, was flying to Lithuania from Greece (which is also in Europe, Republicans). Unfortunately for the dissident who’s been living in exile since 2019, the flight went over Belarusian airspace. Even as the tray tables were being ordered back into the upright positions and the seat belt sign was on in preparation for the landing in Lithuania (in case you’re a Republican, that’s another country in Europe), the plane was forced to turn around.
A Belarusian fighter jet approached the jetliner and informed it there was a bomb threat on board. That was a lie. They ordered the plane to fly to Minsk (in case you’re a Republican, is in Belarus), even though its scheduled destination was actually closer. After the plane landed, five of the 126 passengers were detained. One of those was Protasevich. The other was his girlfriend (in case you’re a Republican, a girlfriend is a girl…you know, those things whose bodies you want to legislate but you yourselves can’t touch).
Passengers on the flight later told the media, not in Belarus, that Roman Protasevich was terrified throughout the entire ordeal, and thought the plane being ordered to turn around and land in Belarus was about all him. Sheesh, paranoid much? But as Kurt Cobain sang, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” They were after Protasevich.
Last year, Protasevich created a Telegram account that helped organize a protest against Lukashenko. Telegram is a social media app, like TikTok and Instragram, that’s popular in Europe and with Russian hookers who’ll pee on you in a Moscow hotel room for a fair price. After the mass protests, Protasevich was classified as a terrorist by the KBG. Those are the initials for Belarus’ secret intelligence agency. I told you they were horny for Soviets. Here’s a fun fact: In Belarus, only about 10 percent of the population speak Belarusian. The majority of Belarusians speak Russian.
After being captured and kidnapped, Protasevich appeared in a state-TV video explaining he had been a bad boy and is now cooperating with investigations into the protests he helped organize. He appears in the video with bruises on his face and perhaps even a broken nose. It’s reminiscent of those propaganda videos Saddam Hussein released of visibly-beaten captured UK and U.S. pilots where they confessed to committing crimes against Iraq and how their own governments were evil.
The European Union is protesting, working to prevent all air traffic in the continent from flying over Belarus, and preventing Belarusian aircraft from landing in other European nations. It sounds like Lukashenko is boxed in, but he’s not. He has one person on his side.
I’ll give you two guesses who that person is: Donald Trump took his side over U.S. intelligence and his name rhymes with “Schmootin.” In case you’re a Republican, it’s Putin.
We need to support the E.U. in this fight. Democracy is important everywhere. You can’t have a democracy without the right to protest. You don’t have the right to protest without a free press. It’s important to fight for this in other nations because there are too many people in this country who wants to kill our democracy.
There are people in this nation who want laws forbidding the press from criticizing their cult leader. Those people deny an election happened. Those people lie about democracy and accuse others of election fraud. Those people are changing election laws based on lies about election fraud. Those people attacked the Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C. trying to overturn an election. There are people in Congress who support those terrorists and don’t want their attack investigated. Before they attacked, their cult leader held a rally and encouraged them to go the Capitol and overturn the election.
The people who still support Trump, his terrorists, and his lies, want us to be more like Belarus. Belarus is a horrible place. It’s probably worse than Indiana. Don’t go to Belarus.
Democracy should be supported. We should have a free press, even when the press reports things you don’t want to hear. We should have the right to protest, even if protesters say thing you don’t want to hear. We should have legitimate elections where everyone eligible is allowed to vote, even if they don’t vote for whom you want to win. This is what’s so difficult for Republicans to understand. You don’t just support democracy until it doesn’t give you the results you wanted. You don’t just support democracy when it’s convenient for you. It’s not just about you.
If Donald Trump and his MAGA goons have their way, they’ll adopt a little Belarusian and tell us, “навошта закопваць галаву ў пясок, калі замест гэтага можна было« схавацца ў бульбу?”
In English, that’s “why ‘bury your head in the sand’ when you could ‘hide in potatoes’ instead?”
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Why not just bury one’s head in a minefield? If your head hits a mine you don’t have to worry about the death of democracy anymore.