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Pity the poor soul tasked with driving visitors to Belarus. Although we can imagine a half dozen bloggers trudging from one gray concrete tower to another while happily tweeting #gobelarus.
“Do you want to experience dictatorship first hand? Do you want to see how it is to live without free press, free speech, or free elections? Welcome to Belarus, the only dictatorship in Europe!” – that’s what travel advertisement for Belarus should state, according to ‘Belarusians in Exile,’ a human rights organization aimed to developing democratic institutions in that country.
‘Belarusians’ launched a series of cartoons that are expected to bring attention to the human rights crisis in ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’: “Belarus in the periphery of Europe and clearly is not on the urgent political agenda,” says Ilya Lushnikov, speaker for the human rights group: “However, we feel that we need to bring attention to the issue. That’s why we launched to cartoons series, and it has been very successful with bloggers and media alike.”
In the current cartoon edition, the Belarusian president is welcoming visitors into the country while in the background the police use clubs to crack down a protest. This image is clearly a fiction because political protests in Belarus are banned and would not happen in the first place. “It’s a human rights catastrophe. We appealed to the EU and the US to expand sanctions against Belarus to pressure Lukashenko,” says Ilya Lushnikov: “Sanctions against companies that finance the regime as well as against people who are included in the close circle of president’s friends that came to be known as ‘the family’.”
People who have an Android device can also download a free app where they can throw stuffed teddy bears at Lukashenko.
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