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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

 

New student movement for Belarus

Via David McDuff, we have learned of Students for Global Democracy's Belarus campaign:


While there exist no shortage of worthy causes for promoting self-determination and the right to freedom throughout the world, Students For Global Democracy, or SGD, has found the current need in Belarus to be of the most pressing concern. Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the people of Belarus have seen their oppressor switch from a foreign empire ruled from Moscow, to a domestic tyrant in Minsk. The iron fist of Aleksandr Lukashenka, current “president” of Belarus, continues to rule Belarus to this very day.

In essence, only international funding of groups such as Zubr is possible. Yet, since 2001 such funding has essentially dried up. After the 2001 Belarussian election, Lukashenka began to crack down on those who had run against him in the election to punish them for daring to oppose his rule. Instead of increasing their aid to respond to the worsening situation, most large international donor organizations pulled the majority of their funding. Such organizations also usually demand that aid recipients be officially registered with the Belarussian government—a ridiculous demand considering that Minsk would never officially recognize an organization that seriously threatens its dictatorial status.

SGD aims to play a different role than these larger organizations by effectively using its donated funds to achieve the best result possible for the people of Belarus. We listen to those on the ground—the democrats—to determine what is actually needed and how to best change the situation there. We simply want to bring democracy to Belarus, not serve the interests of a bureauratic aid organization with inefficient policies.


You can donate to the campaign via the web site to buy independent newspapers for Belarus. We also encourage students in America to get involved with their local chapter of SGD.

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