Pavol Demes to Vladimir Makei: Please do prove us wrong
This open letter was first published on charter97.org.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia Pavol Demes addressed an open letter to Vladimir Makei.
It was written before opening the summit of "Eastern Partnership» in Vilnius.
Here is the text of a letter received by charter97.org:
Dear Minister Makei:
Since you did finally decide to attend the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, I am confident that you will have a chance to read this letter.
There are three reasons why I decided to write to you: 1) I am sure that none of the 500 million EU citizens will send you any greetings. You struggled hard to attend this summit of European leaders, to which your master, Mr. Lukashenko, has not been invited given his long-term brutality toward his own citizens. I had wrongly assumed that you will send your deputy who has never been on a visa-ban list like yourself. 2) I like your country and I admire the many brave patriots who are fighting to make Belarus a civilized European state. I am convinced that once the self-isolation imposed by your government will end, Europeans will discover an amazing land with warm and cultured, sometimes shy and always hardworking people. 3) I cannot communicate with you in a standard manner even though I am a former Slovak foreign minister, thus a sort of colleague of yours. Since I was an international observer during the presidential elections in 2010, which your government chose to crush, I have been persona non grata in your country. Your diplomats would find it hard to meet me.
I am not sure if the busy Lithuanian summit hosts will have the time to prepare a sufficiently program for your rare visit. However, you have a unique opportunity to do something truly European. Vilnius is the temporary home to the European Humanities University, where many talented Belarusian students attend courses. Surely you know its rector, Professor Anatoly Michailov, who could organize a lecture on short notice for you to freely explain and discuss EU-Belarus issues. Another Belarusian institution, the Barys Zvozskau Human Rights House, would also be ready to hold discussion for you on pressing matters, such as the fate of political prisoners in Belarus before Christmas. And I am sure that even the many Belarusian democrats who were forced to emigrate, such as the activists of the European Belarus movement that now operate from Warsaw, would come to meet you and talk Europe, if you only showed interest.
I hope you will find of interest at least some of these suggestions. If needed, I am at your disposal in your intensified search for the proper way of communicating with the European democratic family. Many in Europe and the rest of the world would like to believe in a genuine opening on the part of the Belarusian government, but remain skeptical. Please do prove us wrong.
Best regards, Pavol Demes.