The polyphony of public testimony coming from Belarus through Telegram, Twitter, and Facebook are due not as much to technology as to the Belarusian literary tradition of recording the voice of a witness in the country where silence reigns over historical atrocities, many archives are closed, and independent media are allowed to exist only under great state pressure. With official news channels interrupted, with a nightly shutdown of internet and phone services, Belarusians turn to their literary tradition of testimony.
Today, Svetlana Alexievich, Belarusian Nobel Laureate in Literature “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,” said: “I simply have felt real love for my people in these last few weeks. This is a completely different people, and there is a completely new strength in these people.”
Since Sunday, the form of Belarusian protest has been a walk-out. A walk-out is the polyphony of bodies during these frightening days. The blinking electricity turned off and on in apartments across the cities at night is a Belarusian polyphony. The honking of cars is a polyphony. A polyphony of wild flowers in the hands of women walking through the cities today. Beautiful people, beautiful cities, the world hears you!
14 August 2020