This article by Siarhey Bohdan has made it to the top of Nasha Niva ratings, and drew a wave of comments. The author implies, that, contrary to the pessimistic mood in opposition circles, the Belarusian culture is making huge strives in its development. The comments range from full support to the author to the fierce critic of him as being too optimistic.
Below you will find a short summary of the article.
Belarusians are doing one success after another in shaping their nation
The crisis is one of the main categories of the Western way of thinking, the Iranian philosopher Larijani once wrote. Living in the countries with the highest income per capita, the Europeans are constantly discussing their crises and the ways out of them. This feverish invention of crises and solutions resulted into the immense material upsurge of the western European civilization. The people in other parts of the world couldn’t care less and believed that bananas on their tries are growing just fine. The Europeans have caused the invention race, and, competing with themselves, have conquered the world.
Being a young man, I’ve been hearing the speeches about the crisis situation with the Belarusian language since the day I was born. But, comparing the former and the present state of the Belarusian language, I am getting more and more persuaded by the “crisis theory”. The Belarusians have sensed the crisis and began to fight it. We simply lack confidence in our strength. And the positive thinking.
The national rebirth: we lead
Despite of the referendum of 1995 (which “reinstalled” Russian to its use as an official language in Belarus, together with Belarusian), the decline in state support to the Belarusian-language books, and the shrinking number of Belarusian-language periodicals, the positive change outweighs the shortcomings.
1. The Belarusian language got rid of its plebeian and “village” status. It modernizes itself and feels itself at home in big cities. Only the abandoning of the “village” orientation in literature has managed to make the language more healthy and attractive.
2. The non-soviet standard of language was revived, which is not plagued by the Russian grammar and vocabulary, artificially injected into the language by the Soviets in 1930’s. (more here) This allows the language to function in all spheres of the modern society.
3. The language and culture acquired their intelligent carriers and masters. To be more exact, the masters claimed their rights. We must create everything anew. The colonial heritage is falling apart, the Belarusian culture and nation are being developed on its ruins. How can one feel sorry, that only 37% of Belarusians during the 1999 census told that they use the Belarusian language in their daily life? 37% already, despite all the post-1995 state politics, declared their wish to speak Belarusian! This is a huge success.
4. The new generation of creators and carriers of the Belarusian culture emerged. One shouldn’t judge about the state of Belarusian culture based on the official information sources. Just take what appeared in the recent years – from Balahonau (the young Belarusian author) to “Dzeyaslou” (the idependent cultural magazine) - and think whether we’ve had anything like that before.
5. The process of the development of the national culture and language is now natural in its character. This means, it doesn’t depend on the state financial support. As soon as one stops hoping to get some money from the state, the vision clears, and one notices that the Belarusian culture does not degrade, but fixes the deformations of the soviet times, when the laws controlled the muse.
6. The culture and the language have opened themselves to the world. Now thousands of Belarusians are studying abroad, the Belarusian culture has overcome the borders of the former empire. There have never been so many translations to and from Belarusian, and our fellow countrymen travel all over the world and open for us new cultures – from the Finish to the Afghan. And those are not immigrants of the soviet times, pushed away by their native surrounding, and writing for no one, with their works never making it to their homeland. No, these are the people, which are traveling from one culture to another, developing the communication.
The Belarusian culture is successful. Don’t panic. If you do something, it is always important to see your successes and be proud of them – it helps to work. In order to secure this success, we must continue working to revive the civil society, independent from the state.