Voices of a peaceful Protest

Tatsiana Khomich in Conversation with Jochen Sandig

Since the rigged presidential elections in August 2020, Belarus has been in a state of emergency. The countrymen demand fair elections, but also many other fundamental rights that have been restricted for years. The regime has reacted to peaceful protests with brutal use of force. Among the oppositional freedom fighters are the siblings' Maria Kalesnikava and Tatsiana Khomich. Jochen Sandig met the latter for an interview this year.

A lot has changed within a year in the Eastern European country of Belarus: New forms of protest and togetherness have formed. In public »places of change« emerged, marked in the red and white colours of the revolution. A revolution for which more than 1155 protest groups formed and organized over Telegram. Only the attitude of the regime remains unchanged so that many people fled abroad. In addition, thousands have been arrested and around 600 people are still being held in prisons. Among them is the musician and civil rights activist Maria Kalesnikava, who has become one of the main figures of the revolution. 

Tatsiana Khomich, her sister, lives in Ukraine. In May 2021 she met Jochen Sandig for an interview. Khomich talked about the political and civic changes in her country and asked to continue supporting the Belarusians. Since the imprisonment of her sister, she has been working abroad as a mouthpiece for Kalesnikava, for whom she also accepted honours and prizes; including the EU’s Sakharov Prize of 50,000 euros. On December 19, 2021, Maria Kalesnikava will be awarded the Stuttgart Peace Prize of the AnStifter. Now Maria Kalesnikava has been sentenced to eleven years in prison. Because of this situation, Khomich’s request to speak about Belarus remains acute.

On October 3rd Belarusian artists presented a touching and shocking performance together with the Rohrer-Lied-Ensemble. The production »Echoes – Voices from Belarus II« of Musik der Jahrhunderte / Festival ECLAT and the Ludwigsburg Festival could also be experienced as an installation during the exhibition days from October 5 to 10.

The conversation with Tatsiana Khomich can be found on our Digital Stage.