Memory of the disappeared Belarusians was commemorated in Eindhoven


In Eindhoven (Netherlands) an opening of the photo exposition Verdwenen maar niet vergeten (Disappeared but not Forgotten) took place on the 16th of September. Afterward a commemoration ceremony was held to mark the 11th anniversary of Viktor Gonchar and Anatoly Krasovsky disappearance.

The photo exposition was opened by elderman Staf Depla. A word by daughter of Anatoly Krasovsky Valeriya and FNV representative Leo Messman was said. The exposition will last till September the 30th.

In the years 1999-2000 four prominent persons in Belarus — ex-minister of Internal Affairs Yuri Zakharenko, Wise-Speaker of the Supreme Council Viktor Gonchar, businessman and  famous public figure Anatoly Krasovsky and journalist Dmitry Zavadsky — were subjected to involuntary disappearance. Their fate remains unknown. There are evidences, though, that high official persons including the present head of the state, are suspected to be involved in the abduction and possible murder of the four people. For the past eleven years thousands of actions all around the world have been hold to remind the responsible persons that the disappeared are not forgotten. The largest part of the photographs presented at the exhibition are images of such actions throughout the decade.

Since its foundation in 2004 We Remember is actively engaged in the lobbying the issue of the disappearances within the international political discourse. Numerous bilateral  meetings of Iryna Krasovskaya and Svetlana Zavadskaya with world politicians have been taking place throughout these years. Thanks to the efforts of We Remember many resolutions of such bodies as PACE, UN, US Department of State, OSCE, Inter-Parliamentary Union have been adopted demanding the Belarusian authorities to investigate the cases of disappearances in open, transparent and effective way. Some of the images represent this aspect of We Remember activity.

After the opening, commemoration ceremony took place at the site where the four trees were planted back on September the 16th 2008 in the memory of Yuri Zakharenko, Viktor Gonchar, Anatoly Krasovsky and Dmitry Zavadsky. Poet Leo Messman red his poems dedicated to the disappeared Belarusians. Valeriya Krasovskaya red the translation of Leo Messman´s poem «The Four Trees» into Belarusian. This poem is engraved onto the plaque near the trees.

Valeriya Krasovskaya hold a speech at the trees site.

«In this world of lies, unjustice and despair where the family members of the involuntary disappeared Belarusians were put, memory is the only substance they can rely on, — she said. — The name of our foundation, which unites relatives of the disappeared people in Belarus, and which I represent here today is We Remember. I used to say I am strongly convinced that If we didn't remember our loved ones who we lost disappeared and killed, if we did not remind the world about horrible things taking place in Belarus, the already terrifying situation in my home country would be even worse than it is now. To my great despair, I have to confess that I myself therefore was not prepared to the shocking news that reached me on the 3rd of September this year. One of the leading journalists in Belarus, founder of the most visited news resource on human rights and other issues in Belarus, was found dead in his summer house close to Minsk. His name was Oleg Bebenin. Oleg did a lot for the issue of the disappearance not to be forgotten. He never missed one action in the memory of the disappeared. He expressed deep concern with the issue, he supported my family morally. He was due to head the pre-electoral presidential campaign of democratic candidate Andrei Sannikov.»

Participants of the action stood in silence in memory of Oleg Bebenin.

At the end of the ceremony white balloons were launched into the air.

The event was organized by Amnesty International, FNV Mondiaal, Mission to Minsk and We Remember.