Monday, July 02, 2007

Look at this journal…

Lethal Weapon 3: Not what would normally be expected on a Belarusian holiday"
"Adam, did you see what is happening for the Third of July?" This was Tatyana only a few moments ago as she came to me holding the television journal for this week.

"No, I didn't."

"There are nothing but American movies, all day and all night."

"What are you talking about?"

"I was just reading the television journal and I noticed that there are nothing but American movies playing on television all day long today."

"Like what? Anything good?"

"You don't understand; the Third of July is Belarusian Independence Day. But all day long they are showing only American movies."

"I think when they do this it is because the people at the station take a vacation and they just leave one guy behind who just loads the tapes. If this was America he would be some flunky wearing a baseball hat, a pair of headphones and a 72 ounce slurpy. Here, you know he's…" And I clicked my neck indicting that he'd have been hitting the old vodka bottle."

"I understand this. But I have never heard of this in my life. Look: First is the Mask with Jim Carry…"

"That was on last night."

"It is on again this morning. And then Mel Gibson in… I don’t know how to translate this… something like guns and bombs and dangerous things…"

"Lethal Weapon. Danny Glover, right?"

"It doesn't say. And then just after this is Lethal Weapon 2. And then after this is over, they play Lethal Weapon 3 and then part four just after that."

"They played all four of them in a row?"

"From 12 noon to 8:30pm."

"I think they had Joe Pesci and Chris Rock in there in one of those."

"You don't understand. Do you remember when we watched 'Officers'?"

"I don't remember…"

"You remember. They were in Afghanistan and they went to Chechnya…"

Belatela, the First National Channel is more in line with what is expected.
"Oh yea, those two guys. One was the ladies man and the other was a little slow but was a better boxer and they teamed up as a commando unit and worked during and after the Soviet Union?"

"Do you remember? And we watched all day. At least this was one of ours. Now these are all American movies."

"You know that came up today in the bread store. They mentioned that tomorrow was Belarusian Independence Day and they asked me what I thought of that. And I went 'Yea, I feel really independent. We have got Russia on one side and the EU on the other. We have got Venezuela now and then we have got Iran on the other. Like this is really independence. And the big guy is looking more and more tired every time we see him…"

"Yea, I see this too."

"Last year we had independence, or at least it felt like it. Our guy was a big bad, tough guy, stands up to Putin, stands up to Bush. Now he is like a tractor salesman. He's in this country, he's in that country. Some fertilizer here, a tractor or two there..."

"Yes, I see this. We are selling ourselves now".

The parade in Minsk...
"It used to be different. Yea, the girls would go over to Poland, to Germany and they would laugh from Belarus but on the inside, it seemed different. Now they show him dancing at the graduation ball with the hottest babe in all of Belarus and he is staring off into space, like he seems to be thinking of something else. He doesn't look so good right now at all. Maybe it was Chavez..."

"It was never like this when I was young. This is the 63rd anniversary…"

"Of the end of the war?"


"The beginning of the war?"

"No, Belarusian Independence Day commemorates the day when the Red Army kicked the fascists out of Belarus. The war ended a year later but Belarus was made free on the Third of July. My father was in the flotilla. He was a hero for Pinsk. This has always been the special party."

"And now they celebrate by showing American movies all day."

"Do you understand this?" She wiped her eye. She was crying a little.

"Is this today or tomorrow?"

"This was today. After is Demi Moore in 'Two Lives.' After this, starting at 1:00am is Bruce Willis in 'Alfa Dog'. This till three in the morning!"

"What about tomorrow?"

"Let me look for tomorrow…Ok, yes, it starts again. In the morning is a Kim Bassinger film; 'My Stepmother is from Mars?'"

"I don't know that one."

"It is a said to be a family comedy."

"I can look it up."

The big concerts…
"Then there is Pierce Brosnan in the 'The Grey Owl', Then Denis Muchitil…I don't know what this means, and they don't write who is in it. Then Sandra Bullock in 'In Love and in the War'. Then Eddy Murphy in 'The Adventures of Pluto Nash' and then the last, Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Blanchet in 'Aviator'. All day long, American movies."

"Wow. You are right this is really interesting. It does seem strange. Usually, they love to kill you with nostalgia during the parties. You're right. But wait a minute; are you talking about Belarus Television?"

"No, ONT."

"ONT is Russian."

"No, they are Belarus. They are more from Minsk. For the whole week leading up to the party, they cancelled all of the regular shows. They have no Nye Radice Kraciva…"

"They didn't have 'Friends' today. Anya was really disappointed."

"Nu, this is what I said. A week before the Independence Days they take all the normal programs and they show things like concerts from Minsk. But for the day of the party they show American movies."

"Ok, but what is on Belarus?"

And of course the big fireworks show at the end.
"Ah….Ok: at 11:00am they have the parade from Minsk. And after they have the concert from Minsk called 'Belarus Together'. This starts at 1:00. Then there are repeats from previous years from the Slovanski Bazaar. Then there is an Italian/Belarusian concert. And then a movie 'Mayor Vetrov', this is one of ours. And then another concert of Yozef Kobzon and then at 9:00 'The concert for the party for the Independent Belarus. So it is all concerts."

"This is what you were expecting."

"Yea, this is normal."

"I wouldn't think that BT would let you down."

"No, this is normal."

"But still…"

"Yes, these are very strange times for Belarus. Very strange."

"I agree. I see this too"

  • Note: for more good fotos from previous Belarusian Independence Day parades, click HERE

    More soon…

    Anonymous Steve R said...

    Do you think it was some kind of test? Like, they check the demographics of who is watching the concerts and who is watching Bruce Willis. Maybe it is a test as to the true feelings of the Belarusians for this day.

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger politiques USA said...

    July 1st: Canada day
    July 3rd 1944: liberation of Minsk from Germany occupation
    July 4th: independence day in the US
    July 10th: independence of the Bahamas from the UK in 1973
    July 14th: french revolution in 1789
    July 21st: belgian revolution in 1831

    Most of the countries in the world declared their independence from the UK, it's normal the UK was a big empire until WW2, then collapsed little by little until the 70s.

    Happy 3rd of July

    Мы выйдзем шчыльнымі радамі
    На вольны родны наш прастор.
    Хай воля вечна будзе з намі,
    А гвалту мы дамо адпор!

    Хай аджыве закамянелы
    Наш беларускі вольны дух;
    Штандар наш бел-чырвона-белы,
    Пакрыў сабой народны рух!

    На бой! За шчасьце і за волю
    Народу слаўнага свайго!
    Браты, цярпелі мы даволі.
    На бой! — усе да аднаго!

    Імя і сілу беларуса
    Няхай пачуе й бачыць той,
    Хто сьмее нам нясьці прымусы
    I першы выкліча на бой.

    Браты, да шчасьця мы падходзім:
    Хай гром грыміць яшчэ мацней!
    У крывавых муках мы народзім
    Жыцьцё Рэспублікі сваёй!

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    What politiques USA has sent us today is not a song which will be played at the parade in Minsk or anywhere else in Belarus except maybe at the Charter '97 offices. I don't know where you got this Steve, and I will let it be here, but before I show my translation, I will say that the views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEING HAD Blog. All reasonable comments and personal opinions will be accepted, however, citation of original authorship or place of publication is necessary (and ethical) when quoting outside source material.

    And on a personal note, no, I am not an opposition guy. I'll go on again sometime as to why I am not as of this moment and have not been over the lastcouple of years, but suffice it to say that this is not my idea of Belarus' best possible future.

    But anyway, here is a reasonable translation of what was just posted:

    We will march in straight lines,
    On our free native lands
    Let our freedom forever be with us
    And our enemies we will send away

    Hard as a stone, our Belarusian freedom
    Let it breath the breath of life.
    Cheer on our red and white parade
    Which hides the people's will

    To the fight for happiness and for freedom
    For our own native people
    Brothers, we hold ourselves back enough
    To the fight, one and all

    The name and strength of Belarusians;
    Let it be heard and seen by he
    Who brings us problems-
    And is first to instigate a fight

    Brothers, to happiness we are coming
    Let the storm become more thunderous
    In bloody agony we will give birth
    To the life of our Republic

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger Mary Ellen said...

    Happy Independence Day Belarus!!!!

    It's all your fault, Adam. They see this big famous guy in Belarus that writes an amazing blog...and they figure that they should honor your with American movies. See? It's so simple, I'm surprised you didn't figure it out.

    The sad thing is....those are really bad American movies! That' the best they can come up with?

    This year, I'm going to spend our Independence Day drinking vodka and toasting to you and your family, Adam!

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger politiques USA said...

    Uhm I made a search on google and I found this one. And yes I was not quite sure about this song either, but that's what the search engine gave me after 2 different attempts. That must be one of those old songs i guess...

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    ME, Na Zdarov! Shastye, Udache- I Vsyo Budit Xoroshow!! This is me toasting you right back. However, I am not famous. Having a lot of people know you doesn't make you famous. Eventually kicking Poland's ass for screwing with your life though, might. Oh, and La Chaim!

    Steve, we talked about this, Tanya and I, and we are absolutely sure that there is no way that this is anything but a song written in the last two years. Before the war, till 1939, western Belarus was with Poland and the rest was with Russia. After the war, everything went to the Soviet Union. The BSSR flag (Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic) was pretty much the same as the green and red one except there was a hammer and cycle. This is the flag I use for the logo. If you want to talk about that red and white flag, I think the only one's who used it were that 1918 group who never got recognized (and have never returned from exile) because of the October Revolution. (after I wrote this I checked the WIKI, I was pretty close)

    Speaking about hiding one's feelings would never have been a national song, saying it in Belarusian would never even have been thought of until 1991, referring to a guy who brings problems and instigates fights would not be Adolph Hitler because the only one's fighting from this side were the red army and of course we know the color of their flag and that country was already born.

    Sorry, it is only a Milinkevich song. But ironically, Mr. Milinkevich himself, as the song said, was sent away.

    Good try though.

    Oh, and even as I write these words the fireworks are going off. No, I didn't get to watch, someone had to get home to bed…

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Anonymous Yuri said...

    The song was published in 1919 in Miensk in newspaper Belarus, as it says at this site. The website is from 2001. That makes two years not correct. It is not only a Milinkevich song. Tanya only knows government history, not the history of free Belarusans.

    Tuesday, July 03, 2007  
    Blogger politiques USA said...

    Like I said before, I'm pretty much ignorant of Belarus, but I'm willing to learn the culture and all the traditions, it will be an enjoyable experience.

    Wednesday, July 04, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    Good one Yuri. I stand corrected. Thank you.

    And thank you too Steve, I think it is an interesting and beautiful place as well.

    Wednesday, July 04, 2007  
    Blogger politiques USA said...

    Before the war, till 1939, western Belarus was with Poland and the rest was with Russia.
    Can we say that historically there are still rivalry conflicts between Poland and Belarus or Belarus with Lithuania? I think I can realize the picture now.

    Wednesday, July 04, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    You have a point and really there is. To me it is based though on one principal difference: In Poland, they lie like a rug. A friend of mine quipped that being Polish is not a nationality but a profession. Personally, I pine for the good old days when there was no Poland. Lettng them back on he globe has been nothing but problems.

    Wednesday, July 04, 2007  
    Anonymous Linda said...

    Before the war, till 1939, western Belarus was with Poland and the rest was with Russia. After the war, everything went to the Soviet Union.

    Not to be argumentative, but assuming you are speaking of WWI (which is what I got from your mention of 1939 as a date after the war you reference, this is not accurate.

    My maternal grandparents each emigrated in 1913 from what was then the Russian Empire. They are listed as Russian (ethnicity and nationality) at the Ellis Island Database, as is another relative who arrived in 1920.

    My relatives who arrived between 1921 and 1928 (from places which are now in either modern-day Belarus or western Ukraine) are identified as Polish.

    Just to be clear, none of them was Polish (or Ukrainian, for that matter), regardless of when they arrived in the US.

    Happy 3rd of July! I wish I could have been at the festivities with my cousins.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled discussion...

    Thursday, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    No, I was speaking of the First World War. There was no Poland from the late 1700's until 1918. The area I am speaking of which is basically the Brest region to just before Baronovichi was given to Poland after they had been granted country status in 1918 as a part of the Treaty of Versailles. (See WIKI) For that 20 years, until the Germans overran Poland in four days in 1939, this chunk of western Belarus was Polish. Most of the Pensioners in my village went to Polish schools and their version of Belarusian has got a lot of Polish in it- to my consternation.

    Oh, and despite a Polish friend who demanded one day that I recognize the fact that I myself might be part Polish because Pinsk was included in that new deal, I say that we were pogrommed out well before those offensive two decades.

    The man who causes the problems in that song, who leads us to fight etc, must be the Kaiser. Though I suppose one could look back from a current perspective and say Lenin as well, but I doubt that seriously.

    Thursday, July 05, 2007  
    Anonymous Linda said...

    But you are contradicting what you wrote earlier. If there "was no Poland" prior to 1918, the western part of Belarus couldn't have been part of Poland prior to WWI.

    As for the rest of the country going to the Soviet Union after WWI, that didn't happen for quite a few years. When my mother's maternal grandparents came to the US for a visit in September of 1928, they were "Polish," although they came from the same village their daughter had left 15 years before, which had been in the Russian Empire. And my grandparents are listed as Polish on the 1930 US Census.

    BTW, the song Steve posted is the BNR Anthem. Vera Rich's translation (at the web page to which Yuri linked) gives a better flavor of the original. (To be expected, as she is a well-known Belarusian poet.)

    I'm not betting that the troublemaker referenced in the song was the Kaiser.

    BTW, if belief in the legitimacy of the Lukashenko regime is a requirement for posting here, please let me know and I will refrain from future comment.

    Thursday, July 05, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    I am not contradicting myself; they weren't a part of Poland before 1918 because there was no Poland prior to 1918. When they were a part of Poland was the time between 1918 and 1939. In 1939 the region was annexed by the Soviet Union when Poland was overrun by the Nazi's. I forget the name of the treaty. The Border to the Soviet Union at that time became Brest, which was where, in June of 1941 the USSR officially entered WWII when the Nazi's crossed the border there. Before 1918 Western Belarus was a part of Russia and hen they were a part of Russia and before then they were a part of Lithuania.

    The math is simple; 1913 the region was Russian, in 1928, 15 years later, the region was still Polish.

    If they were singing an independent song from the region which is now known as Belarus, understand that it was written at the time when the world was at war and there was a revolution in Russia. The Short lived Belarusian republic was a part of what would become to Soviet Union. During those seven years when they were cut loose from Russia, they were still a part of things under Lenin's jurisdiction. I don't think because of the timing and the fact that they were already free from Russian rule (and that they are speaking of fighting), that they are referring to tsar Nicolas II. I hold with the Kaiser on this point.

    And finally, though you are under no obligation to believe anything you don't want to, if you should actually be planning to come to Belarus, I would be careful about being overtly against the government or the president and this is not because oif fear of the KGB. Firstly, whether you believe it or not, he is popular here and secondly, taking a hard-line stance against will only get you asked why you had come. People who do live here and work under the system take their lives and what opportunities they have here very seriously. Also, the country is in a bit of a crisis right now. If you are not interested in that system because of what sorts of benefits it allows you, or if you wish to speak from a protected, moneyed position about how foolish people are for having made what choises they have made, you might find it difficult making friends.

    Monday, July 09, 2007  
    Anonymous Linda said...

    You wrote:

    Before the war, till 1939, western Belarus was with Poland and the rest was with Russia. After the war, everything went to the Soviet Union.

    In a prior post you stated that the war you referenced was WWI. The western portion of Belarus became Polish in 1921. This is not "before the war," it is after the war. "Everything went to the Soviet Union" in 1939, which is more than twenty years after WWI ended.

    So I stand by my take that you contradicted yourself.

    The anthem of an independent Belarus was written in 1919; again, after the war and not during it. The Civil War (or the Revolution, as some call it) was indeed going on. I suspect that anthem was written by the Belarusian equivalent of Whites.

    I did not have in mind the Tsar in the role of troublemaker. He was already dead and hardly in a position to be much of a troublemaker. You want to believe it was the Kaiser -- davaj.

    As for the rest of your comment to me, enschultich mir, as my father used to say with heavy irony.

    Monday, July 09, 2007  
    Blogger BEING HAD said...

    Look, I am sure that you are a very nice person. I am sure that you are good to children and animals and that you do your recycling. But I have no idea why I cannot talk to you. Are you saying I made a syntactic mistake 10 posts ago and that this negates any time I spend trying to send over information? Did you read what I just wrote in answer to your comment? If you missed it because all you wanted was to point out a semantic error I may or may not have made, like I should have used the word after instead of before, then I must apologize to you fervently and send you roses on your birthday every year until you die.

    Poland became Poland after the end of the First World War. This was in 1918 and the treaty was ratified in 1919. Look it up. Poland stopped having western Belarus after the Germans invaded Poland in n1939 because the lands went to the USSR as a part of their treaty. This answers the question of your grandparent's citizenship, period.

    However, I believe we should get one thing crystal clear: I live in Belarus. Let me repeat this: I LIVE IN BELARUS. I am not tourist. I am not pretending to live here while actually am exploiting resources because of some massive difference in wealth. I am not cheating anybody here or pressuring people to do things for me based on this same situation. I have done what I have had to do to survive just the same as anyone else here has done over the last five years except in my case, I got to have it be even harder because of Poland's slandering my name and depleting my resources with their decision to keep me for a trumped up, police corruption and extortion deal for a year.

    I live here and I work here. I have a family here and have people I am trying to look after here. I respect people here and I respect myself. If you wish to tell me that your perspective is more real and on-the-ball as mine is as concerns public opinion about the government and the president of Belarus, especially now with the current economic situation which was sent over by Russia, I would say that you have no understanding of what this country is about at all.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007  

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