Read Maria Babaryka’s address

My name is Masha Babaryka, I am Viktar Babaryka’s daughter and Eduard Babaryka’s sister.

Many of you ask about how my dad and Ed are doing, so I decided to contact you today to share the latest news.

But first, I would like to say a few words of support to the families and loved ones of the detainees. It was very painful to hear the news about the recent detentions of the members of the team, Maria Kalesnikava, Maksim Znak and Ilya Salei; they have become truly dear ones in recent months – not only to me, I think, but to many Belarusians. They are real heroes, and I think that in the new, free Belarus everyone will know their names. My heart and thoughts are with their families and loved ones, as well as with the families and loved ones of other political prisoners and detainees who, like me, look forward to meeting their loved ones.

It has been exactly three months since my dad and Ed were arrested. These months were filled with mixed emotions: shock at once that was quickly replaced by a surprisingly productive attitude and a great desire to do everything in my power to help. During these three months, our family was surrounded by incredible support from loved, old and new friends, and we are very grateful for it. Not for a minute over the past three months have I given up the feeling that this story will have a happy ending.

Every day I observe with incredible admiration the solidarity with which the Belarusians support each other. I really liked one of the Sunday posters with the inscription, which, in my opinion, very succinctly expresses this feeling: “I found out that I have a huge family!”

Indeed, this warmth and support is felt everywhere, and causes a great sense of pride of the Belarusian people. I am also overwhelmingly grateful to:

  • The Babaryka’s team and the Coordination Council who continue to work tirelessly no matter what
  • The Belarusian community of lawyers – I recently watched an amazing video recorded by the Belarusian lawyers in support of Maxim Znak and Ilya Salei (I would highly recommend watching it, if you haven’t yet)
  • Journalists and media representatives who tirelessly cover events despite the threat to their safety
  • Volunteers who help families of the detainees
  • Independent initiatives such as Honest People, Golos, Byhelp, BySol and a huge number of regional initiatives
  • And to everyone who does not give up and continues to work.

Now about dad and Ed. We are in touch with the lawyers, and they convey that, in general, they are doing well, with their health and attitude. They receive very warm letters, each of their letters is a huge event for me. Since their arrest, I have received 8 letters from my dad (the last one was last week, September 9), and 9 letters from Ed (the last one came also last week, September 8).

Now I will read an excerpt from dad’s last letter:

The most difficult thing in today’s situation for me is to believe in all the creativity and positive things that you all describe in your letters. After all, this is exactly what we lacked in life. We always say that we could meet happy, smiling people here in Belarus. So that you could not see gloomy people who are afraid to rejoice. Personal closure is our biggest problem. And if we managed to change this, then this is a real victory!

The main goal of any action is people. They alone determine the success of any project, their satisfaction and joy.

And form Ed’s letter:

For a week now the emotional swing has left me, and I am absolutely confident of a positive outcome and the beginning of a new exciting part of our adventure.

People and relationships are incredibly valuable. It’s hard for me to say who I see myself in 5 years, but I can say for sure who I want to be with. Our family, friends, guys from our team – this is an insane concentration of light, love, talent, courage, intelligence, looseness.

I know for sure that we can do a lot of good things. I know I want to be with you. People are the biggest find of recent months.

Thanks to those who continue to write letters. Both dad and Ed always say that each letter is a ray of warmth and light, and these are an essential resource in these conditions.

The support of political prisoners is very significant now; please share stories, spread information on social networks, it is very important that their names are constantly heard. In fact, even the simplest things can help a lot. Share the story of a political prisoner with your colleagues at lunch, draw a poster in their support and post about it. This gives strength to everyone: both those who are temporarily in detention and those who are free.

Of course, the first book dad asked for was, unsurprisingly, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Therefore, in conclusion, I wanted to cite a quote from it that I published at the very beginning in one of my posts on Facebook, but which for me has not lost its relevance.

But in the end, everything goes away. Even the most impenetrable darkness dissipates! A new day is coming! And when the Sun shines, it will shine even brighter!

Have a great weekend; take care of yourself and your loved ones.

And thanks to everyone who is around – I love you very much.

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