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24 March 2023

Belarus reminds OSCE Permanent Council about Khatyn tragedy

The Belarusian delegation added an item dedicated to the topic "80 years of the Khatyn tragedy” to the agenda of the OSCE Permanent Council meeting, and the Permanent Representative of Belarus to the OSCE Andrei Dapkiunas made a statement in connection with this tragic date on 23 March, BelTA learned from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the OSCE.

"Why does the Permanent Council need historical agenda items?” Andrei Dapkiunas asked rhetorically. “A nation who has forgotten their history is doomed to repeat it again. We remember the history not only as a tribute to bygone generations. We must remember it as much as a lesson and a warning to the living. We would like to recall a tragic event, the root causes of which, unfortunately, remain relevant today.”

Eighty years ago, on 22 March 1943, a small Belarusian village was destroyed. It wasn't just that houses were destroyed and residents expelled. Everything was done to make sure no trace was left of this place, of the people who lived there, worked, married, were born and died for many generations there. Everyone was herded into a large barn and set on fire. Those who tried to escape were finished off with machine guns. Neither women, nor old people, or small children were spared. No one had a chance to survive. This is the history of the Belarusian Khatyn.

"In Belarus there are dozens and hundreds of villages that shared the same terrible fate, that never returned back to life again. This is the history of the genocide of the Belarusian people," the Permanent Representative continued. “It is important to remember and understand: that was not the blind execution of a criminal order. No. Those who did this proceeded from their own convictions that they needed to act that way: as cruelly as possible, without showing the slightest mercy, without regret and doubt, based on a sense of their own superiority and exclusivity. That was what the criminal Nazi ideology told them to do. That was the essence of the atrocity."

Andrei Dapkiunas stated that, unfortunately, this inhumane crime did not remain confined to history books. "In recent decades, it has become more convenient to keep silent, to turn a blind eye to the increasingly frequent manifestations of misanthropic ideology, which at first seem to be harmless deviations from the liberal mainstream, an aberration of the dominant political course. Then, when the new adherents of Nazi ideology, having thrown off their masks and firmly on their feet, turn from yesterday's marginals from the political periphery into tone-setting leaders, it will be too late to treat the ‘"disease', to eradicate its symptoms. The catastrophe will become inevitable," Andrei Dapkiunas emphasized.

“Looking around us, we see that the European history is gradually entering a new vicious circle. Some 10 or 15 years ago, it seemed unthinkable. Many thought that in the 21st century the history would end and that there would come a time of eternal peace and prosperity. Although not for everyone, but for those who deserve it more, those who were born in the right place and at the right time," the Belarusian diplomat continued. “Blind faith in the exclusivity and total superiority of the flowering garden and the shining city on the hill, reliably fenced off from the surrounding wild jungle, the hope for the inviolability of the world order based on rules, not on law… Well, this is the starting point for another Khatyn tragedy. The interwar history of Europe speaks volumes about this."

“If you do not realize this now and do not come to your senses, then the history of our once cozy and comfortable continent can really end. But it will definitely end forever then. We urge you to remember that,” Andrei Dapkiunas said.