Opposing chains of tyranny with a chain of solidarity, hope and democracy

, by Christelle Savall

Opposing chains of tyranny with a chain of solidarity, hope and democracy
Credits: JEF-Europe

TNF supports JEF-Europe’s campaign #DemocracyUnderPressure that this year will take place from the 18th to the 25th of March.

25 March is full of symbols for JEF. The unofficial Freedom day in Belarus celebrated every year by the democratic opposition marks the last day of our Democracy under Pressure campaign as well as our anniversary. Like last year, we celebrate together, advocating for the core values of what JEF stands for: peace, rule of law and democracy.

Freedom day as a symbol Today 25 March we conclude our annual Democracy under Pressure campaign. This day is symbolic of our longstanding stance for Free Belarus, sadly still as relevant today as when we started in 2006. That year, JEF started the “Free Belarus” action to raise awareness about the Lukashenka regime, often considered “the last dictatorship in Europe”. At the time, we were one of the very few organisations raising the topic in the media and with the citizens. Since then, year after year, JEF has been raising awareness of the state of democracy and standing up and speaking up for those who are silenced. Freedom day, celebrated by the Belarusian opposition every 25 March, commemorates the independence of Belarus and is a day of hope for all those standing with Free Belarus. All over Europe, we hope today for Free Belarus, for restored peace in an independent Ukraine on track to EU accession and to finally see our Union stand constantly at the forefront of the defence of human rights, democracy and peace, both internally and externally, as it ought to be.

Building a European chain of democracy for our 18th edition! In recent years however, the EU has not been the beacon of values that we want it to be. On the continent as a whole, we have seen dictatorships strengthen their grip over citizens, and numerous stains appear even on the fabrics of ‘stable’ democracies. As we believe an attack on the Rule of Law in one country is an attack on our own, the action was rebranded in 2014 as Democracy under Pressure. Since last year, it is no longer only under pressure but under attack, as symbolised by the subtitle of our campaign.

This year, we kicked off our campaign together during our Federal Committee in Malta with an event centred around the personal stories of young activists from Russia, Greece, Hungary and Moldova. In particular, we had the privilege to host VESNA, our partner organisation, listen directly to one of their democracy activists and get their help extending our letter writing action to Russian political prisoners.

During the action week, JEFers built a European chain of democracy across the continent both literally and figuratively. We gagged statues and organised street actions all over Europe in Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, United Kingdom and beyond. We raised awareness on democracy and the situation in some countries through online and in person events, a twitter chat, street interviews, videos and social media campaigns in Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia and many others. We worked with our old and new partners while our sections collaborated with each other and other associations, youth political parties and universities at the local, regional and national levels. We published articles and press releases and sent handwritten letters to Belarusian and Russian political prisoners.

To a new year of standing up for democracy! This year’s action week of Democracy under Pressure is coming to an end but our commitment to free and independent Ukraine and Belarus, to democracy, peace and rule of law is not.

Our European chain of democracy is here to stay. As citizens and as civil society, we will continue to be mobilised until democracy prevails. Next year will be a key democratic moment in the EU, so it is up to all of us to channel it to support democracy inside and outside the Union. Let’s take together the next steps towards an enlarged democratic federation to effectively guarantee peace, democracy, and fundamental rights.

Beyond the current action week and the upcoming elections, for as long as needed, JEF will speak up for those who are silenced. We JEFers will always choose the rule of law, day after day we will choose democracy, and we will choose Europe!

Your comments

Warning, your message will only be displayed after it has been checked and approved.

Who are you?

To show your avatar with your message, register it first on gravatar.com (free et painless) and don’t forget to indicate your Email addresse here.

Enter your comment here

This form accepts SPIP shortcuts {{bold}} {italic} -*list [text->url] <quote> <code> and HTML code <q> <del> <ins>. To create paragraphs, just leave empty lines.

Follow the comments: RSS 2.0 | Atom