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August Edition of Kaunas Full of Culture: For Rights, Against Fears

16 August, 2021, News, Topic of the month

“A very simple solution: you take first 10 troublemakers outside, you get them down on their knees, shoot them in their heads and leave them lying there for a week. Police baton treatment to everyone who refuses to eat, until there is not healthy rib left. Film all that and put it on YouTube. The problem would be solved in a day, the remaining ones would beg to go home, and others would not even think of crossing the border,” an anonymous internet commentator reacts to the immigrant crisis.

“Put some cotton wool coats and you’ll look like you’re from Auschwitz,” an expert on women’s style expresses his opinion on the Norwegian beach volleyball players’ decision to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms and the penalty they received for it. It is likely that on another occasion, if a girl, who wore a short skirt would become a victim of violence, this person would say, “It’s her fault, she provoked it.”

“Only for public holidays and not for anyone who wishes [to march]!” was perhaps the mildest negative reaction to the news about the Kaunas Pride march, which is planned for September 4.

Such ideas, especially taken out of context, do not look modern, they are an echo of the past. For example, we could not celebrate Christmas during the Soviet occupation (it is true that Lithuanian Tatars, who professed Islam, agreed to exchange with Catholics and work during Christmas Eve), but marching in parades was mandatory. Now, it is not. We are completely free to choose how to dress today, with whom to march, what to eat. And yet we are afraid and not necessarily of someone who is stronger. We are afraid of someone who is different. We force them to eat pork. We are afraid that a legitimate union of two people we don’t even know will somehow weaken ours. Why? Aren’t we sure of ourselves, don’t we feel safe? It is bad, really bad. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and safety, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Perhaps after reading about the rights of various minorities, the history of their struggle and opportunities in this month’s issue, you will feel safer. Or maybe you will spit on it all, because you are also entitled to it. At least try not to get angry and be afraid of someone who is different. There is a high chance that your life is better and freer.