In memory of Vitaly Shishov

Main image: Photograph by Tadeuscz Giczan.

I dedicate my blog today to Vitaly Shishov, the brave Belarusan who was found hanged in a park close to his home yesterday. He led the BDU (Belarusan House in Ukraine), an organisation based in Kyiv, Ukraine, which helps Belarusans fleeing persecution.

I believe this was a warning to other Belarusan dissidents but the flame of purity, dedication and herosim will not be extinguished.

Thank you Vitaly for fighting your war against injustice in Belarus. So sorry that someone as brave as you should in the final moments of your life be the victim of the very people you were fighting against. Cowardly assassins. Even though it might be difficult to prove, this wasn’t a suicide.

This wasn’t coincidental. Nothing is coincidental in a tyrant’s world.

“Shishov had been found with abrasions on his nose and knee but it was too early to determine whether he had been attacked.”

“Shishov, 26, had felt under constant surveillance since he left Belarus last year after taking part in anti-government protests, his colleagues said. He had been warned about possible threats, including being kidnapped or killed.”

From a fellow Belarusan, “”We were also repeatedly warned by both local sources and our people in the Republic of Belarus about all kinds of provocations, including kidnapping and liquidation,” a BDU statement said. “Vitaly treated these warnings stoically and with humour.”

On Sunday at the 2021 Olympic Games in Japan, the 24-year-old Belarusan sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was ordered to abandon the games and return to Belarus. She refused, claiming her team was forcing her to return home after she criticized her coaches.

She has now sought refuge in Warsaw, Poland. Her husband left Belarus for the Ukraine and will soon be joining her in Poland.

It is indeed a bitter earth.

This bitter earth
Well, what a fruit it bears
What good is love
Mmh, that no one shares?
And if my life is like the dust
Ooh, that hides the glow of a rose
What good am I?
Heaven only knows

Oh, this bitter earth
Yes, can it be so cold?
Today you’re young
Too soon you’re old
But while a voice
Within me cries
I’m sure someone
May answer my call
And this bitter earth, ooh
May not, oh be so bitter after all.

The ballet by Christopher Wheedon, This Bitter Earth, a poetic pas de deux choreographed to a collage of music that fuses Dinah Washington’s vocals and composer Max Richter’s, On the Nature of Daylight.

Dinah Washington’s ‘This Bitter Earth’ was originally released in 1960 while ‘On the nature of daylight’, a minimalist piece by post-classical composer Max Richter first appeared in a movie from 2004.

We always need to search for beauty, and find it.

If you want to find some sanctuary in beauty today listen to the hour long version of Max Richter’s, On the Nature of Daylight.

If you have less time, a shorter version, with Max Richter and musicians. Beautiful…

May you rest in peace Vitaly Shishov…you are another shining star in the beautiful night sky…

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