Ales Bialiatski (Belarus)

From the start of the 1980s, Ales Bialiatski, a young Belarusian writer and graduate of the Gomel University Faculty of History and Philology, joined the national democratic movement. While the world was still divided by the Iron Curtain, he became a founding member of the Belarusian Popular Front. Helping to create a young writers’ association that he chaired for several years, Ales went on to join the Belarusian Writers’ Union. Later, he organised the first demonstrations against totalitarianism.

This commitment led to his imprisonment in 1988, marking the start of a long series of arrests and harassment.

In 1996, in the face of the increasing repression of the Lukachenko regime, Ales Bialiatski created the Human Rights Centre Viasna. In 2007, just three years after joining International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Ales Bialiatski was elected its Vice-President, the first representative of the former Soviet countries to be elected to the FIDH International Board.

Speech on receiving an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

„My somewhat desultory attitude about studying Kafka’s works comes from my vague feeling that I don't need to read and re-read everything Kafka has written because I know what I’ll find there anyway. I'm even secretly persuaded that if Kafka did not exist, and if I were a better writer than I am, I would have written all his works myself.“

Václav Havel:
Speech on receiving an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, April 26, 1990

4th Annual Conference, The Vaclav Havel European Dialogue, Prague, May 15, 2017Havel—Prigov and czech experimental poetry