Monday, September 14, 2020

Women’s Role in Belarusian Revolution Gives It World Historical Importance, Khzmalyan Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 13 – Some are inclined to dismiss the Belarusian revolution because it is led by women, a characteristic that such people suggest is a mark of its weakness, Tigran Khzmalyan says. But in fact, this is a source of its strength and its role as harbinger of fundamental changes there and elsewhere.

            Indeed, “this special feature of the Belarusian revolution possibly will give it world-historical significance,” the Armenian commentator argues (

            What is happening Belarus is “not simply a society rejecting a dictatorship.” Instead, “the most important part of society, women, are rejecting ‘the world of men’ and the entire patriarchal system of power which has taken shape over a thousand years after the grandiose civilizational transition of the Bronze Age,” when men replaced women as the holders of power. 

            The appearance of new and more powerful weapons at that time increased the importance of men, and what happened next – “the origin of the family, private property and the state” – is well known, Khzmalyan says. “The women’s world was replaced by the world of men who by fire and iron burned out of history and popular memory the traces of matriarchy.”

            But now “before our eyes,” he continues, “a slow and soft revenge is taking place” in a number of countries but nowhere more prominently than in Belarus. That was obvious from the beginning not only by what Lukashenka said, quite possibly “the last drop” for his country, but also by the way the Belarusian women responded.

            Lukashenka foolishly suggested that the only suitable place for women was in the kitchen and the bedroom, and the Belarusian women responded with words that could have come out of Aristophanes’ tragi-comedy Lysistrata that the aging dictator was not going to “get any” in either place.

            Consequently, when the protests began and women assumed the dominant position, it became clear from the outset that this “is not just a political protest.” Instead, “it is much more serious” as “a protest of women against the entire political, economic, and ideological construction of the world of men.”

            Not everyone involved understood that immediately, the Armenian observer says. But subsequent events are making what is going on ever more clear: “One aging and impotent dictator is sending another a deputation of his eunuch slaves to suppress the harem,” a response to be expected from those who have displayed their chests as if that gave them a right to power.

            “The victims of force on the basis of bitter experience have learned one secret lesson – the rapist sooner or later turns out to be impotent,” When that happens, his victim first mocks him, then judges him and them becomes the one who destroys his now powerless force,” Khzmalyan says.

            If one views what is happening in Minsk -- and also in Khabarovsk, he adds -- from this perspective, he concludes, one must conclude that these events are “tryouts on the eve of a Moscow premier.” But it won’t be Lysistrata or Swan Lake. Instead, it will be the finale of Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, where gender roles shift in dramatic ways.

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