Memo to Democracy Advocates: Drop Assange—David Frum
Kapil Komireddi writes from London:
I am writing regarding the premiere of a documentary called "Europe's Last Dictator". Narrated by Joanna Lumley, it premieres on 1 March at the Old Vic Tunnels in London. While I am thrilled that Lukashenko's crimes will receive wider attention, I am deeply troubled by the fact that the filmmakers have chosen Julian Assange of WikiLeaks to moderate the post-screening Q&A. WikiLeaks and Assange have played an extremely corrosive role in Belarus. Together, they have hindered the cause of the pro-democracy movement. (You can find the details in my report for Tablet.)
I appreciate that Belarus requires as much attention as it can get, but Assange has not only helped Lukashenko's regime in its war against pro-democracy activists—he is now employed by the state broadcaster of Russia, a state that is Lukashenko's principal enabler. It would be a huge disservice to the brave opposition of Belarus to let Assange whitewash his appalling record on Belarus by attaching himself, unquestioned, to this screening.
As a friend of Belarus—and an admirer of Belarusian pro-democracy activists—I urge you to demand that Assange be removed from this event. To give him a voice in this event would be to mock the men and women who endure the brutality of Lukashenko—a dictator whose grip over Belarus Assange helped tighten. So please make your voice heard by writing to the filmmakers ([email protected]) and to Free Belarus Now ([email protected]).