“Spark of Bravery” in Brussels

15 photo portraits of free-thinking Belarusians are on display in the Belgian capital

The photo exhibition “Spark of Bravery”, which was officially launched on November 8 at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union in Brussels, gave a unique opportunity to look into faces of Belarusians who continue their struggle for democracy and freedom in the country. The event was organised by the People in Need (Prague) and the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels).
During her trip to Belarus, photographer Alexander Polo made 15 portraits of free-thinking people, who have the courage to resist the pressure of the authorities: political activists, journalists, cultural actors, relatives of the repressed and disappeared persons.
“The political regime in Belarus is abusing human rights in many different ways. Sometimes, they resemble those used during the communist rule in Czhechoslovakia, but often they are very much different”, says the coordinator of the project Lida Vacková (PIN).
“To have a different from the official position, to be politically or even socially active means already being very brave in the current Belarus. People whose portraits are displayed here today not only think differently, they also lead others”, says Olga Stuzhinskaya, Director of the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels). 
Darya Korsak, representative of the Committee for Defence of the Repressed "Salidarnasc" (Minsk, Belarus) was a special guest during the event. She informed the audience about the human rights abuses in Belarus. However, despite of all difficulties, she is optimistic. “I look into the eyes of many Belarusian people and see that they have no fear. This gives me hope that the situation will eventually change to better”, believes Ms. Korsak.
The documentary film "Lesson of Belarusian" (2006) was also presented to the public. Miroslaw Dembinski, director of the film, shows the everyday life and struggle of young activists of the Belarusian democratic opposition. 
More than 70 people attended the event. After the film, the audience engaged into a lively discussion with the guests and organizers of the event.
“Spark of Bravery” will remain on display at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union in Brussels (15 Rue Caroly, 1050 Brussels (Ixelles). The exhibition has already been shown in Prague and a vernissage in Paris is planned.