Why do prisons have iron bars
The basketball player Alena Leutschanka (37) is a sports star in her native Belarus. She played in the North American professional league WNBA and took part in the Olympic Games twice. But after she joined the street protests against ruler Alexander Lukashenko, nothing is as it was.
On September 30, 2020, Leutschanka was arrested at the Minsk airport and thrown in a Belarusian prison for 15 days to cook her soft. She is currently trying to get fit again in Greece. In an interview with “Zeit Online” she talks about her torments and hopes.
The pain in my back and both knees, which are in very bad shape. No wonder: "They took my mattress from me in prison, I had to sleep on iron bars." Still, she doesn't regret taking part in the protests. «The protests were the most incredible thing I have ever seen. I've competed in the Olympics and won so many titles in different countries, but that was different. The energy, the people. Can you imagine being in the midst of 40,000 people who are all striving for freedom and change? That is indescribable. "
"It will never be like this again"
Will the commitment of the people, the victims and the courage change anything in the political situation in Belarus? “Yes, it will never be the same again. In Belarus, under a dictatorship, athletes got up and said: No, it can't go on like this. Our country is becoming more and more like North Korea. It is very difficult to have the mental strength to express your opinion in Belarus. But someone always has to go ahead. " For a long time in Belarus people were afraid of changing something because they thought it was impossible. «The fear overwhelmed us. But at some point I realized that this fear was not real. It is only implanted in you so that you can be controlled. "
«We are writing history»
Now they go ahead the athletes. And accept all the consequences. Some are thrown into prison like Leutschanka, others are thrown out of the national teams. Still others had to return prize money and medals. It doesn't matter, it's all worth it for this fight.
"I think we're making history right now," says Leutschanka. «Not only in Belarus, but all over the world. We have come together as athletes and have become leaders. Our fellow human beings have always cheered and supported us. Now is the time to do the same for them. " (pam)
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