To believe or not to believe in the power of a symbol is something that everyone decides for themselves. Some time ago, 50 to 70 years ago, those who the secretly embroidered the Tricolour on partisan uniforms, raised it in church towers or factory chimneys, or raised it 32 years ago under the nose of the first Communist secretary, believed in the power of this symbol. Because they knew that with her – they were on the other side – on the side of goodness, on the side of Lithuania, the nation, and independence. On the side of freedom, MP Arvydas Anušauskas writes.
Their deeds were aligned according to the era – the tricolour plus Siberia, the tricolour plus death by an occupation bullet, the tricolour plus a mental hospital, the tricolour plus death on rails, the tricolour plus tanks driving over protesters …
Now the Tricolor is – a Right. A fool and a wise man, a writer and a commentator on social networks, even a criminal and the one who pursues the criminal, have the right to own and wield it … the Tricolour will not protect criminals from punishment, but all citizens of our State can use it.
If you think that symbols are only for the elected (those who agree with all the government decisions, whatever that government pours into the swamp of our lives with well-paid-for pipes), those who have not only the memory of but also the experience of living in a totalitarian regime, can and do remind us that people have the right to criticise the government now, wielding the tricolour (and even covering it) or without the tricolour, to disagree with the decisions made, not just with the symbols left by the occupiers.
Freedom of a partisan
Because these are inherent, human constitutional freedoms, citizens choose their own forms of peaceful protest and that is also their Right because this is Freedom (leave a Lithuanian without freedom – and you have a partisan).
Now is another time that may someday be called the time when other symbols were born. Finally, each generation can create symbols that will prevent them from forgetting history.
But what is somewhat worse is when we want to feel better and not look at the pictures of dead guerrillas or the heroes of January 13th, much like the pictures of victims of the tragic era are now covered up in the social networks. Because those pictures from the post-war market squares, the Holodomor or Siberia disturb, cause confusion and raise questions, which we try not to ask ourselves.
What do we do with our Freedom? What can be done to prevent this situation from becoming the freedom to forget who, how, and why it was so?
But at the same time, I think we do not appreciate the deeply hidden Lithuanian optimism. He is sometimes bursting with pride in his freedom, his achievements and those of others, his freedom in the world. Dakar or Venice, London or Milan, or with our troops in Baghdad and Kabul. Because here and now, we are looking to the future for ways to exercise our freedom. A future not only for yourself.