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Belarusian migrants in Australia - an introduction


This small webpage is about Belarusian migrants in Australia and based on book ‘Who is going there?’ . Most of the book space is dedicated to after-WW2 migrants from Western Belarus (the land occupied by Poland in 1921-1939), who fled the spreading in Europe communist oppression to Australia in 1948-1959s from the occupied by Alien forces Germany.

When I begun to write this book in 1999 I had at that time in front of me more questions than answers. I asked myself: how some migrants managed to create a religious, cultural, political and social organisations in Australia? Who helped them? Who are the leaders? What was the women role in the Belarusian community life? What did they celebrate? What did they believe in? How many of Belarusian migrants have participated in life of their small communities? What are the numbers of active members?

Year after year were passing by and I was discovering more and more answers. Obviously, the small Adelaide Belarusian community (as the other communities in other states as well) lived in isolation from the influence of communist Fatherland for more than 40 years. Was it good for them or bad? Did they want to go back to Belarus? And if some did, what was stopping them?

Australian Belarlusians have managed to build churches and the cultural centres. They have printed magazines and newspapers. They have tried to educate there children in the tiny Belarusian schools.
Why did they do that?
What did they want to achieve? Would it be easier for them just to live and enjoy the good life in an Australian liberal democracy? Would it be better for tired from the destruction, humiliation and unbelievable physical pressure of the WW2 time human being souls to have a quiet life with a total disconnection from the politics, the memories of bloody battles, the passed away friends and the members of the family? Many of them have chosen the active life for reason. But not the all. What motivated the active, persistence members of Belarusian community in Australia to do such an enormous work, to dedicate so much time to their communities, rather than their families? What was so strong for those people, that they finally found each other in the noisy life of big cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide? What was so powerful, that they amalgamated, created communities, organised themselves into a functioning social and religious bodies and curried out this activity for decades?
What is the name of this strong invisible power?

It was (and still is) very important to me to get as many answers as possible on all those questions, because those answers can not only create for me the collective image of after WW2 Belarusian's in Australia, but will show me the destructive power of the communism. Yes, the destructive power of totalitarian communal life occupied the Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and many other Stalin’s colonies through the image of disconnected from this communist life Belarusian migrants in Australia.

I came to Australia from Belarus in 1992. And I can say that migrants, who came to Australia after WW2 are very-very different from my ex-countryman in 90th. Old Belarusian 'wave' has created, wrote, organized. They found in Australia the impossible to imagine thing in Belarus—to be allowed to have an active social, political and cultural position. Shortly saying—to be an individual.

Australian democracy played an active role in development of such an individuality of active Belarusians by supporting their communities, by not suppressing down their religion, by involving them in local political, cultural and social life.

And this is very important to notice. What was prohibited in Belarus for years was not just only allowed, but even supported in Australia.

Why did I write a book about several dozens of Belarusian in Australia?
They deserve it.
They were ambassadors of their Fatherland for 50 or more years. They didn’t ask for permission from Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (or BSSR - the name for a small Russian colony), instead they did the best: worked for their communities and spread the word about Belarus between Australians. Is it not the work of an ambassador?

Fifty years of their dedicated work is nearly over. Only five or six left. They still work. They participate in demonstration and write articles. But time is against them.

Who is taking their place? New migrants from Belarus? Sure. However, those migrants, who, with their university degrees, with their status and ability to have a nice and smooth talk do not have the spiritual strength of the afterWW2 wave of (called by many of them as non-creative and non-educated) Belarusian migrants. It is obvious to me now, that the new migrants do not have any willingness to create anything around them, except their own well being. They have not got any ability to build anything social or cultural in any shape or form, but to create only personal wealth.  Can they build the Church, (even the smallest tiny one), can they create the smallest possible Belarusian cultural centre? Absolutely not.

Should we look at the communism and it destructive power again? The 70 years of non-stop pressure and the brain washing? The military parades and year after year the propaganda of so called good life in one big USSR community, with some false moral codec's of the communism builder, with the painting in black color of fascism any independent thinking individual and all other pro-communist dogmas?

To me is obvious, that the wave of migrants from Belarus in 90th are empty. By saying that I mean only one thing: they came from USSR. They did not come from Belarus.
I hope that the later wave from Belarus will do something. I hope so...

Back to the Belarusian migrats in 90th. When they talk, they talk about Russia on Russian language. When they read, they read Russian books on Russian language. When they sing, they sing Russian songs on Russian language. I don’t think they are Belarusians at all. Prove me wrong.

So why should I ask the children of Russia to be the children of Belarus? With only one reason: not to forget, who they are. Russia succeeded in transforming them into Russians, Russia suppressed their Belarusian spirit. But I don’t believe it will be for a long time. A new generation of Belarusians will be free of such a Russian oppression and they would like to know, what happened before. What 'old migrants' from Belaruss did in their lifetime? Did they always sing the communist songs in unison with Big Russia? Not at all. And my book proves it.
It is only a short time (well... historically speaking), before Belarus will join the free world. The process is already started. Look around: Ukraine is not a Russian colony any more. Georgians kicked out Shevardnadze and moved out of this post soviet way.