A disturbing news from the Lithuanian-Belarusian border: on 12 November 2012, Belarusian customs confiscated 41 catalogues of the prestigeous photo contest Belarus Press Photo 2011 for an unknown reason. Our festival by.BY presented the photos from this contest at the exhibition in Dům Pánů z Kunštátu in Brno in October this year. The catalogues were carried by the contest organizer Julia Darashkevich and the photographer Alyaksandr Vasyukovich, the last year grand-prix holder. They were not informed about the reason for the confiscation on the spot. The explanation arrived on 26 November 2012 with an official letter stating that based on an expert opinion, the catalogues are regarded as illegal and as such must be destroyed. Julia Darashkevich manage to contact the customs office on the same day. She requested the name of the author of the expert opinion and she was told that the opinion was issued at the Ideological Department in Minsk and that the catalogues will be burnt.
We, as the organizer of the by.BY festival, were shocked by this news and we consider it necessary to spread it further.
As the festival was supported by the auspices of the First Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, the Chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee Anna Šabatová, Senator Jaromír Štětina and sir Tom Stoppard, well will contact all of them in the following days with a request for an official statement and a possible international interpellation.
The press release (in Czech only) is here.
We still remember this kind of circus, and you can remember what it’s like with us at our perfromance Havel Writes to Dr. Husák this Thursday.