“There will be no dialogue on the street: let that be a warning”, Natalia Konchanova, speaker of the upper house of parliament, told protesting health workers in Belarus last week.
She was addressing hospital managers, after more than 4000 health workers signed an open letter, calling for an end to violence against the protest movement; investigation of
torture allegations; an end to obstructions to health provision for imprisoned demonstrators; reinstatement of their colleagues sacked for protesting; and new, lawful presidential elections.
Doctors and health workers have been on the front lines of the protest movement in Belarus since the results of the 9 August presidential election were announced. Their first demonstration, in Minsk on 12 August – with posters saying “doctors against violence” – was triggered by their shock at the horrendous wounds inflicted by police on demonstrators.
That led to a chain reaction.. Hospital directors and rectors of medical schools were dismissed for failing to crack down on staff and student protests. Medical staff and doctors were dismissed or arrested for demonstrating; their colleagues were dismissed or arrested for demanding their release.
Konchanova’s statement, on 11 November, soon provoked a reply, on facebook, from Nikita Solovey, the chief consulting expert on infectious and parasitic diseases at the Minsk city council’s health committee and an associate professor of infectious diseases at the Belarusian State Medical University. Here we republish his post in full:
Madame Konchanova! I hope that this would be an appropriate way for slaves to address a master? Because slaves is how we, the medics, are now seen by bureaucrats and administrators, who believe that we have a duty to treat everyone at all times, but Read the rest of this entry »