I was out walking the streets of my local municipality when I came across a woman, who looked to be in her 30s, who had stopped on the sidewalk to talk to a young woman, her mother, and their dog. The first woman was petting said dog. As I approached and passed them by, I heard the following conversation:
“Where are you guys from?”
“We are from Belarus.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is.”
Now, I don’t expect the average person to know every single country on the planet. Belarus, however, has a unique and recent history, as it was once part of the Soviet Union. The breakup of the Soviet Union was one of the most newsworthy events of the late 20th century.
Even more recently, as in the last six months, Belarus has been in the news for essentially being a puppet state of the Russia. Current President Alexander Lukashenko is President Putin’s errand boy, allowing Russian military to stage attacks into Ukraine from within Belarus. It is also important to note that Belarus does not have what the rest of the world deems fair and democratic elections.
So yeah, lady in your 30s, who likes dogs, will you ever know what Belarus is? I hope so. Remember, when these people vote, their vote matters just as much as yours. Maybe Belarus has the right idea, democratic elections aren’t working.