Belarus TV

This morning I woke up in a strange apartment. There was no one around, just a TV set one meter away from my mattress on the floor. Half awake I turned it on. Not out of big interest, just wishing to get to some other reality.

Just five more minutes of jumping from one reality to other. Five more minutes of changing channels, falling asleep and waking up again. Five more minutes of the world, that can be changed with one simple click.

Here they are – Lithuanian children singing “What a beautiful world” in a national song contest. Piles and piles of video cassettes cramped in the bookshelves of this strange room – what am I doing here? Hm, some Mexican soap opera is again raving desperate housewives. Bird flu already contaminated at least three TV programs. No other news today. Belarusian TV is talking about some tractors.

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Peace on Earth. That’s U2. But Belarus on TV also seems to be quite peaceful. Life is beautiful. The new development plan is passed for nationwide review. In five years life will be even better. Support for young academics is one of greatest priorities of the state and new housing projects are being implemented.

The wallpaper on the wall behind this TV is in tatters. Old carton is used as a café table. My rent ended yesterday and my friend generously offered to stay in her friend’s apartment till she comes back. Twelve days more with a roof above my head.

I make myself some coffee, but leave on the TV. I can hardly believe that any news can last so long. Now they are reporting from the streets, where people use exactly the same words to describe new five year development plan as their comrades in the parliament. No one doubts the bright future of Belarus. Growth of industry, increase in salaries, new houses (huge block of flats in the background). Just an old man with a fur hat says something fearful – I hope there is no revolution. Cameras move back to the studio, there are some Ukrainian guests who share their strong belief that they have so much to learn from Belarus. To learn how to plan the progress.

Easiness of living your planned future. Freedom? It is just a tyranny of choices. With my backpack and few extra shopping bags I am free as a bird. A tired bird. Tired of moving in and out every two months. Tired of not being able to pay the rent. Where is the support for young academics in Lithuania? News on TV now features the President of United States. He is also in some shitty situation – Iraq looks the same even on Lithuanian channels.

TV is now screaming with the protests in the streets of United States. People demand Bush to step down. Huge demonstration wave banners “We don’t subscribe to war ideology”. Belarusian TV tries hard to convince me this is a symptom of rotten society. But I am already away – silently counting all the little jobs I have to do today. After all, life is here to be lived, not to be planned or achieved. Even if security is an appealing word, I enjoy unplanned change. I am even starting to like this strange home.

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