We are all afraid of something. Some fears like the fear of snakes or poisonous spiders have not much influence on our lives — one can live in a northern country and never see such exotic animals. By the way, in this case the fear is absolutely natural, after all, snakes and poisonous spiders are dangerous to humans and such a reaction to a potential harm to the body is absolutely normal. Of course, there are far-fetched phobias which make other people smile. However, there are fears that can completely take us over and one of them is of particular interest.

In developed countries, in general, this fear is not felt at all, though there are certainly some exceptions. But in countries where all power is concentrated in the same hands and does not change for years or decades, this fear is present. The majority of these countries are suppressed by dictators and politicians. There is no freedom of speech but there is a punishment for dissent. These countries are generally underdeveloped, their population lives in poverty. The focus in these countries is on a strong army and security forces which are always ready to suppress any protest and simply tear to pieces any peaceful demonstration.

For some reason it is not usual to talk about this fear either in the developed world or in developing. The opposition politicians talk about many things: they point out to the incompetence of the current authorities, provide reports on corrupt activities of the government, investigate political killings, say nice words about the fact that “we will live like in the developed countries” and try to convince the public to believe them. Some, in desperation, even accuse the majority of people in their inertia, lack of initiative, limpness, weakness and well — in all evils of the majority of the population.

This approach is not entirely correct and only proves that the opposition politicians are politicians in the first place and only then ordinary citizens of their countries. Why is it so? Because of the fear, about which it is time to speak and with which the entire society of repressed countries is impregnated — the political fear. It is with him one should start a dialogue with the population, and not say that the current government is corrupt (what everybody knows) and blame the majority that they are inert.

Before explaining the concept of “political fear” one should think about fear in general. What is fear? What a human fears most and what he values most? It is likely for the majority of people that their most important possession is their live, physical health and the lives of their loved ones and their health. Virtually any fear rests on this basic fear which lies in us at the genetic level and which cannot be avoided — the fear of your own death, physical pain or of your relatives and friends.

The fear for the integrity of our body and its sanctity is not only impossible to avoid but also should not be avoided. This is what unites all people in the world and in repressed countries in particular. This is something to be proud of as the admittance of fear is the first step in overcoming it and it is very difficult to do so, due to the pressure of others which enjoy seeing such things as a sign of weakness, although this emotion only proves our humanity and the fact that we are not perfect.

In unfree countries the whole society is permeated with fear. This simple fear for your safety, live and health. While in European countries a policeman is a person who will rescue and save you, in other places of the world it is the one who people try to avoid, pedestrians walk by them in silence and the general public tries not to have any contacts with them, expecting from them anything: paperwork, an arrest for no reason, inaction during dangerous situations but not protection. While in free countries citizens are able to express their opinions, discuss, argue and still be friends, in unfree countries people keep their opinions to themselves, try to feel their companion’s political position — whether he can be talked to freely or not, and only after that, say what you really think about the current situation. In some countries the concept of freedom is so undeveloped that people are being killed for such basic things as their skin color, sexual orientation or opinion.

The society in an unfree country is disunited and torn apart by the current regime. People are busy with survival and see the surrounding individuals as enemies which can bring trouble and not allies with whom one can change the situation. This fear paralyzes the entire population: the fear that somebody will think something bad about you, that your friends and family will think bad about you, that you will get arrested, will get a criminal record, lose your job, go to jail, get beaten up, break something, do something to your family or get even killed.

This fear is well supported by the periodic prosecution of the opposition or journalists as well as their assassinations. When the TV becomes silent the Majority starts to talk. In unfree countries the Majority does not allow you to forget this fear, the fear to speak out, to do something, openly support something. In even more totalitarian countries the government simply destroys people by openly declaring them enemies of the people or with any other accusation that they will think of.

It is this fear which is unknown to the free countries and their citizens which were born free, were raised by their free parents, grandparents and the free society. It is this fear which is so familiar to the citizen of an unfree country is completely unfamiliar to a citizen of a free country, who certainly can occasionally think that the majority of our planet lives in poverty and corruption because of laziness and leisured lifestyle. This is not true. When a person is born in an unfree environment, lives in it and this environment is maintained with constant portions of fear, it is very difficult to change, to defeat this fear. Especially when you are actually not directly affected and you have your “stability” and “if only there was no war”, which are beloved expressions in some countries.

This fear is fundamental and it is difficult to overcome it but it is possible. As seen, there are two ways. To overcome the fear of pain and death one needs to be on the verge of death. Aron Ralston got in a such situation. Aron is an outdoorsman and in 2003 his arm got crushed against the canyon wall and he got stuck. He lasted about six days in but when he ran out of food and water there was only one way out — the amputation of the hand. It was the desperate situation and the fear of death that overcame the pain.

Self-sacrifice is the second way to overcome fear. An example can be Shavarsh Karapetyan. In 1976 he happened to be near the lake in which a trolleybus fell. Without thinking twice with zero visibility he broke the rear window with his legs and at a depth of ten meters he started to save people. He saved twenty passengers out of ninety-six. His whole body was cut with the fragments of the window. He fell ill with pneumonia and after recovery was unable to continue his sports career.

Two versions of events in unfree and depressed countries can be derived. Dictators and politicians do not last forever and are also mortal, like everyone else. So, sooner or later any regime will begin to weaken. The first scenario corresponds to the situation of Aron — delaying, waiting for outside help, using up all of your resources and savings until the moment when there will be no way out and one fear will overcome the other and then the freedom will be taken with blood, pain, confrontation, despair, brutality and violence.

The second option is more vague and obscure — act impulsively, enter the future not knowing what is waiting for you and what will it be and what will be the price of this act later in life. Of course, it is scary but this problem will not go away and no one will solve it except the citizens of the country. This problem will be transferred from adults to their children, then to their grandchildren and so on. If one has no power to overcome the fear, then the strength can be found in the environment: in ones wife, husband, children, grandchildren, parents, friends. One can live with all inconveniences by himself, but it is more difficult to let the relatives experience all the limitations due to your inactivity.

The most important thing in fear is that it is present in every unfree country and in its population. Any politician should be a human in the first place and certainly should not be afraid to admit his fear for his or hers life. This is what the dialogue with the population should start with and this is what is felt by everybody but no one talks or says anything about it. This should be a unifying factor of the population — acceptance of your fear, unification and collective action. No government, army or the riot police can do anything to resist the whole country — a large mass of people who want to live better.

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By pure coincidence this article was written the day before the death anniversary of Boris Nemtsov — a Russian opposition politician, who was killed in front of the Kremlin in Moscow on 27 February in 2015. Such impudent assassinations reach their recipients — citizens of unfree countries and support fear in them, which is vital for regime.

I would like to dedicate this article to this man. After reading the news of his death one year ago I thought that no one is safe as Boris was a wealthy and a well-known person who lived in the center of Moscow, was respected by many and knew the political system from the inside.

At first I did not want to publish any photos with his body, as a strong and healthy human being yesterday now lies dead in a black bag. I thought it was unworthy and indulges the killers. But I think it should be seen. Everyone should understand that nothing will not save you in an unfree country — neither fame nor money, nor network — absolutely nothing.

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Dead Boris Nemtsov with the Kremlin in the background

This article is an appeal to all citizens of unfree countries. We are all different but we have something in common. We all live in fear. It is out somewhere, buried very deeply, forgotten. We do not think about it, we avoid it. Everybody does it, even famous people. I think this is completely wrong. To overcome a problem it should be recognized. The first step in uniting the whole society should be a point of contact. In unfree countries this is fear.

We are all worried about ourselves, our relatives and friends, our life and health. And this is normal. Especially when we feel that we are alone and our voice is heard by no one.

One should not throw passionate speeches which politics love but rather start a calm dialogue with the people. I will begin. I am scared.

Are you?

EN-Stefan-Vanli-S70

Stefan Vanli

Editor

EN_Moscow-Russia

Moscow

Russia