Tatsiana Hulko

Tatsiana Hulko (Women's Affairs Technical Committee - WATC): Tatsiana graduated from Minsk State Linguistic University in Belarus, her home country, in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in translation and linguistics. Tatsiana also worked with the Belarusian youth magazine CD/Students’ Thought and for a number of Belarusian charities that helped children from the contaminated Chernobyl region. At the time of her fellowship, Tatsiana was studying for a master's degree at Georgetown University, with a concentration in conflict management.

the unexpected

20 Jul

I was expecting this Friday, a day of freedom for 250 Palestinian prisoners, to be somewhat a national holiday. However, I had no idea how to be in the right place at the right time, and what the right place and the right time would be anyways.

The usual Friday in Palestine is a day off in every sense of this word. Bigger cities and smaller villages change overnight – the rush and hastiness of the week disappear, and time is given to God and families. I remember one Friday morning I had to walk Al-Irsal street for twenty minutes before I saw a single taxi. Even Al-Manara, the vibe of Ramallah, becomes deserted. Christian families open their stores, but not until late afternoon.

However, today was different. I was supposed to meet my friend in Ramallah’s main square at noon. Little did I know that it would be THE place and THE time. I started to get suspicious when I saw crowds of people in the central streets. Crowds of people on a Friday! And then I saw the cars, flags, buses, and happy people. The buses with the released prisoners, among them women and youngsters, were heading towards Muqata’a for a meeting with the president.

My thoughts went back to the spring of 2006 when crowds of Belarusians flooded the streets close to the prison in my capital to await the release of over 500 political prisoners. The officials had arrested them for protesting agains fabricated elections. My sister was one of them. And I will never forget the happiness my family and I felt upon her release. Well, today 250 Palestinian families got to experience the same feelings.

Posted By Tatsiana Hulko

Posted Jul 20th, 2007


  • Pat

    July 21, 2007


    Tania, I would be careful about assuming moral equivalence between a dictatorship who took action against it’s own people and a democracy with legitimate security concerns. Your sister was innocent . . .

  • cindy

    July 23, 2007


    Tania I remember those tense days with your sister and how we watched and listened for word here in the states. I imagine the emotions this event brought out in all who are a part. we’re so proud of you and continue to be amazed by your fortitude. Nicole is smiling and saying you go girl!!!!

  • tatsiana

    July 24, 2007


    Dear Pat!
    We know my sister was innocent just like other 700 young Belarusians because we know her story personally. But to those who don’t know the reality in Belarus she is guilty as charged. Even my grandparents thought she was guilty because they support the current regime!
    We don’t know all 250 stories of the released Palestinians, but there were women and children among them…And I know that collective punishment and preventive arrests are widely practiced in the Palestinian Territories. You will hardly find a Palestinian male who hasn’t spent at least 6 months in the Israeli prison. It’s very difficult for me to believe they all are criminals.

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