For as long as I can remember, every time somebody tried to talk-down Lithuania, I always reminded of Her age. Lithuania is still a very young country. In a matter of fact, younger than I am and I’m not that old. 1 year older than my beloved Lithuania, which celebrated its 30th birthday on 11th March.
As we all know — youngsters are notorious for their irrational actions and once again I feel like this is the case. Therefore, like an older brother, I feel that I have to give my apologies for Her actions.
Actions of Lithuanian Government and Terrible PR
On 15th March, with a few exceptions, Lithuania banned foreigners from entering the country;
On 16th March, following the example of some other countries, most notably Poland, reintroduced its borders with its neighbors from the European Union: Latvia and Poland.
On 4th April, again with some exceptions, Lithuania completely closed down its border even to its citizens. At least, that is how it sounds in the press. What actually happened is that Lithuania stopped organizing trips for their citizens to return from abroad. It is still possible to do so with a regular ferry from Kiel, Germany to Klaipėda, Lithuania.
It might sound indifferent to you, as it has little to no effects right now, but after everything is set and done — we’ll start looking at each other. Our actions during the crisis will paint the picture black and white. Many governments of different countries, including Lithuania, are thinking very short term. It will backfire.
The Heart of Lithuania
Of course, many kids in the yard are doing similar things, but it is not my responsibility to take responsibility for them. Plus — it is a lame excuse for anybody anyway.
I know Lithuania for the whole of her life, and I know her at heart. Sometimes she acts hastily just because she feels an urge to do something. Despite the rash actions, I can assure you, in Her heart Lithuania stands with solidarity to fellow European kids, adults and the elderly, who are at the greatest risk during these difficult times. Lithuania ranks among the top 3 countries supporting the membership in EU.
An Old State, a Young Country
Historically, Lithuania calls for action during the moments of crisis. No exception was on 11th March 1990, when Lithuania was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union. Perhaps, after celebrating Her 30-year anniversary, just before the crisis outbreak in Europe, the head of Lithuania felt pressure to act. Unfortunately, this time it was done so poorly, that I’m 100% sure it won’t fade away without any consequences.
The Historic Background
This is why I feel like I have some explaining to do. You see, just like any other post-Soviet country, Lithuania carries scars of fatal wounds. The damage done to the society during the USSR occupation was so severe that it is even felt after 30 years among many of freedom children, born after 11th March 1990.
It is no surprise that, when things go south (it would be more appropriate to say “go east” in Lithuania), everybody starts to alienate themselves from everyone else. It is the consequence of the circumstances people had to live through under Soviet rule in the last century. Lithuania is no exception; We can see similar patterns in the actions taken by other countries, which were also considered to be a part of the Second World during the Cold War times.
Lithuania fell to the Communist block after the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic States in 1940. Under the oppressive regime, nobody knew who was a friend or foe.
The Current Events
The times are different now. It is clear who is who and closing down its borders to friends brings Lithuania closer to foes. Too bad She doesn’t understand what kind of message was sent by Her actions to the friends of Lithuania…and Her foes.
In time, Lithuania will come to Her senses. Currently, She thinks that the most important thing is to protect its citizens. Of course it is important, but it is not the only thing Lithuania has to worry about.
I have to remind that way more brothers and sisters had to sacrifice their life for the freedom of the country than this virus ever could potentially take from us. Citizens are important but our freedom is also important. It is not a black and white question like our politicians are trying to say. BOTH ARE IMPORTANT. Just because we have this virus problem on our hands, doesn’t mean all the other problems are going to fade away. It won’t happen.
Solidarity with Our Friends
Also, it is naïve to think that even it is hard for us to focus on something else than the virus, it will be so for our foes. There are plenty of those, who currently think how to take advantage of the weakened democracies in Europe. This might be so because they don’t care about their citizens as much as we do. It is exactly why everybody in Europe needs to step-up. WE CARE ABOUT OUR CITIZENS. Deaths are not just statistics but the tears of childrens and parents. We emphasize with each other and we must stand together for these values.
So, please, accept my apology for Lithuania. I know she will regret her actions in the future but at the moment she doesn’t know any better.
At the same time, Lithuania is not the only one who has to step up its game. We all have to take the responsibility for the actions of our governments during the crisis and pressure our politicians accordingly; Or else we will see all the hell breakthrough, just like it happened in 20th century.
Lietuvis (eng Lithuanian)