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  • Yasmin Aliya Khan

Belarus



Hello, and welcome to the Global Thread podcast! I’m your host, Yasmin Aliya Khan, and today we’re talking about Belarus.


First of all, I want to address something that I think I forgot to mention in the previous episode. These will be coming out every two weeks from now on rather than every week (with the exception of this episode, which was supposed to come out last week. Sorry! I had to update some tech requirements). This has everything to do with the fact that it is just me producing these episodes, and that’s on top of me attempting to run the rest of my life. This isn’t my day job, at least not yet. And none of that is a flex! I just want to emphasize the fact that it’s a lot of work to make a single episode of this podcast, and the topics are too important and complex to rush through them for the sake of producing non-stop content. I really don’t make it easy on myself.


All of that said, I definitely grappled with the decision because the news comes and goes so quickly. Two weeks is a long, long time in the world of geopolitics, so I was afraid that my content would no longer be timely or relevant by the time I was able to cover certain stories. But then I thought, even though stories may fade from the American news cycle and social feeds, the issues are still present and the people affected by them are still living through them. It is still relevant a week, two, or three later. And it’s still important.


So with that, I thought seriously about swapping out this week’s episode on Belarus for one on Afghanistan, but I decided against it precisely for the fact that Belarus was a big story a few weeks ago, and just because it’s more quiet now, that doesn’t mean that it’s not still happening and developing. A few weeks from now, the Afghanistan “story,” if you want to call it that, will likely be in a similar place. These things don’t go away, as I hope listeners of this podcast realize by now. In many ways, the ‘quiet’ is a good place for a podcast like this to operate within… after all of the edgy political memes and snarky TikToks have racked up their likes and shares; after the anger, fear, and distress have generally subsided; after the out-of-context soundbites have gone back into context… that’s when it’s quiet enough to process what we’re all thinking and feeling. We need that quiet, just like we need the noise.


Alright - without further ado - Belarus has been in the news a lot lately for a few reasons - they’ve got an authoritarian dictator who keeps claiming to win landslide elections; the same dictator is stripping his people of rights and enacting human rights violations against them; he’s super cozy with Russia (and China… and Syria…); and he may or may not be deliberately inflicting a refugee crisis on the rest of Europe.


That feels like a good starting point, so let’s get into it.


[BACKGROUND INFO]


The Republic of Belarus is a country in Eastern Europe. It’s landlocked and bordered by Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and Ukraine. Seeing as to how it’s landlocked, there isn’t a major body of water that it relies on, but it does have a few key rivers that run through it, two of which give Belarus access to the Baltic and Black Seas, and it’s got thousands of lakes.


The country itself has a ton of forests and marshlands, which seems like a detail you can do without, but it’s actually relevant. The geographic location of Belarus is pretty critical in that it sits smack in between a few large global players, specifically Russia and Germany. It’s a crossover country, and I don’t mean that dismissively. I mean they get a lot of traffic that’s just “passing through,” and as a result of that, they suffer quite a bit. I’ll explain that in more detail later, but something else to keep in mind is that the marshes and forests were notable hurdles for invading or passing armies to navigate and strategize around. Hitler even considered draining the marshes at one point, but ultimately (thankfully), he decided against it.


Belarus’ culture and its people have a good amount of both Slavic and Baltic influences, which again, is very much attributed to the geographic location of the country. It’s been met with Baltic people from the west and Slavic people from the east. Its population has seen some big shake-ups over the years, largely due to wars. For example, after World War II, the total population of the region declined dramatically, and the once significant Jewish population in Belarus has been nearly decimated by genocide and subsequent immigration.


Natural resources include timber, peat, and potash, which is used to make fertilizer. They have few fossil fuel and mineral deposits, so its land isn’t really coveted for its richness. They rely pretty heavily on Russia and other neighbors to help them out via imports.


And speaking of imports, the Belarusian economy isn’t terrible, but it’s not great, either. For an authoritarian country with general instability and few natural resources, the poverty rate is pretty low thanks to its welfare state, and unemployment is super low thanks to mandatory employment requirements. That said, there’s a good chance that unemployment is actually higher than its official records indicate because unemployment is punished in Belarus. Many unemployed individuals are probably not registering themselves as such, or else they’ll be fined or forced to work. In its post-Soviet era, Belarus has resisted the privatization of industries, and today, its largest trading partner is Russia. In fact, the Russian language was recently elevated to one of the now two official languages in Belarus.


Oh, and the country claims to have been generally unaffected by the pandemic, which is especially interesting coming from a country whose leader actively denied the pandemic and told his constituents to [quote-unquote] “drink vodka” to stay healthy. While there was no full-scale lockdown in Belarus, they boast nearly 11 hospital beds per 1000 citizens. For comparison, the US only has 2.9 beds per 1000 people and the UK and Canada have 2.5, according to the World Bank. Belarus is definitely on the high-end of that scale, so the whole “flatten the curve” thing that most of the rest of the world was worried about may not have been as big of an issue for them. Also, when their government didn’t respond to the pandemic, the people took action on their own, collecting donations of money and supplies and organizing distribution across the country, an effort that the government eventually assisted with.


All of that said, as is expected with an authoritarian regime, all of the country’s media is state-run, so take everything you hear out of there with a grain of salt (as you should with any and all news reports, really). And I’m sure this is unrelated to the low COVID death rate, but overall deaths in the country have jumped by a few thousand when comparing data from 2019 to 2020, according to the UN, so it’s possible that many COVID-related deaths are being categorized as something else.


One last thing before we get into the history - Belarus is often referred to as “White Rus,” but some people believe this to be a misnomer based on historical data and the historical use of the name. Over the centuries, maps of Eastern Europe have changed dramatically due to ever-expanding and collapsing empires, invasions, wars, treaties, etc., and the area labeled as “White Rus” has also shifted over time. There is also disagreement over where the “White” comes from, with some saying it’s a geographical marker meaning the region is west of Russia; some crediting the very fair-skinned denizens of the region; some claiming it’s an ethnic marker referring to white Slavic clothing; and some saying the white is representative of certain tribes failing to conquer the region, thereby allowing it to maintain its purity. Either way, modern-day Belarus is still commonly referred to as “White Rus,” whatever the reason may be and regardless of where White Rus may have originally been on the map.


And a White Russian is a cocktail, popularized by none other than The Dude.


[HISTORY]


The history of Belarus is interesting and complicated, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you. As I always like to remind my listeners, there’s no way I can cover a nation’s entire history within a segment of a single podcast episode, so you’re encouraged to read up on and dive deeper into anything you hear me talk about.


[PRE-MODERN ERA]


The region that would come to be Belarus was originally settled by nomadic tribes along the major rivers running through it. There were quite a few Baltic settlers in the area, but Slavic people from the east soon started to pour in, eventually becoming the dominant ethnic group. In the 10th century, they set up the Duchy of Polotsk, and early records indicate that they were ruled by a Norse, or Varangian, prince named Rogvolod. Eventually, the duchy was annexed by Vlad the Great, ruler of Kievan Rus.


That’s a fun story, by the way. First thing you need to understand, though, is that Novgorod was a settlement north of Polotsk, and Kiev was a settlement south of Polotsk.


Novgorod was settled by a Viking prince named Rurik. That’s an important name because the people of that region, the Rus region, came to be referred to as Ruriks, or descendants of the Rurik Dynasty. The Ruriks actually ruled for a few centuries, eventually setting up the Russian Tsardom and being succeeded by none other than the Romanovs.


And yes, the word “Rus” refers to the Norse people, though I have to tell you that there is some debate around that. The debate seems to be more of a nationalistic pro-Slav retelling of history, but you can look more into that on your own, if you are so inclined.


So - Novgorod in the north, Kiev in the south. Kiev was also settled by the Ruriks. One day, the Rurik ruler of Kiev died without really uniting his conquered territories. He had three sons, each ruling over different parts of the Rurik territory, but he also never named a successor. One son took some initiative, Yaropolk, and killed his brother Oleg to take his territories. Upon hearing this, the illegitimate brother up north in Novgorod, Vladimir, fled back to Scandinavia to avoid his fratricidal half-brother and build up some support. A year or so later, Vlad returned to Eastern Europe, ready for conquest.


Back in Polotsk, the first prince was a non-Rurik Viking guy named Rogvolod. Rogvolod’s daughter, Rogneda, was betrothed to Yaropolk, the fratricidal brother. So while on his mission to deal with his brother, Vladimir asked for Rogneda’s hand in marriage. When she declined… well, it didn’t go well for her. By the time Vlad made it to Polotsk, he took Rogneda against her will, slayed her parents and her brothers, and conquered Polotsk.


That was a long and weird story that doesn’t really pertain to today’s story, but I thought it was a good example of why I referred to Belarus as a “crossover country” earlier, and it explains where “Rus” even came from.


Now we’ve got Kievan Rus, so named after its administrative center, Kiev, which is often credited as having birthed the nations of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Vlad the Great established Christianity within the region, converting from Paganism, and when he died, his son, Yaroslav the Wise, took over.


We’ll fast forward a bit to the 13th century when the Golden Horde - the Mongols - invaded from the east. Kievan Rus had already been suffering from in-fighting, various invaders, the decline of the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople, and shifting trade routes that largely overlooked Kievan Rus. It’s like the early settlements in the American Midwest - they were never given much of a chance to thrive and modernize because once the railroads were built, those small towns and by extension, much of the Midwest itself, became somewhere to pass through, not a final destination. Anyway, at that point, Kievan Rus was divided up and modern-day Belarus was absorbed into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.


[POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH]


By the 1500s, Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania merged into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, making Belarus essentially Polish now. The Polish influence wasn’t only heavily felt throughout the Commonwealth - it was enforced. What’s the quickest way to destroy a culture? You destroy its language, and that’s what they did. The Polish language became the official language in Belarus, and the people were forced to convert from Eastern Orthodox to Catholic.


[RUSSIAN EMPIRE]


After two-ish centuries of this, by 1795, the land of Belarus was fully absorbed into what was now the Russian Empire. The Russians had just been victorious in the Russo-Turkish Wars (which I may or may not have mentioned in my Season 1 episode on Armenia and Azerbaijan…), so they were gaining territory and influence in the region. The nearby Habsburgs in Austria didn’t like that. The Russians were getting too close to comfort, so they considered going to war with Russia. To prevent that from happening, Frederick the Great - the King of Prussia - decided to restore some balance between these three major powers. His solution? Divide up the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth amongst them.


So let’s go back to our geography for a minute. We’ve now got the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that stretches over most of modern-day Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania. The Kingdom of Prussia, which you can think of as Germany for the sake of simplicity, is west and north of Poland. Russia is east and north of Belarus, and then we’ve got the Austrian Habsburgs coming in from the south. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - Belarus included - was completely surrounded by bigger empires with more powerful armies and better resources, all of whom were closing in on them with the sole purpose of taking their land.


There wasn’t much the Commonwealth could do. In the words of King Theoden at Helm’s Deep, “What can Men do against such reckless hate?” Although, it wasn’t really hate that was driving them. It was more just imperial ambition. This is another example of Belarus getting bounced around in the geopolitical arena just for the sin of… location.


All of that to say that by the 1800s, Belarus was no longer Belarusian, nor was it Polish. Now, it was proper Russian. And what’s the quickest way to destroy a culture? Again, you destroy its language, and that’s what they did.


Now, instead of Polish being spoken everywhere, Russian was the language du jour. Belarusians, who had been made to convert to Catholicism by the Poles, were now made to convert back to Orthodox Christianity. The Belarusian language, which had been kept alive by rural Belarusians, was banned from being taught in schools and from use in the government.


As Belarus was made to be Polish and then made to be Russian, the Belarusian people felt they had their own distinct culture that they, understandably, wanted to preserve. They didn’t want their religion and language dictated by their neighbors. They wanted independence. They wanted their own country.


By the end of World War I, they finally got their chance! Parts of Belarus, at this point, were controlled by Germany, and in 1918, Germany made Russia - now controlled by the Bolsheviks - give up many of their land claims and stop any further advances into Western Europe. The Bolsheviks, who were in the middle of capturing and killing the Russian Tsar and his entire family and setting up a new Communist Soviet government, just wanted to be out of the war. Under the leadership of Lenin, the treaty was signed, but they lost a lot of territory.


So Belarusians seized the opportunity to declare their independence while under German occupation, but their very small victory was short-lived.


[SOVIET UNION]


About a year after their independence, the Bolsheviks had finally managed to get organized and they established the brand new USSR in 1922. Belarus was quickly absorbed into it, ultimately, as the Byelorussia Soviet Socialist Republic, but only after serving as yet another war front for its neighbors, each jockeying for ultimate control of the land.


As a Communist nation, the new BSSR fell victim to its neighbor. The Bolsheviks were no longer focused on expanding their empire, at least not for the time being. Instead, they sought to improve economic conditions within the lands they already held. The BSSR was treated particularly harshly. The Communists had unofficially declared a class war against the kulaks, as they were called, who were basically less-poor peasants.


In the times of the Russian Empire, there was a push to optimize agricultural output. To do this, the government empowered peasants by giving them significant plots of land to cultivate. By the time the Soviets took over, many kulaks were employing and serving as landlords to other peasants. In the eyes of the Soviets, this was a bit too capitalistic and autonomous. Lenin didn’t like them because he saw them as the enemy of the poor, claiming they were thriving in times when those beneath them in economic standing were suffering and starving. Stalin wanted to get rid of them because he wanted to seize their land and place it under Soviet control.


The term kulak had a loose and ever-changing definition, though. Eventually, it came to represent those “wealthy” peasants who resisted Soviet control of their lands and properties. They were demonized and targeted by the secret police, with Stalin’s ultimate goal being to “liquidate” the kulaks as a class. In Belarus, this push was particularly felt, with kulaks either being deported, sent to the Gulags, or otherwise done away with. The accompanying famine at this time, along with shoddy bookkeeping and conflicting reports, has made it difficult to calculate how many Belarusian kulaks either died or were deported over the course of about a decade, but by all accounts, the sweep made a dramatic impact on the country’s native population.


Just a few years later, the population would take yet another, much more dramatic hit. During World War II, the region was occupied by Nazi German forces as they made their way over to Russia. Once again, Belarus served as a battleground between its more powerful neighbors. This time, hundreds of Belarusian villages were decimated, including their residents. Overall, Belarus is said to have suffered a greater loss than any other nation during the war. It lost somewhere around 30% of its total population, including nearly all of its Jewish population. Thousands of Belarusians were sentenced to labor camps, as well.


Throughout the war, guerrilla fighters found notable success against the Nazi forces, hiding out in the forests and surviving on potatoes. While they were primarily fighting against the Nazis, some of the more nationalistic guerrillas saw the war as another opportunity for Belarus to obtain its independence from Stalin. Some of them worked for or with the Nazis, either because they weren’t given much of a choice but to help them or because they thought helping the Nazis could ultimately help them defeat Stalin. They came to be referred to as “collaborators,” but again, that was a loose and ever-evolving term. Eventually, anyone perceived to have nationalistic leanings - which included simply educating the youth, or speaking and teaching Belarusian - were considered to be a collaborator. Also, many people had no choice but to work for Nazi institutions, even if they were just, say, working at a bar frequented by Nazis. They, too, were considered collaborators.


Throughout the war, many of these guerrillas and collaborators were captured and sent to labor camps in Germany for one reason or another, but once they were released from the camps following the end of the war, they were not welcomed home. Some of them were sentenced to exile and slavery, being transported directly from Germany to Siberia. The ones who made it back to Belarus were seen as enemies of the regime, a sentiment that still holds today in Lukashenko’s Belarus.


[LUKASHENKO]


So jumping ahead to the 1990s, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus is now an independent country holding free and fair democratic elections… kind of.


Alexander Lukashenko, who is very often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” was democratically elected as Belarus’ first president.


And then he never left. He went on to win five more subsequent elections (landslides, of course), including his most recent victory in 2020.


As I’m sure you can imagine, Belarus does not have free or fair elections according to international election monitors. The media is state-run and his political opponents tend to just… go away. Sound familiar?


Yes, Lukashenko is pretty tight with Putin. Early into his first term as president, he proposed a controversial referendum. The referendum, once passed, gave the Russian language the same status as the Belarusian language in Belarus, it strengthened economic ties with Russia, it introduced new Belarusian symbols, and it gave the president the power to dissolve parliament “in the case of systematical or gross violations of the Constitution.”


Most people were against the referendum, but Lukashenko dealt with his opposition. The end result was the referendum passing in - you guessed it - a landslide.


So, to put it into perspective quickly, Belarus is finally its own country after centuries of being jostled around between superpowers; after its people have faced extermination threats; after its language survived eradication efforts; after its nationalistic leaders were killed or deported to slave labor camps; after surviving Polonization and Russification; after being forced to convert from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism and then back to Orthodox Christianity; after serving as a war zone for wars that were not even theirs… they survived all of that only to be sidled with Alexander Lukashenko, a Soviet relic and Putin-wannabe.


The referendum harkened back to the days of Russification when Belarusians were encouraged to be more Russian.


Over the course of his five, and now, his sixth presidency, Lukashenko has continued to consolidate his power, forcing many western nations to not recognize his presidency or his parliament as legitimate.


[AUTHORITARIAN RULE AND PROTESTS]


Today, Belarus is heavily financially dependent on Russia, specifically its crude oil stores. In the past, Belarus suffered an economic crisis that led to a severe devaluation of the Belarusian currency. Luckily, the nation was bailed out by Russia.


Between Lukashenko’s efforts to rig elections, kidnap or dismiss his political opponents, consolidate his own power, fill his cabinet with loyalists, and maintain a fairly cozy relationship with Russia, the Belarusian people are not happy. Following the 2020 election, 100,000 Belarusians took to the streets in the biggest protest against Lukashenko yet. In response, according to Human Rights Watch, Lukashenko’s government detained thousands of “peaceful” protesters and tortured hundreds of them in an effort to quell the protests. Human rights workers, activists, journalists, and political opponents of Lukashenko were also jailed.


[RYANAIR FLIGHT]


Then, in May of 2021, a RyanAir flight from Greece to Lithuania was forcibly removed from the skies over Belarus under the guise of a bomb threat. Once the plane was on the ground, Belarusian authorities boarded the plane, but instead of looking for a bomb, they arrested an anti-Lukashenko journalist and his girlfriend. The bomb threat was a fabrication.


I don’t think I need to go into too much detail as to why this event was and still is a huge, huge problem.


[INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE]


As a result of all of the aforementioned, the international community has rallied against Belarus and its officials, citing corruption and authoritarianism as justification for the imposed economic sanctions. Many airlines have also re-routed their flights to avoid flying to, from, or over Belarus in direct response to the RyanAir incident.


Meanwhile, relations between Putin and Lukashenko have been a bit strained as of late, but Putin has still said he backs Lukashenko. In fact, Russia is tightening its grip on Belarus. After years of insisting that Belarus transport oil through Russia rather than Lithuania, Belarus has finally agreed to comply with Putin’s request. This, after Belarus welcomed John Bolton, the National Security Advisor for the Trump administration. Bolton’s invitation into Belarus was seen as a positive at the time, an opportunity for Belarus to potentially become less economically dependent on Russia. However, the Trump administration did little against Lukashenko in response to the faulty 2020 Belarusian election and the humanitarian offenses committed against the protesters. The Biden administration inherited this issue when Biden took office, and he has since imposed sanctions against Lukashenko. Britain, among others, also imposed their own batch of sanctions. Lukashenko’s response?


[QUOTE] “...you in Britain can choke on these sanctions.” [END QUOTE]


[IMMIGRATION CRISIS]


Now, Lukashenko has weaponized his own people against Western Europe. He’s been accused of forcing migration across the Belarusian border, specifically into Latvia and Lithuania, the latter of which has recently announced that it’s going to build a border wall against Belarus by 2022. So far for 2021, illegal immigration across the Lithuanian border is already 55 times higher than it was for all of 2020. There have been reports of Belarusian authorities physically pushing migrants across the border into Lithuania, but at the very least, they’re not doing anything to curb the spike in immigration. Lukashenko himself said he would unleash “migrants and drugs” on Europe, but so far, he’s denied any involvement in facilitating the deluge. Lithuania, by the way, is an EU member nation. Oh, and of course all of this is happening in the middle of a pandemic. Lithuania simply cannot support the migrants, but Latvia and Poland have also seen their fair share of illegal border crossings.


[WHAT’S NEXT]


So, speaking of Poland, Poland is actually backsliding into authoritarianism, white supremacy, and nationalism right now, even as a member of the EU. Unfortunately, the EU can’t take too much action against them for political reasons, but they can’t kick Poland out of the EU, either. To do so, all member nations would have to vote unanimously, but fellow EU-member Hungary, which is also becoming more and more nationalistic, has sworn allegiance to Poland, promising not to vote for their removal.


All of this matters because Belarus, as I hope I’ve successfully and sufficiently illustrated over the course of this episode, is geographically located in a corridor where different empires and armies regularly pass through to gain access to either Russia or Western Europe. As a direct result, it suffered more severe war casualties than most European nations did during the World Wars, which is saying something, and its people have regularly been displaced, being absorbed into this empire or another. The Belarusian people have been seeking autonomy and independence for some time, only to be saddled with a dictator who told them to drink vodka as a precautionary measure against COVID.


That’s why it matters - its geographical location and significance between major European players. Belarus, in many ways, is the bridge between Russia and the EU nations of Central and Western Europe. With authoritarianism and nationalism on the rise all around it, the international response to Belarusian authoritarianism needs to be taken seriously. The situation in Belarus has only gotten worse over the 20-ish years that Lukashenko has been in power, but now, it’s more of a powder keg than it was 20 years ago.


[FINAL THOUGHTS]


I think people living in modern times tend to forget that the world is always changing, as it has always been. We tend to think that our borders are set - that we’ve finally figured things out, organized ourselves, agreed on land claims, created overarching governing bodies and oversight committees, etc. The reality is that these conflicts have been steeped in history. Even though there are sometimes periods of a few hundred years of relative peace - “relative” being the operative word there - geopolitics never sleep. The conflicts forged centuries ago don’t really go away because they’re rarely, if ever, resolved properly. Or, let’s say they are actually resolved. All you need to do is wait a generation or two and some new revolutionary or some new imperialist will rise up from amongst the ranks, re-birthing ideologies that the rest of us thought to have long expired. We imagine that greed, ambition, and corruption have been purged from humanity, because surely, we’ve evolved past such base emotions by now, haven’t we?


We can’t escape our collective humanity, though. People today are tired of constantly being at war, but the more you explore history, the more you understand that war is a constant. Territories, languages, and cultural influences are always changing and evolving, specifically within the context of geopolitics. For instance, did you know that the country of Macedonia had to officially change its name two years ago to North Macedonia to settle a Balkan dispute with Greece that went back to the time of Alexander the Great? Before that, the USSR only collapsed 30 years ago. Then there was all that stuff with Yugoslavia, which also played a part in the Macedonia-North Macedonia issue.


And of course, I’m speaking generally, but it’s important to remember that the world is and always will be a living, breathing thing. It evolves and adapts, and its people learn to live accordingly. As for the leaders who we put in charge or who put themselves in charge, the decisions they make and their reasons for doing so have implications that change the course of history. They’re felt for insanely long periods of time after the fact. They impact millions of people over multiple generations. And over time, the problems don’t become less - they become compounded. They become even more complex. The repercussions of action one way or the other become more dire and more difficult to enact. Any proposed solution requires foresight and planning, but more often than not, that never happens. Progress in any direction is fickle and more easily changeable than many of us think, mainly because people are fickle. We change our minds and personalities as our circumstances change. We adopt stances on political and social issues based on our own personal fears, insecurities, and perceptions, however irrational they may be. Thought leadership, while it’s something we hear about a lot these days with the influencer culture of social media, is nothing new. Social media is simply another outlet within which it can thrive.


If I had to leave you with anything at the end of this, I’d just say that it’s perfectly fine for you to acknowledge your own knowledge gaps, especially when it comes to supremely complex issues. I don’t consider myself an expert on any of this stuff even though I spend maybe 20 hours reading and researching for each episode of this podcast. I told you - I really don’t do myself any favors. Maybe more importantly, though, it’s OK for you to not have an opinion on everything, especially those things that you don’t fully understand yet. It’s OK not to immediately pick a side, and it’s OK to ask questions. It’s even OK if you don’t know how you feel about something. Sit with it. Let it come to you. It’s OK if that process takes time.


Honestly, it’s more than OK. It’s highly, highly encouraged.


Ok, that wraps up Episode 2 of Season 2! Thank you so much for listening. If you’d like to read a transcript of this episode, you can do so at globalthread.org, or if you’d like to help support this podcast, you can head over to patreon.com/globalthread. Any and all support is greatly appreciated as it allows me to keep doing what I do for you. Also, I want to shout out Michael Connelly for my intro music. If you would like to connect with him, his social handles are all @musicbympc, Mike-Papa-Charlie. Again, that’s @musicbympc.


Thanks again for being here, and next up - Afghanistan. Bye!









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