Lithuania’s Crackdown on the Unvaccinated
O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven,
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,
A brother’s murther!
–Hamlet, act 3, scene 3
Violations of fundamental human rights and the mistreatment of human beings are not a new aspect of humanity. Stalinist murders, the deportation of millions to Siberian gulags, and USSR-annexed countries is only one painful example in human history. Lithuania has certainly experienced it all, including fifty years of Communist dictatorship. As the Soviet Union collapsed, Lithuania was also the first to declare independence—on March 11, 1990.
On January 13, 1991, thousands of unarmed Lithuanians stood against Soviet tanks after the country’s declaration of independence, protecting their parliament and TV tower, which did not stop translating the news to the world. Fourteen died and hundreds were wounded, because Lithuanians refused to retreat under the attacks and sporadic gunfire continued for at least ninety minutes. Just before the radio station shut down, an announcer said: “We address all those who hear us. It is possible that (the army) can break us with force or close our mouths, but no one will make us renounce freedom and independence.” The Soviets backed down.
Lithuanians’ awareness of a challenging neighborhood—that is, the close proximity of Belarus and the Russian province of Kaliningrad—remains. Thirty years on, Lithuania has blossomed into one of the world’s most innovative economies. The country has the highest level of education in the European Union, with 92 percent of the working-age population having secondary or higher education and one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. In 2017 Forbes ranked Lithuania fifteenth globally on its annual Best Countries for Business List.
And yet throughout the last year of covid pandemic, some holdovers from the old Soviet system have surfaced: the cult of personality, or rather the cult of indisputable government. Nothing but paraphrased Shakespeare comes to mind: “Something is rotten in the state of Lithuania.” The Lithuanian government is exploring new ways of restricting the human rights of the almost 50 percent of Lithuanians who are nonvaccinated citizens.
On August 10, as many as six thousand Lithuanians from around the country traveled to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and gathered near the parliamentary palace, where the government was discussing amendments to state legislation designed to deny nonvaccinated people, including school-age children, access to public transport, primary and secondary care medical institutions, statutory sick pay, employment, any trade or service in which the human contact lasts more than fifteen minutes,
Article from Mises Wire