Elon Musk has responded to a plea from the Belarussian opposition to use his leverage “to stop dictatorship”. People on Twitter were full of ideas about how the extravagant billionaire can help.
Belarus is dealing with the worst wave of anti-government protests the country has seen in a decade, and the opposition could use an ally or two. A wealthy American, like, say, Bill Gates or Elon Musk, could have enough clout to lean on President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Sorry to hear this. What can we do to help?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2020
At least, that seems to be the idea behind a Twitter post that Musk responded to on Thursday. Purportedly moved by scenes of violence unfolding on Belarusian streets and the dramatic music that accompanied them, the billionaire asked how he could help. An abundance of ideas flooded the comments.
Some were quick to offer amusing if impractical solutions to Belarus’ current problems, like, why not put Lukashenko into a Tesla car and send them both into orbit? Or use Musk’s engineering know-how to deploy “justice robots” against the Belarusian police?
Please put Lukashenko into the Tesla car and launch it in space
— ロシア愛国者 🇷🇺♡🏳️🌈 (@re1i1er) August 13, 2020
Other commenters were more down to earth. One popular demand was to provide Belarus access to the internet via Starlink satellites to counter suspected throttling of traffic by the Belarus government. Musk could also use his connections in high places in the US to encourage wider coverage of events in Belarus on Western mainstream media, some people suggested.
Dear @elonmusk. Nowadays, Belarus people protest for free elections and democracy, risk life, and freedom. During protests, authorities shut down the internet, and live streams watched by millions disrupted. Can you take us into your Starlink beta-testing program? We are 52-53°N
— Franak Viačorka (@franakviacorka) August 13, 2020
Arguably the most straightforward request came from the author of the original post, a femenist activist from Russia. She posted a link explaining how Musk or anyone interested could donate money to the protesters.
There were also skeptics who suggested that foreign players, including Musk, should stay out of the Belarussian stand-off.
I know these things don’t often play to a strategic hand; but it’s convenient that it comes at a time when America is feeling extra oppressed.
The last time America assisted in the liberation of a country, they were better off before we ‘helped’.
— Subjectivism (@Limpidliestish) August 13, 2020
After all, Washington doesn’t really have a good record of bringing stability and prosperity into countries struggling with civil unrest. And frankly speaking, it has its domestic protest plate full at the moment.
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