What would be your reaction if someone on a street asked you: „Do you love your country“? A bunch of my friends asked this question non directly and here’s how it went.
One day a friend of mine – Dainius called me and asked if I could help him with something. He said he bought 300 stripes of Lithuanian flag colors and he needed help sharing them. My first question was – what political party stands behind this? He said – non. It was absolutely his own initiative.
My second thought was that it’s a response to Georgian stripes that were noticed on cars in Vilnius and Kaunas. That was a right guess.
If any other person, not a friend, had asked me to do this, I probably would have said no.. Why? Because in general I dislike all kinds of political activities, doesn’t matter if they are of purely good and non confrontational nature.
This was an exception because I know Dainius and therefore I know why he did this and what it meant for him.
As Dainius told us, his plan was to buy 1000 stripes but there were only 300 available. Later we were kind of happy about that Sharing 300 LT stripes in Kaunas in few hours was not that easy.
Dainius’s plan was to offer an LT stripe to drivers and with their permission to tie those stripes on the back wiper, antenna or the front mirror inside of a car. So we couldn’t give them to anyone. That would have been super easy. We had to find a car with a driver, talk to him/her and if possible tie a stripe on a car ourselves.
There were six of us, so we split into 2 location based teams: Dainius and I stayed in Laisvės Alėja and start walking (!!!) in zigzags from Karaliaus Mindaugo and Kęstučio to Putvinskio st. towards Old Town. The other team of 4 went straight to the parking lot near Kaunas castle. There was Hanza Kaunas medieval fair that day so the lot was squeezed with cars and people.
To give out approximately 250 stripes took us almost 3,5 hours, cost us few blisters and gave us some insights on how Lithuanians feel about being Lithuanians (or living in Lithuania).
Reactions to LT stripe varied from gratitude and excitement to distrust and rejection. Honestly, I did not expect some people would refuse to take it (that was just naive). Although we agreed, if that happened, we would just move on without trying to convince, manipulate or force someone to take a stripe.
Out of all the people we approached that day, I guess there were 15 to 20 people who said – „no“. It is not much but that gave us some thoughts.
We realized that an offer to take an LT stripe was a subconscious question – do you love your country? Do you support it? When a person is asked in this way – non directly, subconsciously – only true self, true believes and true self-positioning emerge (that is how I see it). Why? Because there is no time to think. The response is automatic – the one that sits deep inside, the one that one can not hide or fake in a few seconds.
Important thing is that if there were only people who said „yes“, all this post would have never been written. These negative reactions became a very good contrast and made us re-examine our beliefs and expectations.
What kind of people where the most eager to take the stripe, who did not agree to participate, how they did it, what were reactions towards us and what were their comments – it’s all in the next post.
Meanwhile – feel free to express your thoughts on the topic!
P.S. I wrote this post in English just because my blog (or my browser, I really don’t know) stopped supporting Lithuanian. Writing in English seemed easier than finding how to change the language… But I’ll do my best improving my IT skills