14 Emotional Portraits Of Men Reacting To The New Military Draft Law In Lithuania
Do you want to be picked up by the draft? Chances are that you won’t even have to face that question. But these men say “no” to conscription. These pictures come from photo series “They Won The Lottery” by Beata Tiskevic-Hasanova and photographer Neringa Rekasiute. In light of the current geopolitical situation, Lithuania has recently reconstituted the draft. Those unwilling to join or opposing the draft have been shunned in public discourse, called “wussies” and “unmanly cowards.” Such backlash to opposition has been called sexist and archaic, and the artists want to raise awareness of the men not happy to join.
Around 40,000 men, aged 19-26 have been selected by random lottery. Of them, around 3000 will join the military this autumn for nine months of training and service. I know how toxic the public discourse can get. I was one of the many drafted, and I’m currently awaiting medical examination that will determine if I will be joining the ranks. In general, I think that draft is an archaic thing that has been executed in all the wrong ways: the communication was all wrong, the decision was all too hasty and we wouldn’t have to do it if the government had at any time increased defense spending as promised when joining NATO.
That said, if I have to go, I’ll go. Trying to cheat my way out of it would be wrong in regards to other draftees. And who knows, it might be fun.
JAUNIUS, 18: A gun in your hands doesn’t make you a man
VYTAUTAS, 27: Army won’t make a man out of you – if you are a dumbass, you will stay a dumbass
DOMINYKAS, 26: It’s my business what kind of man I want to be
JUSTAS, 18: The real strength is the ability to make your own mind. Let us be strong
VYTENIS, 18: I could go to the army. Sometimes I lack courage and stamina to do things. Army is good if you can handle it. I was inspired by my friend, a girl, who became a voluntary soldier
EDVINAS, 17: Can you imprison a man’s choice and call it free living?
DANAS, 28: In my opinion, the archaic times when a man was supposed to kill a buffalo and drag it home to his family are long over. I think that army is not a bad thing in general, but a compulsory one is definitely not a good thing either. Especially when the government announced it so suddenly, without any public debate or preparation. A system should be introduced, one should know at school that there is a possibility to serve in the army, one should grow up with this idea
DENISAS, 23: In today’s free society there is no space for coercion. Compulsory things should be the ones you choose with your free will
MARTYNAS, 22: It’s manly to be able to choose for yourself
JEGOR, 25: Only when fighting you lose
ROKAS, 17: It is manly to work for your goals and ideas, and defend your values. I guess, everyone can go to the war, but army is not for everyone
MINDAUGAS, 25: When I was still at school, conscript army was removed. I was very happy then, but when I look back, I realize it was a better time to go to the army than it would be now when I have my own agency and when I have created jobs for other people – I need to look after all of it
JUSTAS, 27: Army is a waste of time. How many more soldiers do we need? We already have many volunteers
LUKAS, 25: If I was called to the army, I would try to find a way to avoid it. I have a wife, we are so good together and family for me is first. We have created so much, I wouldn’t want to leave it