Spring 2006 (14.1)
of Truth - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
shall be told: what can literature possibly do against the ruthless
onslaught of open violence? But let us not forget that violence
does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is
necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the
most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds.
Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood; falsehood, its only
support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence
as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE.
At its birth, violence acts openly and even with pride. But no
sooner does it become strong, firmly established, than it senses
the rarefication of the air around it, and it cannot continue
to exist without descending into a fog of lies, clothing them
in sweet talk. It does not always, not necessarily, openly throttle
the throat, more often it demands from its subjects only an oath
of allegiance to falsehood, only complicity in falsehood.
the simple step of a simple courageous man is not to partake
in falsehood, not to support false actions! Let falsehood enter
the world, let it even reign in the world - but not with my help.
But writers and artists can achieve more: they can conquer falsehood!
In the struggle with falsehood, art has always won out, and it
always will win! Openly, irrefutably for everyone! Falsehood
can hold out against much in this world, but not against art.
And no sooner will falsehood be dispersed than the nakedness
of violence will be revealed in all its ugliness. And violence,
decrepit, will collapse.
That is why, my friends, I believe that we are able to help the
world in its white-hot hour.
Above: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Winner of the
Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 for his personal experience
narrative that exposed the Gulag camps in "One Day in the
Life of Ivan Denisovich". Solzhenitsyn later went on to
write more books such as "Gulah Archipelago" and "Cancer
World" that dealt with the camps. Those books were published
in the West first. Only after the collapse of the USSR in 1991
were they published in Russia.
Not by making the excuse of possessing no weapons, and not by
giving ourselves over to a frivolous life - but by going to war!
Proverbs about truth are dearly loved in Russian. They provide
a steady and, often, striking revelation of the harsh national
experience: "One word of truth outweighs the whole world."
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, winner
of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, for his novel "One
Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" (1962). Solzhenitsyn
went on to publish three volumes of "The Gulag Archipelago"
(1970) about his own experiences and stories of 277 prisoners
that he heard in prison.
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