August 3, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is dead at age 89.

Solzhenitsyn's unflinching accounts of torment and survival in the Soviet Union's slave labor camps riveted his countrymen, whose secret history he exposed. They earned him 20 years of bitter exile, but international renown. And they inspired millions, perhaps, with the knowledge that one person's courage and integrity could, in the end, defeat the totalitarian machinery of an empire.

I think John Donne's poem is more appropriate here than anywhere else!
DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
- John Donne
A great voice for freedom (and one that suffered a lot due to the lack of it) is no more.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who has died aged 89 was not only a great, but a passionately committed writer – he believed it was his moral duty, in the face of systematic totalitarian obfuscation, to record Russia's 20th-century experience for posterity.
Maybe one of these days I will get around to reading the Gulag Archipelago - have 2/3 volumes sitting in the basement in boxes -- picked up at a sale more than a decade back! I think the box also contains his "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". (I checked; do not have "One day..". I have a copy of "The Love-Girl and the Innocent".)

Note to self: A quote from Solzhenitsyn that I used to have in my .sig file a decade back!
"A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him."

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