Advertisement - story continues below
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born in Russia, DECEMBER 11, 1918.
Later in his life he was arrested for writing a letter criticizing Joseph Stalin and spent 11 years in labor camps. He began writing and eventually received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Speaking in Washington, D.C., June 30, 1975, Solzhenitsyn gave a warning to the West:
“In pre-revolutionary Russia…there were attempts of the Tsar’s life…During these years about 17 persons a year were executed…
“The Cheka (Communist Secret Police)…in 1918 and 1919…executed, without trial, more than a thousand persons a month!…
“At the height of Stalin’s terror in 1937-38…more than 40,000 persons were shot per month!
“Here are the figures: 17 a year…1,000 a month, more than 40,000 a month!”
“Roosevelt, in Tehran, during one of his toasts, said…‘I do not doubt that the three of us’ – meaning Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin – ‘lead our peoples in accordance with their desires’…We were astonished. We thought, ‘when we reach Europe, we will meet the Americans, and we will tell them.’
“I was among the troops that were marching towards the Elbe (River). A little bit more and I would have…shaken the hands of your American soldiers. But just before that…I was taken off to prison and my meeting did not take place…
“After a delay of 30 years, my Elbe is here today. I am here to tell you…what…we wanted to tell you then…
“There is a…Russian proverb: ‘The yes-man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you’…I am the friend…I have come to tell you…
“One of your leading newspapers, after the end of Vietnam, had a full headline: ‘The Blessed Silence.’ I would not wish that kind of ‘blessed silence’ on my worst enemy…I spent 11 years in the Archipelago (labor camps)…”
He went on:
“It is not detente (a lessening of tension) if we here…can spend our time agreeably while over there people are groaning and dying and in psychiatric hospitals.
“Doctors are making their evening rounds…injecting people with drugs which destroy their brain…There are tens of thousands of political prisoners in our country…under compulsory psychiatric treatment.”
“You know the words from the Bible: ‘Build not on sand, but on rock’…
“Lenin’s teachings are that anyone is considered to be a fool who doesn’t take what’s lying in front of him. If you can take it, take it. If you can attack, attack. But if there’s a wall, then go back…
“Communist leaders respect only firmness and have contempt and laugh at persons who continually give in to them…”
“I…call upon America to be more careful with its trust…Prevent those…who are attempting to establish even finer…legal shades of equality – because of their distorted outlook…short-sightedness and…self-interest – from falsely using the struggle for peace and for social justice to lead you down a false road…
“They are trying to weaken you; they are trying to disarm your strong and magnificent country in the face of this fearful threat – one that has never been seen before in the history of the world…
“I call upon you: ordinary working men of America…do not let yourselves become weak.”
“If we don’t know our own history, we will simply have to endure all the same mistakes, sacrifices, and absurdities all over again.”
In 1983, Solzhenitsyn received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, stating:
“We can only reach with determination for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently pushed away.”
Advertisement - story continues below
Photo Credit: openDemocracy (Flickr)
Advertisement – story continues below
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.