Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Andrej Sakharov

20 years since his death

On 14th December 1989 death of Andrej Sacharov, great Russian scientist and dissident, promoter of famous human rights struggles together with his wife Elena Bonner. His views are described in the essay Progress, Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom. In 1970 he founded the Committee for civil rights and in 1975 he is awarded the Peace Nobel prize. He takes a stance against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and he is exiled in Gor’kij. Come back to Moscow upon Gorbatchev's will, in 1989 he is elected opposition leader in the Congress of the People's Deputies.

He long worked for the project of a new Constitutional Chart. A few days before his death and thanks to his commitment article 6 of the Constitution assigning the Soviet Communist Party the leading role in the Country was abolished, which marked the end of Communism.
On the day of his funerals the streets of Moscow get crowded with a lot of silent and moved people.

13 December 2009

Defence of human dignity

against totalitarian tendencies

In Dentures, collection of Kolyma Tales, Varlam Shalamov told the protagonist, held in the gulag, addressed to the executioners who wanted to strip him of everything: "No, do not give up the soul."
This sentence contains the essence of the Righteous: Those who refuse to "sell their soul" in extreme situations, even with the fear to go in the field of victims and of no escape, in the face of persecution, hatred and discrimination.
The defense of human dignity is the defense of one’s own self, of their own moral integrity, even when he/she rescues another human being. For this we can say that it is just the gesture of one who safeguards the dignity of the victims with his own humanity. To paraphrase the famous words of the Talmud: "Whoever saves one’s life, saves the whole world", we can also say "he who saves himself saves the whole world," not defending his own life, but the soul, listening to the authentic voice of conscience .
In the gulag one could rarely assist and help another prisoner, but every day one could try to oppose the process of dehumanization lucidly put in motion by the perverse mechanism of the working field.

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Andrei Sakharov

he defended peace and human dignity in the GULag