“Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (1918-2008)
The following is the Introduction to ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN’S Warning to the West, Speeches, 1975-6 given whilst he was an exile from his homeland and living in Montpelier Vermont. He returned to Russia soon after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1990 and died in 2008 near Moscow. (You can find this book online if you know where to look!)
Speeches to the Americans
JUNE 30, 1975 INTRODUCTION BY GEORGE MEANY (President of the AFL-CIO Union)
When we think of the historic struggles and conflicts of this century, we naturally think of famous leaders: men who governed nations, commanded armies, and inspired movements in the defense of liberty, or in the service of ideologies which have obliterated liberty.
Yet today, in this grave hour in human history, when the forces arrayed against the free spirit of man are more powerful, more brutal, and more lethal than ever before, the single figure who has raised highest the flame of liberty heads no state, commands no army, and leads no movement that our eyes can see.
But there is a movement—a hidden movement of human beings who have no offices and no headquarters, who are not represented in the great halls where nations meet, who every day risk or suffer more for the right to speak, to think, and to be themselves than any of us here are likely to risk in our entire lifetime.
Where are the members of this invisible movement? As we prepare tonight to honor the presence of one of them among us, let us give some thought to the rest: to the millions who are trapped in Soviet slave-labor camps; to the countless thousands drugged and strait-jacketed in so-called insane asylums; to the multitudes of voiceless workers who slave in the factories of the commissars; to all those who strain for bits and pieces of truth through the jammed frequencies of forbidden broadcasts, and who record and pass outlawed thoughts from hand to hand in the shadows of tyranny.
But if they remain invisible to us, we can hear them now, for there has come forth from under the rubble of oppression a voice that demands to be heard, a voice that will not be denied.
We heed this voice, not because it speaks for the left or the right or for any faction, but because it hurls truth and courage into the teeth of total power when it would be so much easier and more comfortable to submit and to embrace the lies by which that power lives.
What is the strength of this voice? How has it broken through to us when others have been stilled? Its strength is art.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn is not a crusader. He is not a politician. He is not a general. He is an artist.
Solzhenitsyn’s art illuminates the truth. It is, in a sense, subversive: subversive of hypocrisy, subversive of delusion, subversive of the Big Lie.
No man in modern times and very few in all of history have demonstrated as drastically as Alexander Solzhenitsyn the power of the pen coupled with the courage to free men’s minds.
We need that power desperately today. We need it to teach the new and the forgetful generations in our midst what it means not to be free. Freedom is not an abstraction abstraction; neither is the absence of freedom. Solzhenitsyn has helped us to see that, thanks to his art and his courage.
His art is a unique gift. It cannot be transmitted to another. But let us pray that his courage is contagious.
We need echoes of his voice. We need to hear the echoes in the White House. We need to hear the echoes in the Congress and in the State Department and in the universities and in the media, and if you please, Mr. Ambassador Patrick Moynihan, in the United Nations.
The American trade-union movement, from its beginnings to the present, has been dedicated to the firm, unyielding belief in freedom. Freedom for all mankind, as well as for ourselves. It is in that spirit that we are honored to present Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Let us end with another quote by the Great Artist:
“Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit, and to a leveling of mankind into death.”
In short: we have been warned.
Relevant recent article: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/11/has_american_become_a_realm_beyond_words.html