Dangerous Words

In 1945, a decorated Captain in the Red Army wrote a letter that destroyed his life.

As the war ended, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s battle with the USSR began.

He spent eight years in the GULAG, writing without pen or paper. After his release, Alek continued writing secretly.

When he published a story about life in the slave camps, Russia made him a famous writer for a while. But then the regime changed its mind and began destroying his work. 

Alek wrote feverishly in secret, spreading his words with friends of friends across borders. 

In 1970 those words won him a Nobel Prize. Then a year later, the KGB tried to kill him. So Alek smuggled his most dangerous words out of the country and published them worldwide.

The USSR told him he wasn’t Russian anymore and exiled him. But it was too late.

His words had unveiled the brutality of the regime.

And Alek kept writing until the USSR collapsed completely.

Shortly after, he got told he was Russian again and could return. After a little while, he did. And after his death in 2008, The Gulag Archipelago became required reading in Russian schools.

To show words can be very dangerous indeed.

 

 

Say Nothing

Saying nothing is the most dangerous thing we can do.

We like to think that if we keep quiet and keep our heads down, we’ll be ok. But saying nothing could strip us everything.

‘Saying nothing’ is just as loud as screaming through a megaphone. Sometimes even louder. That’s why “your silence speaks volumes”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn writes in The Gulag Archipelago about how freedom is eroded, one small submission — one short silence — at a time.

When we say nothing against the mistreatment or abuse of other beings, we sanction it. When we say nothing of our own suffering or fail to advocate for our dreams, we bury deep within ourselves the seed of an all-consuming, bitter plant.

It’s all too easy to say something these days, and even easier to say the wrong thing.

But saying nothing in the face of injustice rips the future from under all our feet.