Round Table Discussion

Witness to the Truth: Through Every Human Heart

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did not share the fate of some 2,000 writers, established or aspiring, who perished during Stalin’s reign of terror.  Solzhenitsyn lived, against all odds, because he was chosen by God to share his people’s Calvary, to stand as its witness, and to provide a rare source of light in the cultural and moral darkness of the past half-century.

The political consequences of Solzhenitsyn’s work have been immense.  His contribution to the collapse of Soviet communism was greater than that of any other individual, including Ronald Reagan and John Paul II.  His unmasking of the Marxist experiment as evil and irredeemable was at odds with the collective striving of his Western contemporaries, among whom Orwell and Koest­ler were exceptions to the rule set on La Rive Gauche and in Greenwich Village.  His Gulag is a metaphor not just of Russia but of mankind left to its own devices.  It reveals the evil in us and the end of all earthly utopias, but it also sets the stage for spiritual rebirth.  It was granted to him, he says in Part II of the Archipelago, to carry away from his prison years this essential experience:

how a human being becomes evil and how good.  In the intoxication of my youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel.  In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor. ...

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