Wednesday, August 06, 2008


It's distressing to me how people like Alexander Solzhenitsyn or Elie Wiesel will bear witness to the suffering of the most vulnerable only when they, or people like them, are included in this category. They don't take principled stands that preference the poor under any political context, but rather make politics a condition of their advocacy. This is all the more horrible considering that their most celebrated works -- "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and "Night," respectively -- seem explicitly aimed at the injustice of organized social violence against defenseless populations as a rule, not merely because it happened to them. Yet Wiesel is notoriously uncritical of Israeli policy towards its ghettoized Palestinian subjects, while Solzhenitsyn somehow came around to championing Putin's authoritarianism after winning the Nobel prize for ably chronicling Stalin's.

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