Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: 1918-2008

John Piper @ http://www.desiringgod.org has a touching remembrance in life of yesterday's death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn who died at the age of 89.
No one did more than Solzhenitsyn to expose the horrors of the failed communist experiment in Russia. Hitler’s purge would pale, if such things could pale, when compared to ten times the carnage in Stalin’s gulags.

After his imprisonment in the Russian gulag of Joseph Stalin’s “corrective labor camps” Solzhenitsyn wrote:
It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of 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. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts.... That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!” I...have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2, 615-617)
Piper concludes:
O that I would be done with murmuring against my tiny prisons. Lord, grant me greater faith to live in the coming day when I will say, “Bless you, all hardship and pain! You have cut me off from the death of prosperous idolatry again and again.”
See also:

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Friend of Truth in the Face of Evil

Solzhenitsyn: Jeremiah Is Dead Only To This Age

"One Word of Truth Will Outweigh the Whole World" - The Death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Solzhenitsyn dead at 89

Father Raymond J. De Souza on the legacy of Alexander Solzhenitsyn: He taught that freedom must have a purpose

Jeremiah at Harvard

Gulags: Then and Now

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