The Logic of Accusation Has No End

Michnikplesubw_234w Adam Michnik and Andrei Plesu in Eurozine:

[Adam Michnik:] The communist regime wanted to teach us something new about culture, about history. Those who wrote books about Kant, Shakespeare or Dante defended the fundamental values of European culture. They didn't quote Stalin or Ceausescu, they simply wrote an honest book. This often required courage. Whatever resistance there was in Russian, Romanian or Polish cultures, it was due not so much to those people who went to the barricades, but those who simply did a job well. I was taught at university by lecturers who, during the war, had been active in the resistance movement. In 1945, when the Soviets came to power, they had to make a choice: either join an anti-communist movement, emigrate, or take up a post at a university and teach things that were true. I'm in their debt, I thank them for not joining an anti-communist movement or emigrating, for staying in Poland to teach instead.

That would be my first observation. The second one is this. If I understand it correctly, Herta Müller reproached Romanian intellectuals for not being heroes. However, you are allowed to expect heroism only from yourself, not from someone else. There will always be people who will say “you were not a hero till the end”. This is a Bolshevik attitude. In Russia there is a whole legion of people who use this kind of argument. Why was Solzhenitsyn arrested? Was it for his anti-communism? No, it was because he was a Trotskyite. And how is communism different from Trotskyism? It isn't. So why should we respect Solzhenitsyn? He wrote books, he went to America and made a lot of money. Why should we respect him? Sakharov? He invented the nuclear bomb! Viktor Nekrasov? He received the Soviet “Nobel Prize”. Rostropovich? And so on.