From Marjorie Farquharson’s diary (1984): “If Sakharov dies, the whole effort of human rights work seems hopeless”
Photo from Marjorie – a website devoted to Marjorie Farquharson

From the diary of Marjorie Farquharson, 27 May 1984

What one truly understands clearly articulates itself, and the words to say it come easily

Sunday, 27 May 1984

I feel the need to write down some of what has been happening. I`ve been reading Raisa Orlova`s Memoirs – the memoirs of one successful ambitious Soviet communist, who was suddenly wracked with introspection and guilt in her late middle age. It`s made a big impression on me – wondering how someone so acute and honest could have been so blind and ignorant. What does it mean for the rest of us? Because the  disclosures of the 50’s and 60’s came as such a shock to her – they hit  the reader with freshness. I was terribly moved by a verse of Galich`s poetry  which she quotes, and I don`t know  why.

Но ложились тени на суглинок

И сквозили тени в каждом взгляде

Тени всех бутырок и треблинок

Всех измен, предательств и распятий.

But  the shadows have spread on the soil

And the shadows show there at every glance

The shadows of all Butyrkas and Treblinkas

Of all the treachery, betrayals and crucifixions.

The image of shadows which show through at each glance is very powerful. What are my shadows, or the shadows that show through me? I`ve also been reading `Living with Death and Dying` by Elisabeth Kubler Ross, another marvellous book. We are born with only two fears, she says: fear of loud noises and fear of falling. Where do all the others come from? Why am I locked with this moral `embrace` with the Soviet Union? I am exhausted by it. Is it because of some collective shadows showing through me? I find it at once the most real and fascinating knowledge, and stifling.

On Friday we were faced with the imminent death of Yermak Lukyanov, the death penalty case we`ve worked on solidly for 10 months; and with the media collecting obituary material for Sakharov. If Sakharov dies, the whole effort of human rights work seems hopeless…


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