Thursday, June 08, 2006

Clash Of Civilizations: Amnesty International Slams Lukashenka Regime While Solzhenitsyn Slams Decline Of Western Christian Civilization

"Amnesty International has announced the beginning of “summer postcard action” - human rights activists from all over the world are invited to send postcards with messages of support to jailed Belarus oppositionists.

As members of an unregistered organization called the Initiative Partnership, political activists Mikalay Astreyka, Enira Branizkaya, Alyaksandr Shalayka, and Timafey Dranchuk were preparing to monitor the presidential elections that took place in Belarus in March 2006, the Amnesty International website says.

Weeks before the elections, KGB officers raided and searched the organization’s regional offices, then detained the four activists in the capital city, Minsk, on February 21, 2006. The four have been held since then in a KGB detention centre. Authorities charged the four with acting in the name of an unregistered organization. The three men and one woman face possible maximum prison sentences of three years. If they are sentenced to prison, Amnesty International will consider them to be prisoners of conscience and will call for their immediate release.

The Belarusian authorities are increasingly employing harassment, intimidation, excessive force, mass detentions and long-term imprisonment as methods to quash any civil or political dissent." ...

MosNews "Amnesty International Starts Support Action for Jailed Belarus Opposition Activists" June 8, 2006


"Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, for many years a dissident against Soviet communism, has defended an Orthodox church-sponsored document calling for a new concept of human rights to counter Western notions of freedom, which are said to lack “moral norms”, Ecumenical News International reports.

“Unlimited human rights are what our cave-dwelling ancestor already had — nothing prevented him from depriving his neighbor of prey or finishing him off with a cudgel,” Solzhenitsyn told the Moskovskiye Novosti weekly newspaper. “Even to call for self-restraint was considered ridiculous and funny. However, it is only self-restraint that offers a moral and reliable way out of any conflict.”

The 87-year-old writer was reacting to a “Declaration on Human Rights and Dignity” adopted by the tenth World Russian People’s Council, which met at Moscow’s Christ the Savior basilica from 4 to 6 April and was chaired by Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II of Moscow.

The document said the world faced “a conflict between civilizations with different understandings of the human being”. It stated that it was unacceptable to use human rights “to legitimize behavior condemned by both traditional morality and historical religions”.

Solzhenitsyn said the director of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Metropolitan Kirill, had been right to assert that personal freedoms should not “threaten the fatherland” or be used to “insult religious and national feelings”.

He added, “If Russia were to join the North Atlantic Alliance, which is engaged in propaganda and forcibly inculcating the ideology and practices of today’s Western democracy in various parts of the planet, it would lead not to an expansion, but to a decline of Christian civilization.”

The human rights declaration said Russians rejected “the policy of double standards with regard to human rights,” as well as “attempts to use them for imposing a particular socio-political system.”

Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970. His books include “The Gulag Archipelago” a factual account of Stalin’s terror for which he was exiled to the West in 1974. He returned to Russia in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and has often defended Orthodox tradition against Western popular culture."

MosNews "Solzhenitsyn Joins in Criticism of Western Human Rights Norms" May 30, 2006

Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Photo credit: via With thanks.


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