PEN Ukraine letter to the international PEN community
In childhood we were told that it’s in times of trouble you discover who your true friends really are. The veracity of this principle has come home to us only now, in our hour of great need. The war the Kremlin is waging against us is savage and merciless. Putin intends to disappear us, to destroy our existence as a sovereign nation. Our democratic freedoms are a threat to the Kremlin’s authoritarianism. The lies the Kremlin uses to characterize Ukraine in the world’s eyes horrify us. Meanwhile, masses of people are being slaughtered, above all the civilians of our plundered towns and cities.
In the face of our troubles your solidarity with us is more meaningful than we can say. We are unable to count all those of you who have expressed their support for us, but believe us: your cumulative good will persuades us that we have the support of the world, and this fills our hearts with gratitude.
We value your moral and practical support highly. In the face of the humanitarian catastrophe arising around us as a result of Russian aggression, different PEN Centers have succeeded in creating mechanisms of truly effective and practical support, which we gratefully accept. We have no doubt that all our writers who are able to take advantage of your assistance find it invaluable.
In particular we wish to thank the Belarussian PEN center which, for expressing its sincere solidarity with us, for helping us, must suffer the wrath of its own authoritarian regime. We remember what your country has been through, and we know what your artists and writers risk for expressing their support for us, and for that we value them beyond measure.
We’d like to close this letter of thanks with the words of the Crimean journalist and human rights worker Server Mustafayev, who is now serving his fourth year in a Russian jail: "It’s easy to break a finger, impossible to shatter a fist. United, we are invincible."
With gratitude for solidarity,
Translation: Askold Melnyczuk
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