On Dialogue While Bombs Are Falling: PEN Ukraine Addressed the Global Intellectual Community
The authors of PEN Ukraine addressed the international intellectual community against the backdrop of arguments around the expediency of boycotting Russian culture and numerous calls to dialogue and discussion with Russian intellectuals regarding "reconciliation." The address has already been signed by half a hundred writers, journalists and figures of culture.
Ukrainian intellectual warn that in Russia’s totalitarian society, culture also serves an instrument of influence and propaganda, and disguise for countless war crimes against Ukraine:
"Today, in the name of "Russkiy Mir", Russian soldiers are murdering civilians, bombing hospitals, elementary schools, theaters, libraries, and universities, destroying Ukrainian culture."
The members of PEN Ukraine remember those few individual representatives of Russian culture who, eight years ago, when Russia occupied Crimea and a part of our eastern territories, stood up in defense of Ukrainian territorial integrity. We also value the support of those who speak out against the war today. Nonetheless, there is an unambiguous belief: as long as Russia commits war crimes in Ukraine, discussing culture is not relevant and any kind of dialogue is not possible.
"While we ourselves have often expressed our support for those writers, scholars, and human rights advocates who’ve openly opposed the Kremlin, we have to assert that, as long as bombs and missiles are falling on us, dialogue about reconciliation is impossible. Today, and until that moment when the last Russian soldier has left Ukrainian territory, the only appropriate subject for our discussions with the international intellectual community must be about the need for an immediate cessation of Russia’s war crimes, not about the merits of its culture," says the statement.
Let us remind you that in early March the President of PEN Ukraine Andriy Kurkov responded to PEN Germany’s statement publicly criticizing calls to boycott Russian culture. In the letter he urged the world to read more about Ukraine and once again underscored that discussion on reconciliation between Ukrainian and Russian intellectuals is impossible.
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