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I’ll Still Read Checkhov


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“It is not before you I am kneeling, but before all the suffering of mankind,” Roddy famously says to Sonya in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment—one of the best books ever written, without a shadow of a doubt. 

It is, then, to my deepest astonishment and sadness, that I’ve learned that Dostoevsky, like many other Russian authors and artists, are being canceled due to Putin’s bloody and arbitrary invasion over sovereign, resilient Ukraine. 

As British PM Boris Johnson stated (in Russian) while addressing the nation, “I do not believe this war is in your name.” No one in their right mind can possibly think such thing. Why, then, is Tchaikovsky no longer played in Cardiff’s Philharmonic? Have we all gone utterly insane?

This is the war of one man, and of one man alone: Vladimir Putin’s. There is no reason for an entire nation (which, by the way, is not a democracy) to be banned from the world’s libraries and orchestras due to the whims of an authoritarian madman.

Every day Russians are being discriminated against. And every time they are, Putin wins in his anti-West rhetoric. We, as rational, empathetic beings, cannot allow this to go any further.

I have fiercely spoken in defense of independent Ukraine. I agree with the Ukrainian cause —which is the cause of the free— and profoundly admire their bravery and Stoicism. I’ve donated. I’ve even worn the colors of the Ukrainian flag to go to the market. But I am also the woman who learned to love music, at ballet lessons, while dancing to Pas de deux. I’ve been moved by Kandinsky; I’ve been shaken by Nabokov; I’ve been inspired by Tolstoy. I’ve learned to love the Russians, and whatever may come, I know one thing: I’ll still read Chekhov.

Pris Guinovart is a writer, editor and teacher. In 2014, she published her fiction book «The head of God» (Rumbo, Montevideo). She speaks six languages. Columnist since the age of 19, she has written for media in Latin America and the United States // Pris Guinovart es escritora, editora y docente. En 2014, publicó su libro de ficciones «La cabeza de Dios» (Rumbo, Montevideo). Habla seis idiomas. Columnista desde los 19 años, ha escrito para medios de America Latina y Estados Unidos

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