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And You Thought You Had a Bad Day

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Ralph Parker, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Alexander Tvardovsky, Eric Bogosian

Dear reader,

Greetings! My name is Ivan Denisovich. I was wrongfully imprisoned by our "beloved leader" Josef Stalin for a crime I did not commit. But then, in my country at that time, ANYONE can be thrown into prison for ANYTHING or worse, NOTHING. And I was not alone. There were thousands, even millions, of us.

I hope you are doing great there. You are probably in your bedroom, sitting or lying comfortably while reading this. Good for you. Most of us slept on bare cells or on worn materials that served as mattresses.

Have you eaten? I hope you have. I have partaken of my daily ration, so-so grams of bread and a watery mixture that our captors passed for as  "coffee".

I guess there are among you who shun even the lightest manual work. We here did backbreaking work, and at sub-zero temperatures at that. Every. Day. Without pay.

So if you do read this, pray (if you pray) or think about me and countless others who passed through the numerous prison camps set up by our masters in this communist "paradise". For many of us, the trip was a one-way journey. The bones of those who never returned are still there.

Now that the Soviet Union is in the trash can of history, I hope that the world will never again see what we saw, feel what we felt, and experience what we did. Because even a day here felt like a lifetime.

But I did not let the system break me. In the end, it was people like me who eventually survived the system. And we did not just survive it. We triumphed against it.