Today is the 73rd day of the hunger strike of director Oleg Sentsov. To preserve his life, cultural and public figures decided to write a letter to the political prisoner with a request to stop the indefinite hunger strike. The signatories and these are Lina Kostenko Oksana Pakhlyovska, Ivan Dzyuba and Yurii Andrukhovych, Serhii Zhadan and Andrii Kurkov, Mariana Savka, Oleksandr Roitburd and many others, have asked the community on the pages of the social networks to support this initiative. How the Facebook community responds – in the material from Opinion.
One of the first about the incident was reported by artist Borys Yeghiazaryan and human rights activist Yevhen Zakharov. They asked to share and support this information because a massive request can affect Oleg’s decision. They also added a full letter and a list of signers to the publication.
Totally at the moment, about a thousand reposts have been done. In particular, this publication was shared by public figures Valerii Pekar and Joseph Zissels on their pages. A copy of the letter was published by the journalist and historian Danylo Yanevsky on his page.
Here is the text of the letter:
It took us some time to write this letter, this address to you. You know that from the very beginning of the announcement of your hunger strike everyone in Ukraine joined your demand to release all Ukrainian political prisoners locked up in Russia. We say with confidence and love to you – Ukrainian public and public officials as well as many world political and public leaders including activists in Russia support you. In the meantime, powerful mass protests keep going on in support of your demand.
Our very dear man, we know you are well aware of what is going on although you are locked up in prison. We on the outside are also aware of the reality of the world politics that makes us stay patient and we ask you to do the same.
There were concerns among the public in Ukraine: do we have a right to ask you to stop the hunger strike? We were so distressed; we didn’t know how to address you. On the one hand, we are with you in your demand. On the other hand, we fear for your life and for the lives of all the fellows. People of good will in Ukraine and in other countries support your demand to release all political prisoners. However, the entire world inadvertently began to demand to release Oleg Sentsov. In some cases, they even forgot the very core of your demand.
There are not many people in the world whose will is as strong as yours. We realize you do not like it when people say too many good things about you. But we want to have such a strong-willed and strong in spirit person alive. With the aim to continue the fight for all our boys for whom you devote your life. We need you. Even imprisoned you were able to unite us all for this fight.
If not now, we will release you later in the nearest future anyway. We are Ukraine and many people of good will in the civilized world.
We ask you on behalf of all of us. On behalf of all those who value life and will above all. We ask you with respect and love.
Deepest gratitude to your mother. Love to your kids! For the sake of your love to them, to us, for God’s sake please stop the hunger strike. Please, we beg you!
P. S. The story told by Mustafa Dzhemilev. When Mustafa was on his longest hunger strike and was almost ready to die, his mother and brother came to visit him. They brought a note from Andrey Sakharov. The note said that Sakharov asked Mustafa to stop the hunger strike. It said for all like-minded people and brothers-in-arms his life was much more important than his though heroic death. Mustafa couldn’t refuse Sakharov. He stopped the hunger strike…
Oleg, we join the request of Andrey Sakharov and Mustafa Dzhemilev to our request. Do this deed of love for us”.
And the journalist Natalya Demina draws attention to the mention of Mustafa Dzhemilev’s story in the letter, and how Andrii Sakharov was able to persuade him to stop the hunger strike. Perhaps, we will be able to persuade Oleg Sentsov just the same way?
Journalist Mykhailo Mayevsky is concerned about the list of people, who signed the letter. He calls this list “a document of the Ukrainian SSR era – 2” he believes that it is a national disgrace, and can even lead to the disintegration of the nation. There is no word about Oleg Sentsov in the publication.
But the actress, Oleg’s friend, Rimma Zyubina told about the steadfastness of the imprisoned filmmaker. She notes that she is tired of the situation. Therefore, she tries to do at least something to save the life.
Olena Petrovska, the filmmaker, believes that Oleg Sentsov is already a winner. He helped to believe in human values – honor and dignity, and also – the truth.
However, the psychologist Liliya Dubynska does not support this appeal and believes that everyone has the right to self-determination. She is sure that the death, to which Oleg Sentsov is going, is a weapon of struggle, and this is his choice. Liliya also assures that this letter is a manipulation since no equivalent weapons can be offered to Oleg. In her opinion, this step of the activists is erroneous. And in this situation, she sees only an appeal to modern “rulers of the world’s destinies”.
And finally, the film director and friend of Oleg Sentsov, Yevhen Chernikov shared the actress’ Natalya Vasko requirement to liberate all Ukrainian political prisoners. This is the requirement for which Oleg is on the hunger strike for 73 days.
Reactions were collected by Leila Tserkovnyuk