Former political prisoner Pavel Seviarynets has presented “Belaruskaya Hlybinia” (“Belarusian Depth”), a book he wrote while serving a term of correction labor in the village Kuplin, Pruzhany district.
The publication includes 84 essays written during his imprisonment on charges of rioting on December 19, 2010. It is worth noting that “Belarusian Depth” is the second book by Sevyarinets written in detention. His first book called “Letters from the Forest” (2007) was written in the village of Maloye Sitna, Polatsk district, also while serving a sentence.
Pavel Seviarynets says in an interview for palitviazni.info that he considers himself a writer, but he is not dreaming about literary prizes. The former political prisoner appreciates more the readers’ acclaim, which was proved today by a crowded hall at the Belarusian Popular Front’s office in Minsk, where the presentation took place.
palitviazni.info: Pavel, to whom you are addressing your prose?
Pavel Seviarynets: My reader is a Belarusian, the person who tries to look at the country around him, at the circumstances of life, at his neighbor to see the meaning of life, to fix history, to find one’s reflection. This person is sometimes determined, for example, in his Belarusianness, sometimes unconfident, especially in the matter of faith.
palitviazni.info: Why do political prisoners who had never been linked to creativity and journalism when in prison are turning to literature, start writing books?
Pavel Seviarynets: If a person loses external freedom, he begins to look for inner freedom. In prison, people often find their calling: to share with others, to write, to comprehend, to speak. Many people in prison have become closer to God, Belarus, closer to their vocation, so I am very positive about the trend of prison prose. Belarusians pass through outer unfreedom to be released inside.
palitviazni.info: In your opinion, do Belarusians read prison prose? Can literature affect solidarity with the prisoners?
Pavel Seviarynets: Don’t count out a prison cell, a begging bowl may come as well. Therefore Belarusians read about the tough prison routine, with a view to know: How is it there? When I get there, can I survive? Will I be able to cope with it? When reading the works by Dzmitry Dashkevich, Ihar Alinevich, Uladzimir Niakliayeu, Aliaksandr Fiaduta, people see that Belarusians are able to survive and win in prisons. Therefore, this literature gives confidence to ordinary Belarusians who have never been to prison.
It should be noted that those who attended the presentation of “Belarusian Depth” constantly touched upon the issue of political prisoners. The hall was decorated with letters and postcards that Belarusians sent to Pavel. There were eight addresses of current political prisoners. Pavel Seviarynets urged the participants to write to political prisoners, to support them with words.
According to Sevyarinets, political prisoners are those who bear their cross for Belarus, and today’s depths of Belarus is the depth of labor camps and prisons, where, in spite of everything, freedom and will are living.
palitviazni.info, photo by svaboda.org