Best 49 of Svetlana Alexievich quotes - MyQuotes

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Svetlana Alexievich
By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

It's certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population. The literature on the subject is pretty unanimous in its opinion that the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents. It then proceeded, as the interviews in this book attest, to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way. In the crucial first ten days, when the reactor core was burning and releasing a steady stream of highly radioactive material into the surrounding areas, the authorities repeatedly claimed that the situation was under control. . . In the week after the accident, while refusing to admit to the world that anything really serious had gone wrong, the Soviets poured thousands of men into the breach. . . The machines they brought broke down because of the radiation. The humans wouldn't break down until weeks or months later, at which point they'd die horribly.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Yo tengo miedo. Tengo miedo de una cosa, de que en nuestra vida el miedo ocupe el lugar del amor.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Why didn't we put Stalin on trial? I'll tell you why...In order to condemn Stalin, you'd have to condemn your friends and relatives along with him. The people closest to you...our neighbor Yuri turned out to have been the one who informed on my father. For nothing, as my mother would say...When Yeltsin came to power, I got a copy of his file, which included several informants' reports. It turned out that one of them had been written by Aunt Olga...his niece...a beautiful woman, full of joy...It's not just Stalin and Beria, it's also our neighbor Yuri and beautiful Aunt Olga...

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Many greeted the truth as an enemy. And freedom as well.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

I remembered some lines from the papers: our nuclear stations are absolutely safe, we could build one on Red Square, they're safer than samovars. They're like stars and we'll "light" the whole earth with them.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Si hemos de morir, que sea con música.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

For a child, the loss of a parent is the loss of memory itself.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Así pues, ¿qué es mejor? ¡Recordar u olvidar?

By Anonym 19 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

The mysterious Russian soul... Everyone wants to understand it. They read Dostoevsky: what's behind that soul of theirs? Well, behind our soul there's just more soul.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Dios nos mandó la señal de que el hombre ya no vive en la tierra como en su propia casa, sino que es un huésped. Somos unos invitados de ella.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Eu sentia uma ausência de medo, esse sentimento não existia. Dou minha palavra. Só depois dos ataques mais furiosos um dente cariado me incomodava. E por pouco tempo. Eu me consideraria muito corajosa até hoje, se não tivesse ido a especialistas alguns anos depois da guerra por causa de umas dores constantes, insuportáveis e absolutamente incompreensíveis nos pontos mais variados do meu corpo. Um neuropatologista experiente, depois de perguntar quantos anos eu tinha, ficou admirado: ‘Aos 24 anos seu sistema nervoso vegetativo está completamente destruído! Como vai viver?’ Respondi que ia viver bem. Em primeiro lugar, estava viva!

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Pretty soon, I'll be decomposing into phosphorous, calcium, and so on. Who else will you find to tell you the truth? All that's left are the archives. Pieces of paper. And the truth is... I worked at an archive myself, I can tell you first hand: paper lies even more than people do.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

The history of the atom -- it's not just a military secret and a curse. It's also our youth, our era, our religion.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

At the Minsk tractor factory I was looking for a woman who had served in the army as a sniper. She had been a famous sniper. The newspapers from the front had written about her more than once. Her Moscow girlfriends gave me her home phone number, but it was old. And the last name I had noted down was her maiden name. I went to the factory where I knew she worked in the personnel department, and I heard from the men (the director of the factory and the head of the personnel department): “Aren’t there enough men? What do you need these women’s stories for? Women’s fantasies…” The men were afraid that women would tell about some wrong sort of war. I visited a family…Both husband and wife had fought. They met at the front and got married there: “We celebrated our wedding in the trench. Before the battle. I made a white dress for myself out of a German parachute.” He had been a machine gunner, she a radio operator. The man immediately sent his wife to the kitchen: “Prepare something for us.” The kettle was already boiling, and the sandwiches were served, she sat down with us, but the husband immediately got her to her feet again: “Where are the strawberries? Where are our treats from the country?” After my repeated requests, he reluctantly relinquished his place, saying: “Tell it the way I taught you. Without tears and women’s trifles: how you wanted to be beautiful, how you wept when they cut off your braid.” Later she whispered to me: “He studied The History of the Great Patriotic War with me all last night. He was afraid for me. And now he’s worried I won’t remember right. Not the way I should.” That happened more than once, in more than one house.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

War kills time, precious human time.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Lo que ha pasado es algo desconocido. Es otro miedo. No se oye, no se ve, no huele, no tiene color; en cambio nosotros cambiamos física y psíquicamente.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Everything we know of horror and dread is connected primarily with war. Stalin's Gulags and Auschwitz were recent gains for evil. History has always been the story of wars and military commanders, and war was, we could say, the yardstick of horror. This is why people muddle the concepts of war and disaster. In Chernobyl, we see all the hallmarks of war: hordes of soldiers, evacuation, abandoned houses. The course of life disrupted. Reports on Chernobyl in the newspapers are thick with the language of war: 'nuclear', 'explosion', 'heroes'. And this makes it harder to appreciate that we now find ourselves on a new page of history. The history of disasters has begun. But people do not want to reflect on that, because they have never thought about it before, preferring to take refuge in the familiar. And in the past. Even the monuments to the Chernobyl heroes look like war memorials.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Fino a quando continueremo a porre sempre questa nostra eterna domanda: di chi è la colpa? Vostra, tua, loro? Il problema è un altro. Ѐ nella scelta che dipende da ciascuno di noi: sparare o non sparare, tacere o non tacere, andarci o non andarci... Bisogna interrogare se stessi su ogni questione... Ma ci manca quest'abitudine a rientrare in noi stessi, a tornare nel nostro profondo.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Esa es la primera señal: donde no se ven ni escarabajos ni lombrices, es que allí es alta la radiación.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

We were told that we had to win. Against whom? The atom? Physics? The universe? Victory is not an event for us, but a process.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Somos guerreros. Mi padre, en todo el tiempo que recuerdo, llevó ropa militar, aunque no lo era. Pensar en el dinero era de burgueses; preocuparte por tu propia vida, no patriótico. El estado normal era el hambre. Ellos, nuestros padres, sobrevivieron al desastre, por tanto también nosotros debíamos superarlo. No había otra manera de convertirse en un hombre de verdad. Nos han enseñado a luchar y a sobrevivir bajo cualquier circunstancia. A mí mismo, después del servicio militar, la vida civil me resultaba insulsa. Salíamos en grupo por la noche a la ciudad en busca de emociones fuertes.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Chernobyl is like the war of all wars. There's nowhere to hide. Not underground, not underwater, not in the air.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

HOW DO THEY RECEIVE ME? They call me “little girl,” “dear daughter,” “dear child.” Probably if I was of their generation they would behave differently with me. Calmly and as equals. Without joy and amazement, which are the gifts of the meeting between youth and age. It is a very important point, that then they were young and now, as they remember, they are old. They remember across their life—across forty years. They open their world to me cautiously, to spare me: “I got married right after the war. I hid behind my husband. Behind the humdrum, behind baby diapers. I wanted to hide. My mother also begged: ‘Be quiet! Be quiet! Don’t tell.’ I fulfilled my duty to the Motherland, but it makes me sad that I was there. That I know about it…And you are very young. I feel sorry for you…” I often see how they sit and listen to themselves. To the sound of their own soul. They check it against the words. After long years a person understands that this was life, but now it’s time to resign yourself and get ready to go. You don’t want to, and it’s too bad to vanish just like that. Casually. In passing. And when you look back you feel a wish not only to tell about your life, but also to fathom the mystery of life itself. To answer your own question: Why did all this happen to me? You gaze at everything with a parting and slightly sorrowful look…Almost from the other side…No longer any need to deceive anyone or yourself. It’s already clear to you that without the thought of death it is impossible to make out anything in a human being. Its mystery hangs over everything. War is an all too intimate experience. And as boundless as human life… Once a woman (a pilot) refused to meet with me. She explained on the phone: “I can’t…I don’t want to remember. I spent three years at war…And for three years I didn’t feel myself a woman. My organism was dead. I had no periods, almost no woman’s desires. And I was beautiful…When my future husband proposed to me…that was already in Berlin, by the Reichstag…He said: ‘The war’s over. We’re still alive. We’re lucky. Let’s get married.’ I wanted to cry. To shout. To hit him! What do you mean, married? Now? In the midst of all this—married? In the midst of black soot and black bricks…Look at me…Look how I am! Begin by making me a woman: give me flowers, court me, say beautiful words. I want it so much! I wait for it! I almost hit him…I was about to…He had one cheek burned, purple, and I see: he understood everything, tears are running down that cheek. On the still-fresh scars…And I myself can’t believe I’m saying to him: ‘Yes, I’ll marry you.’ “Forgive me…I can’t…” I understood her.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Y nuestra única respuesta es el silencio. Cerramos los ojos como niños pequeños y creemos habernos escondido y que el horror no nos encontrará.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

No quiero alejarme de mi hijo, de mis nietos. Me espanta la idea de separarme de ellos aunque sea por un día. Mi hijo tampoco se aleja de mí. Pronto hará veinticinco años que trabaja y ni una vez se ha ido de viaje. En su trabajo, la gente se sorprende. “Mejor me quedo contigo, mamá”, es lo que él me dice. Y mi nuera es igual. Es indescriptible… Si no tenemos una casa de veraneo es simplemente porque no somos capaces de separarnos ni por unos días. Ni un minuto puedo vivir sin ellos. Quien haya estado en la guerra sabe lo que significa separarse por un día. Por un solo día.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Instead of lullabies, my mother would sing us songs of the Revolution. Now she sings them to her grandchildren. 'Are you nuts?' I ask her. She replies, 'I don't know any other songs.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Quiero contarle cómo se despidió mi abuela de nuestra casa. Le pidió a papá que sacara del desván un saco de grano y lo esparció por el jardín: "Para los pajarillos de Dios". Recogió en un cesto los huevos y los echó al patio: "Para nuestro gato y para el perro". Les cortó unos trozos de tocinoo. De todos los saquitos echó las simientes: de zanahoria, de calabaza, de pepinos, de cebollas. De diferentes flores. Y las esparció por el huerto: "Que vivan en la tierra". Luego le hizo una reverencia a la casa. Se inclinó ante el cobertizo. Recorrió los manzanos y los saludó a cada uno. Y el abuelo se quitó el gorro cuando nos marchamos.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

What would I have been if not for perestroika? An engineer with a pathetic salary.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Los hombres nunca están a la altura de los grandes acontecimientos. Siempre les superan los hechos.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

¿Ahora le permiten escribir sobre estas cosas? Antes estaba prohibido...

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Show me a fantasy novel about Chernobyl--there isn't one! Because reality is more fantastic.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

They weren't maniacs, and they weren't criminals. They were just ordinary workers at a nuclear power plant. Chernobyl opened an abyss, something beyond Kolyma, Auschwitz, the Holocaust. A person with an axe and a bow, or a person with a grenade launcher and gas chambers, can't kill everyone. But with an atom...

By Anonym 18 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Por eso aquí no tengo miedo. No puedo tenerle miedo a la tierra, al agua. A quien temo es al hombre.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

¡Lo fuerte es que se trataba de lugares preciosos! De una hermosura...Y esa misma belleza era la que hacía de aquel horror algo aún mas pavoroso. El hombre debía abandonar aquellos lugares. Huir de allí como un malvado. Como un criminal.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

When I see a garden in flower, then I believe in God for a second. But not the rest of the time

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

¿Hay algo más pavoroso que el hombre?

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Maman est venue. Hier, elle a accroché une icône dans ma chambre d'hôpital. Elle chuchote dans le coin, devant l'icône, se met à genoux. Tout le monde se tait : le professeur, les médecins, les infirmières. Ils pensent que je ne devine pas... Que je ne sais pas que je vais bientôt mourir... Ils ne savent pas que, la nuit, j'apprends à voler...

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

I used to think that if I told someone about this, afterward I would have to run away from that person and never see them again.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Atârnați tăblițe deasupra mormintelor, ciopliți în piatră că totul a fost degeaba! Spuneți-le asta și morților!...

By Anonym 20 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Yo sé qué carga es una persona vieja; los hijos te aguantan, te aguantan y, al final, acaban por herirte. Los hijos te dan alegrías mientras son chicos.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

At that time my notions of nuclear power were utterly idyllic. At school and at the university we'd been taught that this was a magical factory that made "energy out of nothing," where people in white robes sat and pushed buttons. Chernobyl blew up when we weren't prepared.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Hace poco encontraron en el bosque un caballo salvaje. Estaba muerto. En otro lugar, una liebre. No los habían matado, sino que estaban muertos. Y ha cundido el temor. Pero un día se encontraron a un vagabundo muerto y el hecho pasó casi desapercibido. En todas partes la gente se ha acostumbrado a ver personas muertas...

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

—Me gustaría olvidar. Me gustaría… —pronuncia lentamente, casi en susurros, Olga Vasílievna—. Me gustaría vivir al menos un día sin la guerra. Sin nuestra memoria… Al menos un día así…

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Is there anything more frightening than people?

By Anonym 16 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

I'm twelve years old and I'm an invalid. The mailman brings two pension checks to our house - for me and my grandad. When the girls in my class found out that I had cancer of the blood, they were afraid to sit next to me. They didn't want to touch me. The doctors said that I got sick because my father worked at Chernobyl. And after that I was born. I love my father.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

A veces oigo una música... O una canción... Una voz de mujer... Y allí encuentro lo que he sentido. Algo semejante... En cambio, veo una película de guerra y sabe a mentira, leo un libro y lo mismo, mentira. No es... No es correcto. Comienzo a hablar y tampoco me sale. No es tan espantoso, ni tan bonito. ¿Sabe lo preciosos que resultan los amaneceres en la guerra? Antes de un combate... Los observas y estás segura: ese podría ser el último. La tierra es tan bella... Y el aire... Y el sol...

By Anonym 17 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

Ma quando vado a vedere un film di guerra, tutto mi sembra un po' falso. Lo stesso quando leggo un libro. O piuttosto, se non proprio falso non del tutto vero, non precisamente come andavano in realtà le cose.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Svetlana Alexievich

There are many of us here. A whole street. That's what it's called--Chernobylskaya. These people worked at the station their whole lives. A lot of them still go there to work on a provisional basis, that's how they work there now, no one lives there anymore. They have bad diseases, they're invalids, but they don't leave their jobs, they're scared to even think of the reactor closing down. Who needs them now anywhere else? Often they die. In an instant. They just drop--someone will be walking, he falls down, goes to sleep, never wakes up. He was carrying flowers for his nurse and his heart stopped. They die, but no one's really asked us. No one's asked what we've been through. What we saw. No one wants to hear about death. About what scares them. But I was telling you about love. About my love... -- Lyudmila, Ignatenko, wife of deceased fireman, Vasily Ignatenko