The author, ex-political prisoner Ales Bialiatski came there together with the compiler of the book Alena Laptsionak. At a meeting in the “European club” they told the story of the creation of a collection of essays written in the Babruisk penal colony, where he served a prison term for his human rights activities.
The book “Quick Silver of Life. Prologue. Essays of a Human Rights Defender” is devoted to the Belarusian and international human rights movement, as well as to the events of 2010 in Belarus. The publication includes letters with the memories and reflections describing the everyday life and the events preceding the arrest of Mr. Bialiatski, as well as details of his foreign missions.
During the meeting, Ales Bialiatski said that the opportunity to write this book greatly supported him in prison, although he had little time. However, the systematization of the events that occurred after the 2010 elections helped him to focus on things that were more important for the human rights activist than the prison life around him. As said by Alena Laptsionak, Mr. Bialiatski sent his essays by letters and then they were prepared for publication. In fact, the layout of the book was ready by the end of 2013, but there were some delays with the terms of the publication. Bialiatski’s colleagues intended to organize the first presentation in June 2014, and a great joy for al of them was his release on June 21.
As said by Ales Bialiatski, during almost three years of imprisonment he received 40,000 letters from his supporters. Among those who wrote letters to him there was the Haradok civil society activist Leanid Haravy. He came to the presentation with a jar of pickled mushrooms, mentioning that in one of his letters Ales Bialiatski wrote about how hewanted to pick mushrooms in a forest.
The presentation of the book took place in a warm friendly environment, the people asked many questions. Everyone received the “Quick Silver of Life” for free, and the author gladly signed the books for his old and new friends in Vitsebsk.
At the end of the meeting Ales Bialiatski was asked to sign a poster with his own portrait and the inscription “We are waiting for his release“, which hangs in the “European club”. Instead of signing it the human rights activist wrote just one word, “Free!”, with a red marker and had some photos taken in the memory of the event.
“Quick Silver of life. Prologue. Essays of a Human Rights Defender” is the second book by Mr. Bialistski, published during the time of his imprisonment. The first one was “Enlightened by Belarusian Issue”, for which he was awarded Ales Adamovich prize on May 13. The third book, “Cold Wing of Motherland” is being prepared for publication.