Saturday, March 19, 2016

Teacher Fired for Poem

By Stephen Wilson

(Moscow, Russia) ----- Aleksander Bivshev, a German teacher, was fired and forbidden from teaching in his profession for two years. The reason for his dismissal was not incompetence at his work or committing crimes but simply writing a politically inspired poem which some people found 'disagreeable'! On the 13th of July, 2015, Kromski court found Bivshev guilty under part one, article 282 of the Legal codex, of 'Inciting hatred or hostility'. He was sentenced to do some corrective work, had his notebooks confiscated and was forbidden from working at his school for two years. 

               The case against him was based on writing poetry in support of 'Ukrainian patriotism' of an extremist nature. Anyone who read statements against Aleksander Bivshev, might misconstrue him as some kind of terrorist or extreme
fanatic. However, the main sentiments expressed by his
poetry was opposition to Crimea coming under Russian state control.

               Bivshev could never have predicted that writing a few poems on a computer would land him in such hot water. It appears that some people read them, complained to the headmaster of the school, who then decided to support legal action against the teacher.

               Bivshev stated that: "When experts came from Moscow to study the poems, they  came to the conclusion there were no signs of extremism.

               "And those experts are highly qualified specialists: two doctors of science and an academic. Afterwards, they sent the poems to specialists at a centre of Criminology in the Orlovskoi region. There they had two experts - one with less than experience of a year and no knowledge what so ever. They found me guilty of extremism ...

               "Even the local police who took my finger-prints also thought the case against me was sloppy. They frankly expressed this''.

               Despite carrying out such an unprofessional legal case, the prosecutors and lawyers against him were promoted. For example, an assistant - procurator was promoted to prosecutor in a neighboring district.'

               Although the teacher only narrowly escaped imprisonment, the authorities have not stopped hounding or persecuting him.

               Brivshev has complained that he had problems transferring money via the bank or post and his bank accounts were blocked. The authorities have even attempted to prosecute him on a law which forbids financing terrorism under a law number 115-f3. When last August a drunk person threw a petrol bomb at the city procurator's office, the police came to his apartment and took away his old and new notebooks, which kind people from all over the world had donated to him. 

               "They confiscated my whole  library of books from my home.

                In general, the predictions of Ray Bradbury have been fulfilled in "Of the most well read people in the World'', lamented Brivshev.

                Brivshev claimed that the headmaster has been encouraging former colleagues and acquaintances to shun the teacher.

                He claims that a teacher at Kromskoi school of art was summoned by his head and asked why he was still meeting Brivshev. "You have been seen several times speaking to Brivshev".  "What should I do? Avoid him by crossing over to the other side of the street?' She answered : "Yes, namely this!".

                However, from an historical perspective, the misfortune of Brivshev is hardly unprecedented and not so astonishing against recent events and attempts to attack works of art, burn books and generally forbid the performance of plays by Chekhov in theatres as well as the school Curriculum.

                An Orthodox priest, Father Artemi, is calling for certain short stories by Chekhov, Kuprin and Bunin, to be
banned from the school curriculum on the basis such works encourage suicide, the break up of the family and adultery. This is despite the fact that those works are not moral tracts or a defence of adultery but simply a depiction of an unfolding drama. There is no preaching or didactic function in any of those works. It is illogical to claim that depicting something is the same as condoning!

                From this perspective, 'Anna Karenina' should also be withdrawn as a set book in Russian state schools.

                In Russia, a poet is not only a poet. He can sometimes be viewed as a philosopher or a prophet. In this case, Bivshev has had the misfortune to be falsely smeared absurdly, as a 'terrorist'.

                During the years of repression, poets such as Nikolia Gumilev were executed by the Communists under what historians now agree were 'false charges'. Osip Mandelstam was arrested and sent to prison for lampooning Stalin and Pavel Florensky another poet, was imprisoned and executed.

                A return to this era would represent a lapse into the barbarism of a new dark ages. As school teachers we are supposed to encourage people to write poetry. Putting teachers in prison for writing poetry is hardly going to inspire school students.

                They will become so scared that they will stutter, stammer and or stifle playing with words.

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