FROM METTA SPENCER: IN DEFENSE OF MY RUSSIAN FRIENDS:
(flyer for vigil at Queen’s Park, Toronto, December 17, 1983)
Three weeks ago I visited the independent Soviet peace committee—the “Group to Establish Trust.” My account of that moving visit was published last Saturday in the Toronto Star. They are wonderful, gentle people who carefully obey all Soviet laws and do not criticize any government. The core members of the Group for Trust in Moscow have lost their professional jobs and are streetcleaners. They have no phones or mail service. They are beaten on the streets, and some have been sent to Siberia or mental hospitals. Yet their message remains steadfastly constructive; they want to overcome the fear and mistrust that gives rise to hostility, and they propose such moderate measures as people-to-people contact, photo-exchanging arrangements, and so on.
About 3 days ago, three of the people I had met were arrested—Olga Medvedkova, Olga Lusnikova, and Valerii Godyak. They had tried to stand outside the courthouse during the trial of another member, Oleg Radzinsky, in October. They had been taken away by the police, then forced into a truck. They refused to get into the truck and sat on the floor instead. For this some (or perhaps all 3) are charged with “resisting a police officer” and will be given between 1 and 6 years of prison. The first trial will occur within 10 days—that of Olga Medvedkova, a splendid 33 year old geographer and the mother of an 8 year old son.
On Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1:00 pm, some of us will demonstrate in front of Queen’s Park on their behalf. We’d like your support there, since it is known that such public manifestations have an impact on the Soviet officials and often result in a shorter prison sentence. The placards should be civil and not hostile, however. We do not want to be categorized as similar to the “Peace Through strength” people, and we do not want them to participate. I suggest such a slogan as, “We support the official and unofficial Soviet peace movement.”
I would also ask you to endorse this letter: