Friday, June 18, 2021

Beers & Books XCVI – Varlam Shalamov

“I discovered
that the world should be divided
not into good and bad people
but into cowards and non-cowards.
Ninety-five percent of cowards are capable
of the vilest things, lethal things,
at the mildest threat.”

Varlam Shalamov (18 June 1907 – 17 January 1982)


  1. What a frightening thought. I am pretty sure that I am a coward. Mostly my cowardice prevents me from taking action - which in itself can be dangerous.

    1. I often ask(ed) myself: If 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 85 years ago a Jew had asked me for help, would I have offered shelter?
      Not sure, if I had not proved cowardice.

  2. I don't thing it is cowardice that causes most of the world's vilest problems.