Former Soviet Prisoner Natan Sharansky Offers Five Tips for Coping Under Quarantine
JNS.org – Human-rights activist, world-famous refusenik and former chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky shared some pointers to help people get through coronavirus-related quarantine in a video released on Monday.
“I have some experience of spending time in solitary confinement,” Sharansky said in the clip, “and I want to give you five tips.”
The author of Fear No Evil was born in 1948 in the Soviet Union; at the age of 29, he was arrested for engaging in Zionist activity, he said.
He was imprisoned for nine years in Soviet labor camps, half of which he said was in solitary confinement, and spent 405 days in a punishment cell. He was released in 1986 after heavy international pressure, including US diplomatic efforts and humanitarian efforts led by his wife Avital Sharansky.
Sharansky, who held several positions in the Israeli government and is now chairman of the Institute of the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, explained his first tip by saying, “In prison, I had to always remind myself I am part of a huge global battle. You also should remind yourself that we are at war with a very dangerous, though invisible enemy, and whether we will succeed in battle depends also on your behavior.”
His second piece of advice was not to make plans for the future “based on the hope” that everything will be back to normal in the few days or weeks. He added, “It does not depend on you. So, try to build plans that fully depend on you. … Read the book that you wanted to read or … learn the language that you always wanted to speak. And then it depends all on you: whether you succeed in your plans or not.”
Sharansky’s third tip was to hold on to your sense of humor. He said, “in prison I loved telling jokes to my anti-Soviet guards, and thank God, [now] there are so many jokes on the Internet.”
Tip No. 4: “Don’t give up on your hobbies.”
His final tip was to “feel your connection.”
“Remember that you are not alone. We Jews, for thousands of years, all over the world, were scattered, but we always had this feeling that we are a part of a big people, great people with our mutual past, our mutual future and our mutual mission.”