Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



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Tell Them We Are Starving




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More Than Grain of Truth



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'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


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Reporter and the Genocide - Rome, March 2009


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Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


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Gareth Jones Interview Notes

with Commissar Maxim Litvinov

March 1933

Below is a copy of Gareth Jones actual diary notes of his late March 1933 confidential interview in Moscow with Maxim Litvinov, after just returning from his unescorted trip to Ukraine, where Gareth observed the famine, firsthand..

It is historically significant as Gareth 'subtly' broaches the subject of famine in the villages, whilst in conversation about new freedom of Soviet playwrights to write without censorship... And as such, from the mouth of Litvinov, is probably the highest level of a famine denial by any Soviet official,  as he was arguably second only to Stalin in political power..

[FYI - Gareth used a similar technique of interviewing two years later, when he asked the Japanese War Minister General Hayashi, "Some Chinese fear that Japan will attack North China.  Has this fear any basis?" - further details click here]


Gareth Jones Litvinov Interview March 1933


Artistic Realisation1

    "Give us books for new readers, true books, with living truth".2

GJ [Gareth Jones]: “Would describe famine in villages?”


L [itvinov]: “Well, there is no famine.”


L:  “Well, a gun would shoot shell far.  You must take a longer view. The present hunger is temporary. In writing books you must have a longer view.  It would be difficult to describe it as hunger.”




See Hamlet 4 



Influence of Marcel, Proust, Joyce is Great


Great respect for:

There are few party writers.

      - - - - - - 

Footnotes& Personal Interpretation

  1. :For one interpretation of the title's relevance, then please click HERE, where the Artistic Realisation Organisation describes it as the creative "liberation lies in the power of Art, not as therapy or recreation, but as a critical means of articulate self-expression".

  2. Presumably some current Soviet edict or slogan

  3. A GJ diary footnote at bottom of first page - presumably summing up GJ's thoughts on Litvinov's reply

  4. Re "See Hamlet" 

The exact relevance of this phrase depends on two specific factors; firstly, when exactly was Hamlet 'banned' by Stalin as the last Moscow production during Stalin's life was in 1932, and secondly whether it was an official ban ?

On searching the internet for references on this subject, I came across an excellent web page on the subject of Stalin's 'ban' on Shakespeare's Hamlet: , from which I would like to quote a single paragraph:

"For more than twenty years, from 1932 to 1954, “Hamlet” wasn’t performed in Moscow: quite atypical for Russian theatre history. At the same time Shakespeare was made an official cult figure in Soviet ideology. The best Moscow theatres produced “King Lear”, “Othello”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and a lot of Shakespeare’s comedies; but not “Hamlet”. The main reason was: Josef Stalin, who generally favoured the classics, hated “Hamlet” as a play and Hamlet as a character. There was something in the very human type of this Shakespearean Prince that caused “the great leader’s” scorn and suspicion. His hatred for the intelligentsia was transferred to the hero of the tragedy – with whom Russian intellectuals always tended to identify themselves

...Of course the ban on “Hamlet” wasn’t officially declared. The play became, silently, “non-recommendable” for the stage. The theatres had learned to catch these sorts of hints from the authorities’."

This last production was described elsewhere on the internet as an “iconoclastic, grotesque” Hamlet, produced in 1932 at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, anticipating “both the grotesque and the tragic features of Stalin’s monstrous show” (85).   

Another Hamlet website states: "Stalin's regime banned Hamlet, claiming that "Hamlet's indecisiveness and depression were incompatible with the new Soviet spirit of optimism, fortitude, and clarity" (Epstein 353). - though no date of the ban is cited - Ref:

Nevertheless, the question remains, did the play run into 1933 and then this "See Hamlet" was a suggestion by Litvinov for GJ to make a visit to see this 'last' production? And if, as more  likely from the above quotations it was no longer being played, when GJ was in Moscow in March 1933, then did GJ suspect or have reason to believe that it had already been banned and was thereby  making a judgement on the folly of the new edict of playwrights complete "freedom from censorship"?

It is my personal opinion, that in ignorance of a Soviet 'ban', GJ as a Cambridge University literary scholar, made a personal and sarcastic note referring to Shakespeare's own take on tyranny and famine, from Hamlet's main "To be or not to be" soliloquy {Quarto One), which reads:: "The taste of hunger or a tyrant's reign, And thosand more calamaties besides," - [ Click here for relevant link to Hamlet soliloquy.]

The jury on my interpretation is out - so if you have an opinion on the above, then  please email me, Nigel Colley with your constructive thoughts...


Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices.  For all further details email:  Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44)  0796 303  8888