Every partisan of freedom will be there in spirit tomorrow and the next day when a galaxy of natural scientists and other scholars gather in New York for the International Conference in Honor of Andrei Sakharov. Only Sakharov himself will be missing. The Soviet Union has been keeping its renowned physicist, human rights advocate, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in "internal exile" for more than a year.
There is something sadly eloquent about the celebration for Sakharov beginning on May 1, the day when communism celebrates itself -- the movement whose men in Moscow remain, after all these years, afraid of unimprisoned thought. Long may there be Sakharovs to remind the world that "Russian" is not synonymous with "Soviet." Though the many speeches and discussins in New York will not cover everything that Sakharov has achieved in various realms, the Nobel committee in a sense said it all:
"Sakharov's love of truth and strong belief in the inviolability of the human being, his fight against violence and brutality, his courageous defense of the freedom of the spirit, his unselfishness and strong humanitarian convictions have turned him into the spokesman for the conscience of mankind, which the world so sorely needs today."