Valeri Belokon: The existence of our nation in 200 years depends on literature
Valeri Belokon, the long-standing patron of Latvian literature, the main shareholder of Baltic International Bank, who also supports the current project ‘Library’ aimed at promoting reading, believes that the existence of the literary industry is of great importance for our entire nation. Preserving literature, we preserve the Latvian culture and language, ‘What do we leave behind, apart from language? We leave the thoughts of our people. If we lose the word, we lose the thought. Books should be published to enable us to keep a big, complete, philosophical thought.’
In the seventh interview in a series of video stories within the framework of the ‘Library’ project published this month, Valeri Belokon gives a peek into his private library and tells about his personal motivation prompting him to provide support. ‘The books have everything that we need for our life and for the life of our soul,’ he says. ‘Support to literature is my vocation and the voice of my heart. A person can support literature only if he or she understands it and needs it. It is not that literature goes with hat in hand.’
The patron also expresses his views on the role of literature in the preservation of the Latvian language. ‘We are in a situation where we need to maintain our language and culture. I believe that this is what we are doing at the moment and what definitely have to keep doing.’ In an interview with Baltic International Bank, the main shareholder points out, through laughter and, at the same time, very seriously, that all the answers to questions can be found in books. ‘Nowadays, people think that Google has all the answers, but I have to disappoint them by saying that this is actually not true. Books provide all the answers,’ he says.
The full interview with Valeri Belokon is available on the home page of the ‘Library’ project at www.manabiblioteka.lv. There you can also find six other interviews published before: with writers Nora Ikstena and Māris Bērziņš, Zbigņevs Stankēvičs, metropolitan archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Andris Vilks, director of the National Library of Latvia (NLL), Kārina Pētersone, director of the Latvian National Library Support Society, and Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former president of Latvia. In the coming months, it is also planned to publish an interview with Uldis Bērziņš, poet and translator, Imants Lancmanis, Latvian art historian and heraldry specialist, and Sanita Stinkule, head of the Department of Ethnography of the National History Museum of Latvia.