Reality Skimming
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Reality Skimming

Ack Rel: Marina Ovsyannikova

Image: Marina Ovsyannikova arrives at court on Tuesday for a hearing in which she was fined for violating protest laws. Photograph: Kommersant Photo Agency/REX/Shutterstock

Ack Rel is how you acknowledge virtue in adversity in the language of Sevildom from my scifi universe.

One might say it to a friend, stoically coping with grief, or an enemy who strove against you with honor.

It’s a complicated little phrase, but at core a recognition of a shared, life-sustaining solidarity strong enough to transcend all other considerations in the struggle of life against nothingness.

I was moved by Marina Ovsyannikova’s brave action to alert her fellow Russians to what’s really happening in Ukraine. I have always been moved by the “other” who acts when their side has gone too far and sides, instead, with a broader definition of humanity. For Russia, in this case, as well as Ukraine and any future victims of what appears to be an 20th — or even 19th century — attitude to empire.

I am also holding my breath. In life, as in fiction, I want to see the good guys survive, at the very least.

She says she regrets nothing, no matter what happens. He’s reclaimed her integrity in a classically stoic way.

I am glad to see she will have a chance, at least, to go on living the life she so deserves. And my hope is she has allies who will see she doesn’t suffer some unfortunate accident after being released. Or will help her escape. Maybe, even, if she gets enough attention for her courage, she’ll be left alone to avoid creating a martyr for the cause of speaking truth. That, too, would be good.

Ack rel. Also, live long and prosper Marina.


Robertson, D. (Nov 15, 2016). Virtue is its own Reward: The Stoic doctrine that “virtue is its own reward”.,

Sauer, P. (Mar 16, 2022). Russian TV producer ‘extremely concerned’ for safety after protest live on air.



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Lynda J Williams

Lynda J Williams

Exploring connections between story-telling and life in 2022. Author of Okal Rel Universe science fiction. Semi-retired educator.