Sadism social: Acum 50 de ani, “Marea Revolutie Culturala Proletara”


Fifty tears ago, the Red Guards were engaged in ferocious beatings, shavings, and other humiliations of school teachers, university professors, writers, artists, accused of “counter-revolutionary crimes.”

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On July 28, 1966, Madame Mao (Jiang Qing), head of the Cultural Revolution Group, appeared at Peking University, telling the hysterical crowd “we do not advocate beating people, but what’s so special about beating people anyway? When bad people get beaten by good people, they deserve it. When good people get beaten by bad people, the credit goes to the good people. When good people beat good people, it is a misunderstanding that should be cleared op.” (see Frank Dikotter , “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976,” Bloomsbury Press, 2016, p. 74).

In Memoriam Leonidas Donskis (1962-2016)


My close friend of soul, ideas, and values, Lithuanian political philosopher Leonidas Donskis passed away in a sudden, absurd, totally unexpected way. But is there any death expected? “Death transforms life in destiny,” wrote Malraux. In this case a noble, generous, altruistic destiny. We have been friends for many years. I can’t write details now, I am speechless. Below, a concise summary of a rich and inspiring life. A few months ago, Leonidas and I signed the contract with Brill Publishers in Netherlands for a book of dialogues in English to come out in their series “Value Inquiry.” The title is: “Demons: Metapolitics, Nihilism, and Radicalism in a Century of Ideological Passions.” We completed the first chapter. My plan was to work these days for the next one. Destiny decided otherwise. I extend my warmest feelings of compassion to his wife, Jolanta Donskienė. He will be immensely, irreplaceaby missed by all the friends of liberty.


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Leonidas Donskis, Ph.D., (August 13, 1962 – September 21, 2016) was Member of the European Parliament (MEP, 2009-2014), a philosopher, political theorist, historian of ideas, social analyst, and political commentator, Professor of Politics and Head of “VDU Academia Cum Laude” at Vytautas Magnus University and Honorary Consul of Finland in Kaunas.

As a public figure in Lithuania, he acted as a defender of human rights and civil liberties. In 2004, Donskis has been awarded by the European Commission the title of the Ambassador for Tolerance and Diversity in Lithuania. He has always been opposed to all extreme or exclusionary attitudes and forms of violent politics, and, instead, has been leaning to liberalism with its advocacy of individual reason and conscience, ability to coexist with democratic programs of other non-exclusive ideologies, and moderation.

He died on September 21, 2016, of an apparent heart attack.

Infamy Revisited: My Secret Police File


 Graduate seminar today on human rights, truth commissions, and memory. I shared with my students my secret police file which I received from the National Council for the Administration of the Securitate Archives in the summer of 2006. Hundreds of pages with often distorted information about my pre-1981 Romanian life, reports from infomers in the US about my whereabouts, including a lecture I gave at the Wilson Center, with Ken Jowitt as discussant, in October 1989. The agents and their handlers were quite nervous, it was in full East European upheaval. They had given me the code name “Cain,” Radio Free Europe was “Cobra.” Many “strictly secret” notes were signed by general Aristotel Stamatoiu, the chief of Romania’s Foreign Inrelligence Directorate.

Lots of anti-Semitic innuendo in those scurrilous notes. Code name for Jews: “tunareni.” A former Bucharest colleague’s report of his phone conversations with me during his 2006 Fulbright fellowship in New York: mission accomplished, he managed to reach me!

I was deeply moved re-reading a copy of my mother’s letter to me from 1984. It conveyed her sense of fear, for me, for my sisters. Writing that letter must have been imposed on her by the Securitate officers. The way the letter starts, with an unfamiliar way of her addressing me, was a signal that it was not her desire to write it. Altogether, a disturbingly revealing experience. But an instructive one for those who want to grasp the ramifications of evil under totalitarianism.

Cartezianismul lui Ilici…


Regimul Iliescu s-a întemeiat pe minciună. Nu minciuni banale, deplorabile, firește, ci mega-minciuni. Uriașe, colosale, gigantice. Scandalurile falselor doctorate–pentru că un doctorat bazat pe plagiat este unul fals– ale unor Ponta, Oprea, Tobă și alții/altele ejusdem farinae nu sunt decât vârful unui aisberg al amoralității maladive născută din minciuna fondatoare a “emanației spontane”. Când scriu că Iliescu și cei proveniți din a sa lume interlopă sunt bolșevici, am în vedere faptul că ei practică minciuna precum un mod de viață. Pe scurt, deviza lor este: “Mint, deci exist!”



Posedații bolșevici au fost urmașii lui Serghei Neceaiev și ai colegilor acestuia. Neceaiev a fost prototipul care l-a inspirat pe Dostoievski pentru construcția personajului de o infinită amoralitate Piotr Verhovenski din romanul „Demonii”. Asemeni posedaților dostoievskieni, bolșevicii erau fanatici convinși că fericesc umanitatea, indiferent de metodele utilizate. În plus, ei erau înarmați cu o doctrină ce se pretindea infailibilă. Tocmai această aroganță epistemică l-a ferit pe Lenin de îndoieli și l-a făcut imun la orice considerente „sentimental-burgheze”.

Theses and antitheses: W. H. Auden on the invasion of Czechoslovakia (August 1968


“The ogre does what ogres can
Deeds quite impossible for man.
But one prize is beyond his reach
The ogre cannot master speech.

About a subjugated plain
Among its desperate and slain
The ogre stalks with hands on hips
While drivel gushes from his lips.”

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The streets of Prague during the invasion, photo pe Josef Koudelka

Surreal history…


Lena Constante (1909-2005) was a Romanian graphic artist, a left-wing intellectual and a free spirit. She was married to Harry Brauner (1908-1988), a brilliant ethno-musicologist, surrealist painter Victor Brauner’s brother, and no less of a free spirit. They were both close friends with the Marxist intellectual and Communist luminary Lucretiu Patrascanu and his wife, Elena (Hertha). This was their misfortune: they were arrested, tortured, and sentenced to long jail terms in the Patrascanu trial, the last Stalinist frame-up in Eastern Europe (April 1954, Albania was the exception). All the defendants pleaded guilty, minus Patrascanu. who spat upon the false witnesses.

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One year after Stalin’s death, his Romanian protege, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, feared that the former minister of justice could represent an alternative to his autocratic power. All the Politburo members approved the death sentence. In April 1968, theree years after Dej’s demise, Lucretiu Patrascanu and the alleged members of a the fictitous conspiracy were rehabilitated. In his case, posthumously…

Lena’s memoir titled “The Silent Escape” came out in French in the early 1990s, then in Romanian from Humanitas and in English, from the University of California Press with a preface by UCLA professsor Gail Kligman. In my essay broadcast today by Radio Free Europe I explore Lena Constante’s life and fate…