Memento: Adam Michnik and Mircea Mihaies…


25 years ago, April 1992, at the “Partisan Review” conference on “Intellectuals and Social Change in East-Central Europe” (Rutgers University, Newark campus) Among the participants: Doris Lessing, Joseph Brodsky, Czesław Milosz, Ivan Klima, Adam Zagajewski, Saul Bellow, George Konrad, Susan Sontag, Tatyana Tolstaya, Ralph Ellison, Richard Pipes, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Adriana Babeti, Vasily Aksyonov and the list goes on. I took the picture posted below and it remains one of those I cherish the most…


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Gdańsk and the dignity of Europe


City of liberty, Gdańsk, March 2017: In memory of the great European philosopher Jan Patočka, for whom responsibility was a duty and a virtue. Born in 1907, this student of Edmund Husserl became a spokesman for Charter 77. He died forty

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Stalinism for all Seasons


The Communist Party of Romania (section of the Third International) was founded on May 8, 1921. For all its existence, legal, clandestine, in power, it was deeply committed to the Stalinist mythology and viscerally opposed to any liberal temptation. In 1956, the Romanian communist leaders rejected de-Stalinization and embarked, first timidly, then openly in de-Sovietization without liberalization. Once Ceaușescu came to power in March 1965, succeeding Gheorghiu-Dej, he stimulated, manipulated, and exploited nationalist emotions, including anti-Semitism and Hungarophobia. In this respect, as we try to to demonstrate, Marius Stan and I, in a paper we are working on, there were significant features that defined what we call National Stalinism in Romania, Poland (Mieczysław Moczar and his Partisan faction), and Enver Hoxha’s Albania. 1968 was a crucial year in highlighting the major differences between Titoist national Communism, Dubček’s socialism with a human face, and the ethnocentric National Stalinism.


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Le jour de gloire…


And when man faces destiny, destiny ends and man comes into his own. (André Malraux)

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Destiny, Mystery and Obsession: The Lost City of Z


A fully deserved superlative review of a hauntingly beautiful film. I saw it yesterday at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring, the perfect place to enjoy such a great experience: cinematography, acting, score, mystery. Highly recommended to all those who think that there is always a secret underneath the surface of things. If this is an obsession, so be it…Image result for the lost city of z

Gdańsk (Danzig)…


If there is one city in Europe that symbolizes both the cosmopolitan dream and its fiends, it is Gdańsk (Danzig). Picture taken on March 31, 2017. In memory of a great dinner, in the late 1980s, at my friend’s Radu Stern‘s and his wife Wanda Brauner’s place in Lausanne, when I met Carl Burkhardt’s daughter, married to the phenomenologist philosopher André de Muralt. She had taken piano lessons with Dinu Lipatti. Her father, the Renaissance historian Jakob Burkhardt’s nephew, had served in the 1930’s as the Free City of Danzig’s High Commissioner…


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Sites of memory: Gdańsk , April 2017


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Photo credit: Marius Stan