Trestia ganditoare: In Memoriam Neagu Djuvara

26/01/2018

L’homme n’est qu’un roseau, le plus faible de la nature; mais c’est un roseau pensant. (Blaise Pascal)

Omul este doar o trestie, cea mai fragilă din natură; dar este o trestie gânditoare. (Blaise Pascal)

 

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In memoriam Virgil Ierunca

28/09/2017

Why does Virgil Ierunca matter? Because in times of dishonesty and cowardice, he was honest and courageous. Because in times of capitulation, he refused to tremble, to waver, and to bow. Because he had a hierarchy of values which has turned out to have been the right one. He passed away on September 28, 2006. He was a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Cmmunist Dictatorship in Romania. Together with his wife and closest friend, Monica Lovinescu, he was the voice of hour hope. Whenever people tell me that we did not have a Milosz, a Camus, or a Havel, I respond that they are wrong. We had Monica and Virgil. Blessed be their memory and may we live up to their legacies!


Cosmopolis: In Memoriam Mihnea Berindei

16/04/2017

“I would like to show that within the countries englobed into the Eastern Empire life hides lots of mysteries.” (Czesław Miłosz). In the image: the journal “L’autre Europe,” my mother in our Philadelphia apartment on Locust Street (1988), and a matchbox from Hotel Bristol in Warsaw. I dedicate this post to the memory of my friend, historian Mihnea Berindei (1948-2016) who was one the journal’s editors. In 2006, Mihnea was a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania…

 

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Noblete si generozitate: In Memoriam Mihnea Berindei

19/06/2016

I mourn here here the loss of a dear friend, historian and public intellectual Mihnea Berindei (1948-2016). I have known Mihnea since 1985, we have been involved in numerous anti-totalitarian activities. He was the soul of the democratic exile in Paris, closely linked to Soviet and East European dissident circles. He invited me to contribute to journals such as “La nouvelle alternative” and “L’autre Europe.” He organized solidarity campaigns with Paul Goma, Vasile Paraschiv, Doina Cornea, Mihai Botez, Radu Filipescu, Dorin Tudoran and other dissidents. He arrived in Bucharest immediately after the fall of the Ceausescu regime and participated in the creation of the Group for Social Dialogue and its weekly, “22.” He co-authored an impressively documented and immensely illuminating book about the June 1990 state-backed violent repression of Romania’s emerging civil society. In 2006, Mihnea served as a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. Words cannot describe his total commitment to the writing of the Final Report.

A few years ago, in Paris, Mihnea accompanied Horia Patapievici, Mircea Mihaies, and me to Monica Lovinescu’s and Virgil Ierinca’s house on Rure Francois Pinton. Graciously, he gave us permission to choose, each of us, one book from the late couple’s legendary library. I chose Boris Souvarine’s “Staline” with Monica’s annotations. Two features merged in Mihnea’s marvelous personality: noblesse and largesse. I was the beneficiary of both. In May 2012, when the ten PM Victor Ponta fired Ionan Stanomir and me from the leadership of the Institute the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, Mihnea resigned from the Sceintific Board, together with all the other members. Mary Sladek and me extend our deepest sympathy to Catherine and Vlad. Mihnea Berindei’s name belongs to the history of honor in Romania. May he rest in peace!


Un pays égaré…

07/05/2016

O țară in care domnesc mediocritatea insolentă, trăncăneala incontinentă, xenofobia imbecilă, cinismul impertinent, amatorismul pseudo-academic, nombrilismul agresiv, lașitatea morală, furtul intelectual, cinismul nerușinat și amnezia istorică, este o țară rătăcită. Păcat de cei onești si valoroși (nu sunt puțini!) care suferă consecințele sinistre ale acestei tragice stări de fapt. Din aceste motive am plecat din România in 1981. Nu regret că am făcut-o. Si ii voi sustine contre vents et marées pe ce care se confruntă cu ceea ce-am trăit si eu. Cam cu un an inaintea plecarii, directorul mini-laboratorului de sociologie unde lucram, mi-a spus, legat de un concurs de promovare la care aveam sanse absolute, doctor fiind, in raport cu personaj care nici măcar nu se inscrisese la doctorat: “Dacă ar fi pe valoare, ar fi locul tau, dar nu este!” Peste nu mult timp, eu imi porneam itinerariul intelectual occidental, iar personajul era angajat, i. e., recrutat ca “asistent universitar” la scoala Securitatii. A bon entendeur, salut!


Despre Emil Cioran: La jeunesse comme péché…

08/04/2016

“Pour reprendre le diagnostic de Cioran lui-même, je dirais que son péché de jeunesse, c’est la jeunesse comme péché. Dans un texte du début des années 1950, Cioran écrit : « À l’époque où j’étais jeune, toute l’Europe croyait à la jeunesse. Ce sont les jeunes qui promeuvent les doctrines d’intolérance et les mettent en pratique, ce sont eux qui ont besoin de sang, de cris, de tumulte et de barbarie. » Il me semble que Cioran met le doigt sur ce qu’a été le grand malheur du XXe siècle. Un malheur prophétisé par Dostoïevski dans cette conversation des Possédés où Piotr Verkhovensky demande aux conjurés ce qu’ils préfèrent : patauger dans le marécage à une allure de tortue ou le traverser à toute vapeur. Un « collégien enthousiasmé » lui répond : « Moi, je suis pour le traverser à toute vapeur ! » Cioran a été ce collégien enthousiasmé. Il a également cédé à l’historicisme. Il reviendra sur cette illusion dans ses Cahiers : « N’exigez pas de moi de croire que l’Histoire ait un sens et l’humanité un avenir. L’homme passera de difficulté en difficulté et il en sera ainsi jusqu’à ce qu’il en crève. » Par là, on voit que toute son œuvre est une méditation critique sur ce délire inaugural.” (Alain Finkielkraut)

 

Emil (E. M.) Cioran, Eugène Ionesco and Mircea Eliade

 


Alchimia memoriei: Acesta a fost Cornel Chiriac…

28/02/2016
Poate pentru ca am fost prins in aceste ultime zile intr-un continuu exercitiu de nostalgie micro-macro ale carui rezultate se vor vedea, sper, nu peste mult timp, mi-a revenit in minte vocea lui Cornel Chiriac. Cand totul era vulgar, strident si fals in jur, cand kitsch-ul patriotard triumfa obscen la “Cenaclul Flacara al Tineretului Revolutionar”, acel creuzet al spalarii pe creier, cand cuvinte generoase precum “popor” si “tara” erau corupte pana la a deveni opusul sensului lor civic real, de la Radio Europa Libera veneau semnele nornalitatii estetice si etice. Prin Cornel Chiriac, multi din generatiile nascute, sa zicem, intre 1950 si 1965 am fost sincroni cu spiritul revoltei din societatile industriale avansate. Un spirit care nu era catusi de putin strain de acela al revoltelor studentesti la Varsovia si Zagreb precum si de Primavara de la Praga. Cornel Chiriac a fost ucis pe 4 martie 1975.