Cristina Luca-Boico, une grande résistante


In warm memory of my aunt, my mother’s sister, Cristina Luca-Boico, neé Bianca Marcusohn (born in Botoșani, Romania, August 8, 1916 – died in Paris, France, April 16, 2002). For her heroic deeds in the French resistance, as chief of the FTP-MOI ( Francs-tireurs et partisans – main-d’œuvre immigrée) intelligence unit, she was granted the Médaille de la Résistance.

Clive James is right: “…there really can be such a creature as an incorruptible human being, and it quite often takes a woman to be one.” (“Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories from History and the Arts,” New York, Norton, 2007, p. 365)

 2014, TF1 series “Résistance,” Cannes festival award-winner Cristina Flutur plays Cristina Luca, Bianca’s nom de guerre…

S-a stins din viata un marturisitor: In memoriam Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)


Motto: “Eu cred că orice exilat trebuie să se identifice cu Elie Wiesel.”–Ioan Petru Culianu

A stiut ce inseamna agonia, durerea, jalea. Si-a pierdut familia in Holocaust. A supravietuit pentru a depune marturie. A stiut ca garantiile civilizatiei moderne sunt mereu amenintate de barbarie. A inteles ca barbaria poate lua chipul progresului tehnologic. Nu a nutrit iluzii despre niciuna dintre intruchiparile totalitarismului. A scris un roman despre noaptea poetilor asasinati in urma simulacrului de proces impotriva Comitetului Evreiesc Antifascist organizat de Stalin si clica sa. A facut din apararea memoriei o datorie existentiala. In 2003, Elie Wiesel a prezidat Comisia Internationala privind Holocaustul din Romania. Institutul aflat in subordinea premierului Romaniei care se ocupa de originile, dinamica si efectele Holocaustului din Romania ii poarta numele.

Venea din mica burghezie a evreimii transilvane. O categorie sociala si etnica anihilata de nazism. La Sighet, am vizitat acum cativa ani Casa Memoriala “Elie Wiesel”. Este la doi pasi de Muzeul Memorial al Victimelor Comunismului. Locuri de memorie pe o harta insangerata. Aparator al tuturor prigonitlor, un umanist dintr-o specie tot mai rara, Elie Wiesel a primit Premiul Nobel pentru Pace. L-a binemeritat. Sa-i fie memoria eterna! Omenirea ii va fi de-a pururi indatorata…

Tirania majoritatii, atunci si acum…


Contemporary East-Central Europe, in particular Romania’s Parliament: “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.” Lord Acton— The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877


Noblete si generozitate: In Memoriam Mihnea Berindei


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!

O veste minunata pentru prietenii societatii deschise


Great news for the friends of the open society! Congrats to Michael Ignatieff, influential human rights scholar and admirable public intellectual: “Farewell to @Harvard @Kennedy_School. From September 1, I will be President & Rector of Central European University in Budapest @CEUHungary.” One of my first book reviews in English came out in the 1980s in the journal “Orbis” and praised Michael Ignatieff’s wonderful “Russian Album.” In the 1990s, I used in my classes his film and book “Blood and Belonging,” one of the finest analyses of the Yugoslav debacle.



I read with an immense interest his biography of Isaiah Berlin,. In the pages of the NYRB, Michael has published seminal essays, including the insightfully prescient ones, last year, on the new authoritarian wave. I met him in Amsterdam a few years ago when we were on the same panel on nationalism as at a conference organized by Rob Riemen, the indefatigable director of the Nexus Institute. We talked about civil society’s metamorphoses in post-communist Europe (he had published an utterly thoughtful review of Ernest Gellner’s “Conditions of Liberty”). For those who have not visted CEU, let ma say that there is, in addition to a “Popper Room,” a “Gellner Room,” as well.

As one who has published several volumes with CEU Press, who has frequently lectured there, participated in doctoral committees, and co-organized a major conference in 1999 to explore the revolutions of 1989 and their aftermath, I am particularly pleased and happy for Michael Ignatieff and for entire CEU community, professors, library staff, students and alumni!

Mario Vargas Llosa la 80 de ani


“Nothing better protects a human being against the stupidity of prejudice, racism, religious or political sectarianism, and exclusivist nationalism than this truth that invariably appears in great literature: that men and women of all nations and places are essentially equal, and only injustice sows among them discrimination, fear, and exploitation.”–Mario Vargas Llosa


In memoria lui Mircea Ivanescu: Despre Hannah Arendt, Sf Augustin si problema libertatii


Lecturi esentiale:”Originile totalitarismului” de Hannah Arendt, traducere din engleza de Mircea Ivanescu si Ion Dur, in colectia “Istorie contemporana” pe care o coordonez la Humanitas impreuna cu Cristian Vasile. Aceasta este cartea de baza daca vrem sa intelegem natura dominatiei totalitare, raportul dintre ideologie si teroare, problema Raului radical, afinitatile si convergentele dintre cele doua incarnari ale Diavolului in Istorie, comunismul si fascismul.

In pofida legitimului pesimism generat de experientele infernale ale veacului XX, cartea se incheie cu o adiere de speranta. Hannah Arendt, care si-a sustinut doctoratul cu Karl Jaspers despre conceptul iubirii la Sf Augustin, reia, in 1952, ideea ca “Beginning is the supreme capacity of man . . . initium ut esset homo creatus est” ‘that a beginning be made man was created,’ said Augustine. This beginning is guaranteed by each new birth; it is indeed every man.”, odata cu venirea pe lume a fiecarui om, se mai naste o data sansa libertatii (citez din memorie). Pe 26 martie 2016, marele poet Mircea Ivanescu, care a trait in doua totalitarisme si le-a detestat in egala masura, ar fi implinit 85 de ani…