Hope, wonder, humility…

14/08/2017

Minima moralia: “August 14, 1982. Dear Olga, Orientation toward Being as a state of mind can also be understood as faith: a person oriented toward Being intrinsically believes in life, in the world, in morality, in the meaning of things, and in himself. His relationship to life is informed by hope, wonder, humility, and a spontaneous respect for its mysteries. He does not judge the meaning of his efforts merely by their manifest successes, but first of all by their ‘worth in themselves’ (i.e., their worth against the background of the absolute horizon).”– Václav Havel, “Letters to Olga,” 1982

 

Václav Havel a Olga Havlová

 

 

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Un erou al luptei pentru drepturile omului: In memoriam Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017)

13/07/2017

A terribly sad day for all the friends of an open society…

“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth. To strangle freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, stifle humanity, and suppress truth.” (Liu Xiaobo, “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement,” Nobel Lecture in Absentia, December 10, 2010, Statement of December 23, 2009, read by Liv Ullmann)

 

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Răscrucile insângerate…

21/05/2017

Dacă cineva mi-ar cere să numesc un intelectual critic român, un om care s-a aventurat in spaţiul ideilor, dar şi al politicului, in polemici de o mistuitoare şi periculoasă intensitate, şi care a apărat public valorile democratice, plătind cu viaţa pentru angajamentul său, l-aş numi pe Ioan Petru Culianu. Binecuvântată să-i fie amintirea!

 

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The History of Jewish Honor

19/04/2017
 “The most difficult struggle of all is the one within ourselves. Let us not get accustomed and adjusted to these conditions. The one who adjusts ceases to discriminate between good and evil. He becomes a slave in body and soul. Whatever may happen to you, remember always: Don’t adjust! Revolt against the reality!”. Mordechai Anielewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1919. After finishing secondary school Anielewicz joined the Zionist movement and became a full-time organizer of the movement. When the German Army invaded Poland in September 1939, Anielewicz managed to escape to Romania.

In October 1939, the Schutz Staffeinel (SS) began to deport Jews living in Austria and Czechoslovakia to ghettos in Poland. Transported in locked passenger trains, large numbers died on the journey. Those that survived the journey were told by Adolf Eichmann, the head of the Gestapo’s Department of Jewish Affairs: “There are no apartments and no houses – if you build your homes you will have a roof over your head.”

In Warsaw all 22 entrances to the ghetto were sealed. The German authorities allowed a Jewish Council (Judenrat) of 24 men to form its own police to maintain order in the ghetto. The Judenrat was also responsible for organizing the labour battalions demanded by the German authorities. Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto were so bad that between 1940 and 1942 an estimated 100,000 Jews died of starvation and disease in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Anielewicz returned to Warsaw where he attempted to organize resistance to the Nazi occupation and in November 1942 was elected as chief commander of the Jewish Fighter Organization in the ghetto.

Between 22nd July and 3rd October 1942, 310,322 Jews were deported from the Warsaw ghetto to extermination camps. Information got back to the ghetto what was happening to those people and it was decided to resist any further attempts at deportation. In January 1943, Heinrich Himmler gave instructions for Warsaw to be “Jew free” by Hitler’s birthday on 20th April.

Anielewicz now played a prominent role in organizing resistance in Warsaw. On 19th April 1943, the Waffen SS entered the ghetto. Although though only had two machine-guns, fifteen rifles and 500 pistols, the Jews opened fire on the soldiers. They also attacked them with grenades and petrol bombs. The Germans took heavy casualties on the first day and the Warsaw military commander, Brigadier-General Jürgen Stroop, ordered his men to retreat. He then gave instructions for all the buildings in the ghetto to be set on fire.

As people fled from the fires they were rounded up and deported to the extermination camp at Treblinka. The ghetto fighters continued the battle from the cellars and attics of Warsaw. On 8th May the Germans began using poison gas on the insurgents in the last fortified bunker. About a hundred men and women escaped into the sewers but the rest were killed by the gas, including Mordechai Anielewicz. See More

 

 

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Havel’s Lesson…

17/04/2017

In these dark times, let’s remember the luminous words of a man who refused to live within a lie and fearlessly opposed any form of human humiliation! Václav Havel’s address to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, March 8, 1994. “I have come from a land that did not enjoy freedom and democracy for almost sixty years. You will perhaps believe me when I say that it is this historical experience that has allowed me to respond at the deepest level to the revolutionary meaning of European integration today. And perhaps you will believe me when I say that the very depth of that experience compels me to …express concern for the proper outcome of this process and to consider ways to strengthen it and make it irreversible. Allow me, in conclusion, to thank you for approving the Europe Agreement on the association of the Czech Republic with the European Union two weeks after it was signed. In doing so, you have shown that you are not indifferent to the fate of my country.”

 

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To The Castle and Back- VACLAV HAVEL (Translated by Paul Wilson)


Pentru Radu Filipescu: La Mulți Ani cu noroc, bucurii şi sănătate!

27/12/2016

Many happy returns, dear Radu Filipescu! For those who don’t know or have forgotten, Radu is one of the main Romanian dissidents. Born: December 26, 1956 (age 60), Târgu Mureș, Romania, the young engineer Radu Filipescu was one of those who heroically resisted Ceausescu’s terror. He acted alone, but he knew he was not alone. Like the members of the White Rose resistance group in Nazi Germany, he distributed leaflets denouncing the tyranny. He was arrested and jailed. A founding member of the Group for Social Dialogue, Radu Filipescu served as a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania. Never acerbic, caustic, or bitter, Radu embodies good faith, moral clarity, and civic courage.

 

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Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu sau imaculata noblețe a suferinței

17/12/2016

Pentru Ana Blandiana, in memoria lui Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu, preşedintele Asociației Foştilor Deținuți Politici, membru al Comisiei Prezidențiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din România, luptător devotat pentru dreptate, adevăr, onoare şi cinste. A fost un militant civic pentru care au existat un număr de valori care nu puteau fi nici negociate, nici terfelite. A petrecut ani grei in temnițele comuniste pentru faptul că a refuzat să pactizeze cu forțele Răului totalitar. A fost un democrat sincer, un om de o căldură şi de o generozitate unice. A fost ținta unor calomnii imunde, a unor atacuri abjecte venite din partea foştilor săi torționari şi aliaților lor actuali, dintre care unii se pretind “anti-comunişti”. S-au folosit impotriva sa cele mai mizerabile forme de dezinformare. Au crezut agentii Răului că-i vor frânge voința de libertate. S-au inşelat insa lamentabil.

In anul 2008, editura Polirom a publicat volumele de amintiri “Marturie si document” (volumul al doilea al memoriilor a apărut cu puțin inaintea stingerii sale din viată). A scris aceste cărti pentru că a crezut, asemeni Monicăi Lovinescu şi lui Virgil Ierunca, in datoria absolută de a depune marturie: “…am o datorie sfântă față de prietenii si colegii mei de suferință, față de cei ucişi de securişti sau de temniceri şi față de muntii de suferință şi de teroare indurați de poporul român in perioada tiraniei comuniste. Cu atât mai mult cu cât, de 17 ani incoace, se aplică tot mai concertat o adevărată strategie a ascunderii sau a uitării programatice şi chiar a uitării ororilor si crimelor comunismului. … N-am avut tinerețe, insă am dobândit cel mai paradoxal titlu de noblețe din istoria umanitații, cel de detinut politic. Acest titlu işi revendică nobletea, deoarece nu poate fi obținut cu bani! Pentru a-l fi avut, incercările erau insă atât de grele, incât costau adesea viața; cei care l-au primit nu l-au dorit şi nu l-au cerut, iar cei care l-au acordat nu şi-au dat seama că ne innobilează, ci au crezut exact contrariul”. Pe data de 27 mai 2008, dl Ticu Dumitrescu mi-a scris o dedicație, una dintre cele mai mişcătoare pe care le-am primit vreodată, in care mă numea “autorul inteligent şi documentat al unor cărti esențiale intru cunoaşterea si condamnarea comunismului”. Sunt cuvinte care mă obligă pentru veşnicie…

Arunci când unii isi fac un titlu de glorie din “demitizarea” demersului condamnării comunismului, vorbind, cu jenantă frivolitate, despre anticomunism ca “iluzie”, este cazul să afirmăm tranşant anumite adevăruri factuale: comunismul a fost domnia minciunii, a resentimentului social, a urii instituționalizate, a mediocrității şi a imposturii. Ticu Dumitrescu a spus aceste lucruri cu tărie, inclusiv in acel veritabil testament moral care a fost mesajul său trimis in luna iulie 2008 către Scoala de Vară din cadrul Memorialului Victimelor Comunismului si al Rezistenței de la Sighet.