Surreal history…

25/08/2016

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.

Image result for lena constante images

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…

 

 

http://www.europalibera.org/a/27943737.html


Eternul eretic Panait Istrati

10/08/2016

“Bunăstarea umanității nu mă interesează decât din clipa in care incetează de a mai fi criminală și devine morală” (The well-being of mankind concerns me only from the moment when it ceases to be criminal and is becoming moral)–Panait Istrati (1929) One of the first to expose the God that failed, Istrati was close friends with Victor Serge and Boris Souvarine. He wrote the foreword to George Orwell’s first book translated into French.

Born: August 10, 1884, Braila, Romania

Died:  April 18, 1935, Bucharest, Romania

 


Cristina Luca-Boico, une grande résistante

08/08/2016

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…


Even in darkening days…

22/07/2016

At Hannah Arendt’s funeral, December 8, 1975, her close friend for decades, philosopher Hans Jonas, spoke about the immense biographical significance of her coming to the US. True, her politicization had started in Parisian exile, but ti was here, in the US, that she developed her vision on what “beginning anew” means: “Still, what would have become of that, had she not come to these shores–who knows? It was the experience of the Republic here which decisively shaped her political thinking, tempered as it was in the fires of European tyranny and catastrophe, and forever supported in her grounding in classical thought. America taught her a way beyond the hardened alternatives of left and right from which she had escaped; and the idea of the Republic, as the realistic chance for freedom, remained dear to her even in its darkening days.” (Quoted by Richard H. King, “Arendt and America,” University of Chicago Press, 2015)

 


In Memoriam Medi Wechsler Dinu

18/07/2016

Adio unei artiste de excepţie! A incetat din viaţă, la vârsta de 107 ani, pictoriţa Medi Wechsler Dinu. Impreună cu soţul ei, poetul Stephane Roll (Gheorghe Dinu), Medi a trait intens experienţele avangardei din România si nu doar de-acolo. Absolventă a Şcolii de Belle Arte din Bucureşti (1932), la clasa lui Jean A. Steriadi şi Ipolit Strâmbulescu, unică supravieţuitoare a generaţiei interbelice, a revenit în viaţa artistică după mai bine de o jumătate de secol de absenţă, în 2003, în cadrul expoziţiei „Seniori ai picturii româneşti contemporane”, organizate de Fundaţia HAR în cadrul programului „Restituiri”.

De atunci şi până în prezent, artista a fost protagonista mai multor expoziţii personale deschise în Bucureşti, Constanţa, Tulcea, Râmnicu Vâlcea şi Brezoi, judeţul Vâlcea. Fiecare nouă apariţie publică a prilejuit cunoaşterea unei opere valoroase, aproape necunoscute, dar şi întâlnirea cu o personalitate aparte a culturii noastre, cu o pictoriţă care a lucrat în celebra colonie artistică de la Balcic şi care i-a cunoscut pe pictorii şi scriitorii grupului de avangardă. In decembrie 2015, galeria “Conceptual” a organizat o expozitie retrospectiva Medi Wecsler Dinu. Curatorul expoziţii a fost criticul de artă Luiza Barcan.


Dialectica desvrajirii: Imre Lakatos si Cercul Petőfi (Budapesta, iunie 1956)

09/07/2016

Dialectics of disenchantment: In the spring of 1956, Imre Lakatos joined the Petőfi Circle where he delivered a vitriolic, devastating attack on Stalinism. In fact, his speech went further than the self-limited revisionism embraced by Georg Lukács. In the aftermath of the revolution’s crushing, he left Hungary and taught philosophy of science at the London School of Economics. He is widely regarded as as one of the most influential epistemologists of the twentieth century. Lakatos died suddenly in 1974 of a heart attack at the height of his powers. He was 51.

“The very foundation of scholarly education is to foster in students and postgrads a respect for facts, for the necessity of thinking precisely, and to demand proof. Stalinism, however, branded this as bourgeois objectivism. Under the banner of partinost [Party-like] science and scholarship, we saw a vast experiment to create a science without facts, without proofs.

… a basic aspect of the rearing of scholars must be an endeavour to promote independent thought, individual judgment, and to develop conscience and a sense of justice. Recent years have seen an entire ideological campaign against independent thinking and against believing one’s own senses. This was the struggle against empiricism [Laughter and applause].”


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

03/07/2016

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…


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