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…


Memory, awareness, vision

24/06/2016

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.”

 

 


Maria Tanase, prima mea iubire…

22/06/2016

 

A fost prima mea iubire, aveam zece ani cand am vazut-o la televizor, la un spectacol de varietati. Sprte a relua o superba imagine a lui Labis, ea aducea “un curcubeu/Deasupra lumii sufletului meu.” Emana o eleganta nepereche. Am plans cand am aflat ca a murit. La ceasul sangerosului balci stalinist, ea a dovedit ca se poate trai demn. Maria Tanase, simbol si incarnare a tot ce are mai frumos si mai nobil muzica poporului roman, a incetat din viata pe 22 iunie 1963. Vocea ei era sublima, poseda o muzicalitate comparabila cu aceea a unor Edith Piaf, Nina Simone si Amalia Rodrigues.

http://www.contributors.ro/cultura/roata-cu-noroc-azi-maria-lui-tanase-canta-n-targul-mosilor/

http://www.romania-actualitati.ro/targul_mosilor_la_radio-29975


Totalitarismul sub lupa: Hannah Arendt si Sigmund Neumann

21/06/2016

On his FB page, political scientist Marius Stan publishes a picture with two major students of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Neumann, accompanied by an excellent commentary: “Neumann’s groundbreaking book “Permanent Revolution: The Total State in a World War” (1942) deals with the structural framework which distinguishes modern dictatorship from the 19th century state. He was among the first scholars to discuss the role and the figure of the political lieutenant (or, in his own words, “the forgotten man”). SN was fully committed to the comparative study of politics (His credo: “To know thyself, compare thyself to others.”)  Nowadays, the city of Dresden, this powerful symbol of destruction and war, has the privilege to host two important institutions: Hannah Arendt Institute for the Research on Totalitarianism & Sigmund Neumann Institute for the Research on Freedom and Democracy. Neumann tackled the concept of “totalitarianism” quite early (“always on a march that never ends, incessantly at war with a world that it can not possess,” therefore its character of “permanent revolution”), Arendt added a much needed philosophical touch and turned it into a key-concept for the modern political science…”

Hannah Arendt and Sigmund Neumann, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.


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