Timely lessons of the past century

06/08/2018

“Official history has always been the history of great murderers, and it is not only today that Cain is killing Abel. But it is only today that Cain is killing Abel in the name of logic and then claiming the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.” (Albert Camus, quotation retrieved in the Bertram Wolfe Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, July 2017)

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Against Fear and Panic: In Memoriam Leonidas Donskis

09/07/2018

Lithuanian political philosopher Leonidas Donskis on populism, fear, and courage. I publish here a fragment from the first chapter of a book of dialogues we were writing together when he suddenly passed away. I received it on September 6, 2016. Leonidas died on September 21. One can read it as this critical intellectual’s testament: “The question arises as to fear of what? The answer is quite simple: It is fear of someone who comes as personification of our own insecurities and uncertainties, who get their first and last names of facial features due to excessive sensationalist media coverages, tabloid editorials, and conspiracy theories. Fear of Islam and Muslims, fear of immigrants, fear of gays and lesbians, fear of godless pinkos, fear of new Jewish world conspiracies, fear of Jews and Banderovites – that is, fascists in the way in which the Kremlin propaganda depicts them – in Ukraine.

Together with privacy exposed in the public, fear has become most precious political commodity. At the same time, it serves as the key to success for every tabloid. For we live in a world of self-generating and self-sustaining fear, panic-mongering, fake images and information, compulsive self-exposure, constant attention-seeking, conspiracy theories, suspicion, hatred, and bullying conflated with critique.

This is not to say that courage bid farewell to this world. Ukraine could serve here as the best proof of courage, bravery, sacrifice, willpower, and magnanimity without which the country would never have had the strength to mobilize and defend itself against Russia’s aggression and political terrorism.

And it becomes the reminder of what it means no to succumb to panic and fear both being the most desirable outcome for the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. To find the strength to resist nuclear blackmail, toxic lies, and hate crimes committed inside and outside Russia means to be on the winning side nowadays. The more fear we generate in our media, the more success we bring to the Kremlin.”


Hero, martyr, moral beacon

04/04/2018

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

In memory of Martin Luther King, Jr, unswerving advocate of non-violent resistance, murdered fifty years ago…

 

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Pentru Horia Patapievici: La Multi Ani, cu noroc, sanatate si minunate impliniri intelectuale!

18/03/2018

Nobletea spiritului: Unul din marile daruri pe care le-am primit in viata este cel al unor prietenii de neclintit. Intre acestea, cat se poate de intensa, fraterna legatura sentimentala, morala si intelectuala cu Horia Patapievici. In a mea umila opinie, Horia este cel mai important intelectual (ganditor politic) liberal al zilelor noastre in Romania. Ura impotriva lui Horia este ura in raport cu ceea inseamna ideile sale. Vreau sa o spun cat pot de clar: fara Horia n-as fi rezistat in 2006, in timpul cand lucram impreuna in cadrul Comisiei Prezidentiale pentru Analiza Dictaturii Comuniste din Romania. Vorbeam zilnic la telefon. El si Mihnea Berindei tineau permanent legatura cu Monica Lovinescu si Virgil Ierunca. Sunt coplesit de amintiri. Voi spune doar ca, fara Horia, viata mea si a noastra ar fi infinit mai saraca. Am trecut si vom trece prin multe impreuna, dar niciodata, sub nicio forma nu ne-am indoit de inoxidabila noastra solidaritate. A fost, este, va fi! La Multi Ani, cu noroc, sanatate si minunate impliniri intelectuale!

 

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High syle

16/03/2018

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Kees Van Dongen, Portrait of Anna de Noailles, 1931


Modigliani

12/03/2018

Passion, angst, and sorrow: Amedeo Modigliani, Mme Kisling (1917), National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

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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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