Meanings of the twentieth century…

08/09/2017

Understanding the twentieth century is mandatory for grasping the meanings of the twenty-first: Special thanks to Krisztina Kós and Central European University Press. It’s been a wonderful collaboration and I look very much forward into the next projects. These volumes owe a lot to the conferences organized in Washington, DC by the Romanian Cultural Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with support from the University of Maryland, Georgetown University and the Embassy of Romania (2007-2012).

 

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Cosmopolis: In Memoriam Mihnea Berindei

16/04/2017

“I would like to show that within the countries englobed into the Eastern Empire life hides lots of mysteries.” (Czesław Miłosz). In the image: the journal “L’autre Europe,” my mother in our Philadelphia apartment on Locust Street (1988), and a matchbox from Hotel Bristol in Warsaw. I dedicate this post to the memory of my friend, historian Mihnea Berindei (1948-2016) who was one the journal’s editors. In 2006, Mihnea was a member of the Presidential Commission for the Analysis of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania…

 

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Protestele din februarie şi noua sensibilitate politică

22/02/2017

Oamenii care regretă “egalitatea” din regimurile leniniste sunt fie prost informaţi, fie de rea-credinţă. Societăţile nomenclaturiste erau, de fapt, experimente profitocratice, se bazau pe un rigid sistem de tip caste. Nomenclatura beneficia de privilegii la care muritorii de rând nici măcar nu puteau visa. Niciodată nu a fost clasa muncitoare mai batjocorită şi mai oprimată decât în regimurile care pretindeau că guvernează în numele ei. Este o ignorare, şi pe cale de consecinţă, o banalizare a răului totalitar.

Actualele proteste sunt expresia unei noi sensibilităţi politice. Am scris un articol, împreună cu politologul Marius Stan, în Politico.eu, în care ne-am ocupat de această temă. Da, este vorba de o nouă generaţie pentru care vechile metehne şi infamii nu mai sunt tolerabile. UE înseamnă transparenţă, încredere, norme, reguli, proceduri. Pesedismul este exact opusul: clientelism, cinism, jaf la drumul mare sau pe ascuns, manopere dolosive. Pentru mine, aceste demonstraţii au pus capacul peste coşciugul în care zace putredul sistem Iliescu.


Vestea cea bună

03/02/2017

În 1990, România a trecut cu maximă viteză de la starea de grație la aceea de greață. În 2017, în chip miraculos, România a trecut de la starea de greață la aceea de grație. Iar în această poveste, rolul gratiilor nu trebuie subestimat…


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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Budapesta, octombrie 1956: Despre statui si revolutii

26/10/2016

Genialissimo and generalissimo: The fate of statues during revolutions. Of Stalin’s glory, only the boots survived…


Not to sink into the mass of the depraved: Adam Michnik at 70

17/10/2016

Minima moralia: In “Shadows of the Forgotten Ancestors,” one of his most influential essays–and also one of my favorites–, Adam Michnik wrote about Piisudski, but in fact about himself: “…his is not simply a national but also a very human perspective. It is not patriotic and political concerns but my own concerns, my own good that inspire me to fight. This will rescue me from sinking into the anonymous, shapeless mass of the depraved, captive, and obedient.” (“Letters from Prison,” University of California Press, 1985, p. 210)

Image: Adam Michnik, Warsaw, December 1981

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