Does a politician have a right to emotions? (Keith Ellison chokes up at a Hill Hearing on Muslims)

Keith Ellison Chokes Up at Hill Hearing on Muslims – The Atlantic.

I strongly believe that there are Muslims in United States, who got truly integrated into American society, who accepted American values, American Constitution, American law. I have never believed that word “Muslim” might be equal to the word “terrorist”. I have never automatically associated Muslims with terrorism. But I am agianst emotions in politics. I do not believe politicians who play on people’s emotions. It reminds me of a kind of emotional blackmail, emotional sabotage. There is something dishonest in ostentatious expressing emotions by politicians. At once one may suspect them of PR tricks. Even though I must confess that the Mohammed Salman Hamdani’s story is really moving, but I am not politician, I have a right to display my emotions, I do not attend at a serious public debate. I think that ordinary people, ordinary citizens have more rights in this field. Politicans on hearings, participiating in this kind of public debates, do not have such a right. They are obliged to argue, to present their views in sensible, logic, extremely cold way. Emotions in such cases make debate useless, dishonest and a kind of a show, they do not lead to truth, which may be accepted by all participants.

Melancholic trips with fado

Sunday trips may not exist without music. Two weeks ago I had happines to listen to on the radio an interesting interview with Portuguese fado singer – Mariza and admire and even touch melancholic winter landscapes, which harmonized so perfectly with her full of postive nostalgy fado songs flowing from the car speakers.

Mariza talked about her love of journeys and Portuguese melancholy. Almost whole my life I had an intuition that expereicne of melancholy is common for us all, wherever we live, and it only may be different in its tones, but never in essence. My intuition got true when I heard that Portugese fado, from far western Europe almost on the eastern outskirts of the continent.

Winter journey, eastern melancholy and fado

40 kilometres and 30 minutes drive from the busy downtown, road across the boreal forest of majestic, soaring pines and firs, all covered with thick layer of snow. I can’t imagine a week without a trip to this primeval forest. It is one of these places, where you are not able to believe that God does not exist. Silence, mystery, beauty and emotion, intuition that He is.

But the outskirts of the forest are not less mysterious and beautiful. When you add to all of these melancholic fado flowing slowly from the car speakers and interviewd fado singer Mariza talking about her love of journeys and Portuguese melancholy, it gets just real wonder!


to be continued…

Lost North Caucasus?

Today I came across an interesting article by Amy Knight on Russia and North Caucasus. And since I have been working with refugees from that part of the world I resolved to write a short comment on this topic:

I have been working with refugees from Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia since July 2006 and met among them many people, who have never supported terrorist attacks. They just look for peace and possibility of normal life.

The problem of North Caucasus poses not only high rate of unemployment, so called “zachistki”(sweep operations), murders, but also illegal apprehensions, rapes, tortures, extremely interrogations. This is everydal life in North Caucasus. Ramzan Kadyrov obtained from Vladimir Putin cart balnche and can do all what he wishes. If he or his people will like a girl, the just take her, if they want to shoot to women who do not wear headscarves, they just do it.

Pushing Chechens, Dagestani or Ingush people towards terrorism – in my opinion – has two reasons: strategic interests of Russian government in North Caucasus and lack of interest of the Western World in this part of the world.

Let’s recall the first and the beginning of the second of the so called Chechen – Russian wars. Chechens fought for independent country, they even had a democratic, secular constitution. In the second war Aslan Maschadov was a moderate, relatively liberal president, who also fought for independence, not for muslim state. But the second world is much more pereceived as a war for Emirate of North Caucasus. Fundamentalist muslims started appearing in Chechnya, common people got to radicalize. It is no wonder. Each long, cruel war must demoralize and change people to the worse. Chechens got disappointed with Western World, they counted that this mytical Western World would support them, not in military way (even though some might have thought that even in a military way), but mainly with political measures. But id did not happen so. They felt abandoned by democratic world, international community and turned to the muslim fundamentalists. And fundamentalists understood that situation very well, they just waited for such course of the events.

I have no idea what may be the way to untie that real Gordian Knot. Addressing of unemployment, poverty may be not enough. As long as there are fighters in mountains and woods, “zachistki”, murders, tortures, illegal apprehensions will continue. It is not enough to give these people employment and money, there are young men who support muslim fighrers because of religious reasons and , whom you just cannot buy. And we should remember thar so many evil happned in North Caucasus and continues to happen that “blood revenge” so strongly rooted in Chechen society may never have an end. I hope I am mistaken.

Old necropolis

Since the second half of the 18th century Bialystok (at present in northeastern Poland, then Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) got a multicultural town inhabited by Poles, Jews, Russians, Belarusians, Tatars and Germans as well. First Germans appeared here as officials of Prussian Government. As a result of Poland’s partitions (after the third partition which was held in 1795) Bialystok was taken over by Prussia. In the first half of the 19th century Germans appeared here in most cases as owners and highly qualified workers of textile factories. It was the time Bialystok when was even called – “Manchester of the North”.

German culture was thriving. As a natural consequence of that settlement evangelical church and cemetery were established. The pictures which are published below depict German cemetery which was set up in the second half of the 19th century in ditrict town called “Wygoda”.

After the Second World War, during the communist regime, on the part of the cemetary were built block of flats and was created park.

Mausoleum and quarter of German soldiers who fell during the First World War.

Some Germans living in Bialystok became assimilated into Polish culture, mainly in the interwar period. German traces still exist in the form of surnames of Bialystok’s inhabitants. On the part of the left former evangelical cemetary was created lapidarium. Unfortunately, the huge part of necropoly was destroyed irreversibly, as I mentioned above, during the communist times.

Jewish problem, PR, Freud, Edward Bernays, era of a big lie and human nature

I must confess that almost every day I start with reading American Magazine “The Atlantic“. Since I am not native English, American, Australian or Canadian speaker, I still improve my English by reading American or English magazines and books.

And today I came across an article by Jeffrey Goldberg – “Glenn Beck’s Jewish Problem“, in which the Author writes about a serious TV commentator who “has something of a Jewish problem”, and later on:

“This is a post about Beck’s recent naming of nine people – eight of them Jews – as enemies of America and humanity. He calls these people prime contributors to the – wait for it – “era of the big lie”.

Among those eight he enumerates “Edward Bernays, the founder of public realtions, and a nephew of Freud’s”.

I myself am not a big fun of PR, and may even agree that we live in an era of a big lie, but consideration of the more or less important political, social or economic matters through the prism of nationhood, in categories of the nations, does not make sense. We – as human beings – still do not learn from history, we are permanently incapble of drawing conclusions from mistakes made by our ancestors. But the truth is simple and trivial – the human nature in its deepest dimension, in its deepest core, is still the same for all individuals in all nations, taking of course into account all superficial differences and nuances being the results of our diverse cultural and religious background.

Blaming Jews for PR and contribution to creating “era of a big like” does make the same sense as blaming Jews for October Revolution in Russia, or Georgians for Joseph Stalin. It is a road to nowhere.

Let us also take into consideration that PR is used with great pleasure not only by Jews, but all other nations, I mean not also governments and politics. We may know, we may feel that PR is not always honest, but still see that our governments, our politics, our coprporations, our firms resort to it. I am not happy with that, but when I take the deeper insight into me, I realize that sometimes in my private, daily life I also resrot to my “small, private PR” in interpersonal relations, but in any case I do not blame Jews for it.

Of course, I do not want to say, that it is OK, but human beings are still fragile and weak. They will always fall and stand up, without the end.

And let’s try to answer following question: are there really any persons who do not use some “private PR” in thier daily lives? And whose the gulity?

Colours of the autumn, Lura, Kapuscinski and melancholic journey

Gentle, melancholic music flowing from the car’s speakers, it is Lura, straight from Portugal and Cape Verde at the same time. It is thousands miles away, but I feel as if this music were rooted here, in all these landscapes, I am passing by. It harmonizes so perfectly with all melancholy hidden in all these hills, groves, forests, fields and villages.

About 10 years ago I read “Heban” by Ryszard Kapuscinski. He wrote about his journeys to Africa, and I remembered perfectly one of the stories from this book, when author met on the bus an African, young male, silent and shy person. They started speaking, and that guy told Kapuscinski story of his melancholy, maybe even light depression. And his descrpition was done in such common, universal language (in sense of the meaning), that we at once realize – in the same way we could describe our emotional states, our existential experience, in Europe, in United States, and probably everywhere in the world. It was the langauage of our common fate, of our common human experience. One of the most beautiful messages of that fragment is that in our deepest emotions, thoughts, psychic states and our fate we are the same, and there are always things, which unite and bind us.

The same thing I felt while driving the car, contemplating all these melancholic landscapes and listening Lura’s music.