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?

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My ideas about Russian literature

Today I came across an interesting article – “Why western authors are in love with Mother Russia” by Andrew Miller, and resolved to write a comment below it, including my private and modest ideas concerning Russian literature:

A few years ago I read about one of my favourite Russian writers, that “he was closest to the truth about human being”. This sentence concerned Fiodor Dostoyevsky. And it is impossible to disagree with this statement, when one reads “Idiot” or “Crime and punishment”. In every of these books one is able to find himself/herself, to identify with some characteres. When I read Dostoyevsky or Turgeneiv I read it with all my nerves, it is not just work of the mind, but work of my whole being (my soul, my mind and body).

That is why I agree with following Author’s statement:

“Writers born elsewhere tend to be captivated first by the grandeur and reckless honesty of the great Russian authors (…)”

Russian writers do possess not only “reckless honesty”, but also – sometimes even heroic – courage to tell truth about human being’s nature. It is a kind of civil courage, which so often Western writers lack, with exception of Joseph Conrad, C.S. Lewis, or Jack London. They do not hide truth behind the curtian of courtesy, social conventions or political corectness. They show it with all its pain, suffering, ugliness, so that we get fed up with our reality, and do not see another possibility, apart from changing our inner, spiritual world.

With regard to another Author’s statement:

“Nick, my narrator, is sucked into Moscow during its greedy, oil-fuelled boom. He only finds out what sort of man he can be, perhaps has always been, when he lives in Russia.”

I think that in Russia we may feel in some sense “naked”, it is still a state, where one can feel as “pure”, “naked”, “raw”, “defenseless”, as it is only possible, where state, law, authority, social conventions do not prevent him/her from all evil human instincts existing in all human beings. In Russia there is a bare human being standing opposite omnipotent authority, simple people opposite corrupt officials or oligarchs. In such milieu all human stances, all human behaviours are sharper, more visible, distinguishable. If you are courageous, you are much more courageous than in Western countries. What is the price of courage in Great Britian, or Germany and what is the price of courage in Russia? You can answer this question, when you take into consideration, fate of such persons as Anna Politkovskaya, Natasha Estemirova, Nastia Baburova, Litvinenko, Chodorkovsky.

In Russia you have much better and more occasions to be decent or wicked, and when you decide to be decent you have much more to lose, than when you decide to be decent in France.

In other words, I think that in Russia, a person have much more possibilities to be more human, to be more real and true, than in other parts of Europe. And no wonder, that in such reality, great literature appears…

Farewell to the relics of old cosmpolitan town?

Old Bialystok, bearing witness to its rich multicultural past, is more and more yielding room to rapid and slightly chaotic growth and modernization. It is a great pity that it is happening at the expense of old wooden and picturesque houses with twofold roofs, fabulous gardens, 19th century brick rent buildings and old, narrow and cobblestones streets. I do not mind growth and modernization. Bialystok (town in northeastern Poland) especially needs a modern arcihtecture, numerous innovative investments, new roads, airport, but municipality should thoroughly think over the vision of the town. Local officials ought to define the real identity of the town referring to its multicultural history. It is easy to build the town without the spirit, where there are no ideas uniting its inhabitants. In fact, no connection exists between Bialystok from the times before the World War II and contemporary Bialystok.

I heard a story about a Jewish woman who was born in Bialystok in 1920s or 1930s, who came here in the second half of 1990s and stated that she did not recognize her native town. In her opinion the old and present Bialystok were two different worlds.

Unfortunately many its inhabitants do not even know its rich history. Town without its history, inhabitants without consciousness of their native town’s history probably won’t be proud of living here. They won’t know that their town’s face was shaped by Poels, Jews, Germans, Russians, Belarussians. There is a deep necessitiy to refer to its roots.

Bialystok was significantly destroyed during the World War II. Presently we do not have many monuments witnessing its rich history. Those ones which survived do not appear to be especially spectacular and stunning, but they still retian spirit of the past and they are worth preserving.

I think that there is a possibility to save relics of the past and develop the modern architecture without destroying the old and apparently unspectacular buildings, streets or gardens of the town, where before the World War II several nations lived in relative peace. These places still hold the atmosphere of old times and are capable of arousing imagination.

Below there are presented pictures taken about one month ago, they depict old cosy houses, lush gardens which one day may just disappear…

Remnants of Bialystok ghetto – part 1

I have always been amazed by the contrasts included in beautiful places. How is it possible that place that witnessed most cruel events in the world history may at the same time include so much beauty? I mean contrast between internal appearance of a place and history it contains.

The most beautiful gardens in my native town are on the areas of the former ghetto. Bialystok’s history has not witnessed more cruel period than time of the II World War, when about 50.000 Jews were gatherd in interior part of the town, where German Nazis organizied ghetto. Those beuatiful gardens, wooden small houses, old bulidings, old trees, lush green of the gardens, many colurs of flowers, picturesque paved streets, red brick factories were witnesses of unimaginable cruelties in human kind’s history – murders of hundreds of innocent children, women, men; later on uprising in Bialystok ghetto and deaths of further hundreds of persons.

Now spring has just come nad those places start again to be the most beautiful places in the town. They are still grey, but in a short time they will explode with lush green and many other bright colurs of the Bialystok gardens.

Is it possible to understand such an indifference of nature to human kind suffering?

On the left – part of the synagogue in Warynskiego street, on the right – old building, both from the begining of the XX century, on the area of former ghetto.

Small wooden house in Czysta 5 street, where Samuel Pisar – surviver of Bialystok ghetto, later on adviser of John Fitzgerald Kennedy – lived in inferno of Bialystok ghetto.

Wooden remnant of the ghetto gate between stones in Czysta street.

View of the Czysta street from the place were ghetto gate stood.

Houses in Czysta street, on the left – Czysta 5 – wooden house where Samuel Pisar lived.

Candle Manifestation in Bratislava

Recently Slovakians were celebrating 20th anniversary of the Candle Manifestation.

On the 25th March 1988 more than 2.000 people gathered in “Hviezdoslavovo nĂ¡mestie” – main square in Bratislava to show their internal freedom, freedom from fear, from communist terror. They held in their hands fired candles.

taken from Slovakian magaizne

In Slovakia opposition was grounded in and supported by Catholic Church, unlike in Czech Republic, most members of Slovakian opposition were catholics, whom supported part of Catholic Church hierarchy. After the Second World War Slovakian catholics were severely persecuted by communist regime.

After the long period of apathy connected to suppressing the “Prague spring” in 1968 – prodemocratic movement on behalf of the real freedom, Slovakian society dared to show their stance toward communist government. They started to demand real religious freedom, preventing the government from interference in the internal matters of the Catholic church and last but not least – obeying the human rights by the state.

picture taken from the website of Slovakian magazine

As in many other similar manifestations in communist countries militia extremely brutally dispersed peaceful demonstration with using truncheons, water cannons, many demonstrators were cruelly beaten. Afterwards Slovakian secret service started apprehensions on a large scale. Many manifestation’s participants were persecuted for their brave behaviour.

picture taken from the website of Slovakian magazine

Let’s pay tribute to all members of that manifestation, all persons engaged in democratic movement and persecuted in Slovakia during communist period.

******* All the pictures above were taken from the website of Slovakian magazine “Tyzden” – http://www.tyzden.sk

Generation JP II

The anniversary of John Paul II’s death is coming and again – as every year – discussions concerning Generation JP II are going to begin.

I remember the day when Pope died, it was – in some sense – a great day in Poland, almost a kind of feast. People felt united, got kind to each othe, tried to be better. They spontaneously left their houses and met in front of or inside the churches to be together, to pray together, many of them were even unbelievers. That day and some period afterwards people wanted to be together, they wanted to be close and supportive to each other.

It was even a kind of revolution – I remeber that in Bialystok the faith prayed in the cathedral when a priest came and made them leave the church because it was late in the naight, but people resisted him – they told him that church is theirs, not him, and he is not just an official who closes and opens the church. There were more such cases in whole Poland.
Some Polish sociologists and philosopheres proclaimed the existence of generation JP II. Many young people started wearing t-shirts with inscriptions “We are the generation JP II”, many of them named themselves “generation JP II”. It became almost a fashion, but fashion is often shallow, quickly changes and disappears. Unfortunately those enthusiastic declarations did not found reflection in everyday life. For several days, maybe for several weeks people were really better, but shortly after all those positive behaviours started fading, interpersonal relationships worsened and returned to the state as they were before. Still Polish society has the lowest rate of mutual trust (social trust) among European societies – as sociological researches prove.

Sociologists and philosophers declarations turn out to be just a wishful thinking.

Personally I was sceptical about generation JP II. I observed people who proudly called themselves generation JP II and thought it is enough to go to church, to be a member of a spirtual community, attend its meetings, to become a volunteer in a nongovernmental or charity organization, forgetting at the same time about everyday hard work in the field of interpersonal relations, forgetting about being honest, loving, kind, helpful, supportive in boring, everyday situations, not in spectacular ones. Such an everyday improvement in interpersonal relations, in public life, in mutual trust is still absent.

A few days ago I read an interview with a philosopher who told that feast is a short period, that feasts do not occur every day. He tried to convince that improvement in interpersonal relations will come, that too short period has passed to judge if John Paul II’s teaching has really influenced young people.

Let us hope he is right…

Has the world lost interest in Belarussia?

Brutally supressed democratic, peaceful manifestation in Minsk on 25th March 2008 commemorating the 90th anniversary of The Belarus’ Declaration of Independence; cruely beaten young people in the streets, some of them forcefully packed to the buses, arrested, persecutions of independent journalists – these events make up picture of today Belarussia.

Have Belarussians obtained proper attention from the world? It seems that answer should sound “no”. What is the reason of such a state? Is it conviction of international community that Aleksander Lukashenko has a real support of majority of Belarussians? During several conversations with Belarussians who came to Poland I heard that this support is doubtful. In their opinion Lukashenko is supported mainly in villaeges, but in towns it is not so obvious. Young, well educated people are against him, they want to live in democratic country, they want to travel without limits, without borders, like their peers from European Union or even from Russia. But do they have enough strength to overthrow Lukasekno’s regime? And it seems that majority of Belarussian society lives in the countryside – it is natural electorate of Lukashenko.

Maybe world has lost interest in Belarussia, because similarly to Russia’s case it does not believe in the society’s will to accept the human rights in these both countries? Or maybe it does not want to irritate Russia which considers Belarussia its natural sphere of interest and influence?

Below I publish pictures of regime officials responsible for cruel suppression of manifestation in Minsk taken from Belarussian portal http://www.charter97.org

One of them – Dimitrij Pavlichenko is suspected by international community of abductions and murders of Belarussian opposition’s leaders – Jurij Zacharenko, Victor Gonchar, Belarussian businessman and social activist – Anatolij Krasovski, and independent journalist – Dmitrij Zavadzki.