Engrave their names on a wall
A Jewish cemetery in Central Europe, early 21st century. More than half of the stones are in disrepair. Some are slanted, others are broken. Many are covered in the undergrowth.
There is a sense of finality in the death of those buried here. They were forgotten because no one was left to remember. Those who could remember didn’t choose to forget. No: almost an entire generation was wiped out in forced labor and in death camps – or on the way. Continue reading
The world is becoming a worse place every day, laments a colleague of mine while sipping a casual coffee in the morning. She said this just a few days after Trump was elected, and our PM started boasting how the PEOTUS loved Hungary.
For the few of us who’d prefer to live in a world without hatred, to cherish life and freedom, and maybe to help others, the list of safe places grows thinner by the day. Because when the “people” elect a crook who, with his (her?) every move and action, fuels racism, xenophobia, ignorance, and poverty – our first thought is to go someplace else where our values are not being mocked and derided. Continue reading
You, who are frightened of refugees, immigrants, gypsies, liberals, gays, Muslims, Jews, the poor, and the homeless – you, who are scared that they will blow you up, take your job, rob you, patronize you, seduce you, convert or else kill you, cheat you, soil you – please stop and think a little.
There are many ways to lose a friend. To death, to neglect, to misunderstanding.
I have lost a friend. No, he didn’t die – but almost as good as. What I feel is akin to grief. No, it’s grief, period.
It was one of those tight spots you can’t escape unscathed. We both were forced to make a choice where the right thing was not an option – or so I believe. Continue reading
From Paris, the wind brings the scent of blood again. The sound of machine guns, and bombs going off. Images of massacre. Bodies of people who went out to have a good time, and ended up losing their lives.
The city is locked down as police and army struggle to hunt down the rest of the killers.
Locked down. Behind closed doors. In fear. Not allowed to move around, and unwilling, anyway. Continue reading
Connecting to the previous post, here is my attempt at the translation of a short story by Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1887-1938).
Encounter with a Young Man
I was in high spirits: forgetting about many things, I fumbled to light my cigar, and then we began walking down Andrássy út, the grand avenue of Budapest. My beatiful and darling wife was smiling at me from beneath the veil, my beatiful darling, who, behold, loved me, and had allowed me to love her.
Eleven engineering students bounce in the Wiener Kaffeehaus, and party into the night, making occasional acquaintances with female members of the local society. Next morning, they get up at seven, and tour the largest textile factory of the town. The place is Aš, Western Bohemia, and the year is 1926.
Some say our country is ethnically pure, and that this is a value. But it’s a deception of the nation-state, and it’s neither true nor good.
I have counted: in myself alone, I’ve found four different ethnicities and four different identities.
Our government has done horrible things recently. To show our dissent, some of us protested by posting the #notinmyname tag. I myself tweeted no fewer than eight times using this tag.
We wanted to stand apart, to be excused from the inhumane policies, to prevent others from judging us by what our authorities are doing. We wanted to calm our conscience.
But – with all due respect – this is a lie. We are deceiving ourselves.