Stesk po stolku / Stĺpček

Začalo to nejdřív u mě. Z ničeho nic jsem u sebe asi před pěti lety zpozorovala slabost pro nábytek z mědi. Z materiálu, který mi ještě chvíli předtím připadal odporný. Začaly se mi líbit takové ty malé servírovací stolky na kolečkách s pozlacenou konstrukcí a skleněnými deskami (většinou dvěma) na odkládání nádobí. Nebo půvabné stojany na noviny z téhož materiálu umně zohýbaného, s držadlem z bambusu či omotaným provázkem z umělé hmoty. Moje malá soukromá fifties Dnes stojí v mém bytě už tři odkládací stolky na kolečkách, v každé místnosti jeden. A také dva stojany na noviny, jejichž zakřivené tvary […]

For human beings, for Slovakia

The communist party officials regarded all their subjects as an undifferentiated gray mass: the people, a collective noun, like the herd. The officials liked to flaunt their Soviet people, their Czechoslovak people. Everything they did was on behalf of the people and for their benefit, and all their decisions were ostensibly based on the will of the people.  Weighing and measuring the will of the people was, of course, impossible, but that’’s what we had the officials for, so that they could predict it in retrospect and interpret it. The mantra of our present-day politicians and their election slogans is […]

Nebudem mlčať / Esej

„Premiér ma chce umlčať, ale o klanoch nebudem mlčať nikdy.“ „Je absurdné preferovať mlčanie, nech sa Silvio Berlusconi ospravedlní obetiam.“ Pán premiér Silvio Berslusconi, píšem Vám po jednej Vašej tlačovej konferencii, kde som bol obvinený, či lepšie povedané, moja kniha bola obvinená zo zodpovednosti za „podporu propagácie mafiánskych skupín“. Naša vec Tieto obvinenia nie sú pre mňa ničím novým. Som na ne zvyknutý už roky: zamyslite sa na chvíľu, čo ste vlastne povedali. Spomeňte si na tých, ktorí takto riskovali a stále riskujú, a predsa ich obviňujú, že sú prisluhovačmi zločineckých organizácii, a to len preto, že o nich chceli hovoriť. Lebo podľa vášho […]

The Unpredictable Boomerang

Following the first round of Hungarian election, which ended in a clear victory for Viktor Orbán’‘s neo-conservative Fidesz and which will see the new extreme right wing grouping Jobbik take its place in parliament, a radicalization of Hungarian politics is looming, reawakening ugly memories. As I gathered with a few friends from the erstwhile democratic opposition on Sunday night, we were smiling but we were far from amused. Twenty years ago most of my friends were around forty, now they are in their sixties. I am a bit older. What was there to be happy about? The government that will emerge from this election is not […]

Katyń is more than just Katyń

My first wife Wiesława, who is Polish, called me thirty minutes after the disaster, relieved to have received the news that her brother Damian – a cameraman with Polish TV – was alive, since Kaczyński had not taken any journalists on board. I was happy for Damian. I did not check the information regarding journalists. Damian could not have perished anyway since he’’d gone to Katyń with Tusk and stayed there… But now Katyń has claimed fresh victims from Poland. There is a monstrous, mystical sense in this bloodthirstiness that reflects a fatalist consciousness which is characteristic of the Russian […]

Surviving Memory

70 years ago, on 5 March 1940, Lavrentii Beria, the USSR People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs sent a memo to comrade Stalin regarding the more than 25,000 Poles held in Soviet prisoner of war camps and NKVD prisons, justifying the necessity of executing the Polish prisoners. The memo was signed by the Soviet Union’s leaders: Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov and Mikoyan; a note on the margin said that comrades Kalinin and Kaganovich also agreed with this solution. On the same day Beria received the decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union giving its approval to […]

A Great Tragedy has Befallen Poland

This is the greatest tragedy that has befallen our country since General Władysław Sikorski perished in an air crash. We share the pain of the nearest and dearest of the President and his wife, as well as of the nearest and dearest of all the victims of this appalling tragedy. Our grief must be communal, non-partisan and non-political. Our joint responsibility for Poland, too, must be non-partisan and non-political. Poland must remain stable and secure. Lech Kaczyński has left an indelible mark on Polish history. Historians will take stock of his achievements. Today is not the time for making nuanced judgements. […]

Europe’s Powder Peg

On 11 April the Hungarians go to vote. Observers expect a massive swing to the right. Hungarian essayist and critic László F. Földényi explains why. Földényi, born in Debrecen in 1952, is one of Hungary’’s most prominent intellectuals. He teaches comparative literature at the Loránd Eötvös University of Budapest and has written numerous essays as well as books on Heinrich von Kleist, Caspar David Friedrich and melancholy. His most recent book is a lexicon of Imre Kertész’s Fatelessness.  László F. Földényi talks to Paul Jandl about Hungary’’s ongoing crisis, racist incidents and the new anti-Semitism. The forthcoming election in Hungary […]