Latest Articles


23.04.2014
Nadia Urbinati

Between hegemony and mistrust

Representative democracy in the Internet era

Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution and the impact of Beppe Grillo's blog on Italian politics reveal how "Internet democracy" has opened a new phase of democratic innovation. The relationship between citizens and politicians may never be the same again. [Italian version added] [ more ]

23.04.2014
Ouidyane Elouardaoui

Behind the scenes of pan-Arabism

23.04.2014
Judy Radul

Marquee Moon

18.04.2014
William E Scheuerman

Civil disobedience for an age of total surveillance

New Issues


23.04.2014

Glänta | 4/2013

TV
23.04.2014

Arena | 2/2014

Velpellarnas vakuum
18.04.2014

Mittelweg 36 | 2/2014

Von Walden Pond nach Waikiki Beach

Eurozine Review


09.04.2014
Eurozine Review

Whoever shoots first loses

"Krytyka" says the protests in Ukraine should make the EU realize it has a global mission; "Prostory" documents the Maidan; "Osteuropa" warns it's high time to focus on the Polish extreme Right; "New Eastern Europe" locates the last frontier of Kundera's Central Europe; "Free Speech Debate" says hate speech bans have no place in fully fledged democracies; "Spilne" anticipates a socialist moment in the western system; "Merkur" analyses the capitalist persona: from civilizing force to the root of all evil; "Kulturos barai" ponders how to survive technology; "Revolver Revue" refuses to forget the Jews lost to the Nazis but erased under Czech communism; and "Dilema veche" asks who's afraid of Romanians and Bulgarians?

26.03.2014
Eurozine Review

Breaking the anthropic cocoon

12.03.2014
Eurozine Review

When TV regimes kick in

26.02.2014
Eurozine Review

Goodbye Gutenberg Galaxy!

12.02.2014
Eurozine Review

The new wretched of the earth



http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2011-05-02-newsitem-en.html
http://mitpress.mit.edu/0262025248
http://www.eurozine.com/about/who-we-are/contact.html
http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2009-12-02-newsitem-en.html

My Eurozine


If you want to be kept up to date, you can subscribe to Eurozine's rss-newsfeed or our Newsletter.

Articles
Share |

From harem to brothel

Artists in the post-communist world

Jaan Kaplinski's 1992 allegory of transition casts doubt on the reputations of artists and writers after the collapse of the USSR...

Making art, writing, painting, making music is like making love. It is something that can be hindered, but not stopped, even less can it be ruled and controlled by somebody, be it kings, popes, or party secretaries. These people have often been jealous of artists as well as of women. They want to keep beautiful women and gifted artists for themselves, to deny them freedom to make love to whom they will and write and paint what they will. They confine the women and artists in harems, restricted areas where they are taken care of, where they have nearly everything except freedom. In a harem you must make love to your lord and you can't do it with anybody else. A harem is a restricted area you can't leave.

Literary perspectives


Eurozine's series Literary perspectives provides an overview of diverse literary landscapes, describing the current literary climate in specific European countries, regions, or languages.

Carl Henrik Fredriksson
Introduction: The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

Read all articles in the Literary perspective series
The Communist world was such a harem for most of its inhabitants; artists were no exception. The party and KGB jealously guarded them from dangerous Western influences, and only the most loyal and faithful got permission to visit the "Capitalist world". Even there they couldn't easily escape the Big Brother's watchful eyes. Mostly they could travel abroad only in groups that obligatorily included some KGB officers and their informers. It reminds one of the way women from the Sultan's harem were able to leave it and go to the town, accompanied and guarded by eunuchs.

At the same time, paradoxically enough, the artists felt they were important. The meticulous censorship, the special attention the KGB, the Party, and other bureaucrats paid to them, was a clear sign that they were important. The writer's pen and artist's brush had some power: otherwise the mighty state wouldn't have mobilized its secret police and many officials to guard them. The well-known bulldozing of an unofficial exposition in a park in Moscow was a big event, the artists whose works were destroyed nevertheless felt comforted by so much attention. The harem ladies knew that they had some influence on the Sultan and his dignitaries.

With the collapse of communism everything changed. The doors of the harem were suddenly left wide open and every woman could leave it. In fact, they were forced to leave, because nobody cared for them any more. The powerholders couldn't afford to have harems and they had to send the ladies away. Where could they go? Some happier ones had knowledge of something other than the art of love, they could earn some money with handwork or music. Some had relatives who took care of them. Some simply became beggars. Many became prostitutes. It's not a long way from the harem to the brothel, or at least the way from the harem to freedom is much longer and harder.

In the past we were forbidden to make love to the rich men from the corrupt West. Now we compete for their favour and gifts. We go and sleep with them when we get a telephone call. We call girls and call boys of the Western world are the luckiest of the post-communist prostitutes. Many of our former harem-mates envy us. We are quite busy, we have to make love to many people, life has become much more expensive and insecure. Sometimes, waiting, exhausted in a big airport of the brave, free world, we ask ourselves what freedom is, where freedom is to be found, the freedom we believed in and some of our comrades died for. We ask ourselves, what is really the difference between a harem and a brothel, an odalisque and a call girl? Isn't the world that opened itself to us just a much much bigger harem with many sultans and emirs who want us to make love to them? After all, there is one difference: they now have much more freedom of choice.


1992

 



Published 2007-06-30


Original in English
© Märt Väljataga
© Eurozine
 

Focal points     click for more

Ukraine in focus

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/publicsphere.html
Ten years after the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is in the throes of yet another major struggle. Eurozine provides commentary on events as they unfold and further articles from the archive providing background to the situation in today's Ukraine. [more]

The ends of democracy

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/democracy.html
At a time when the global pull of democracy has never been stronger, the crisis of democracy has become acute. Eurozine has collected articles that make the problems of democracy so tangible that one starts to wonder if it has a future at all, as well as those that return to the very basis of the principle of democracy. [more]

Russia in global dialogue

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In the two decades after the end of the Cold War, intellectual interaction between Russia and Europe has intensified. It has not, however, prompted a common conversation. The focal point "Russia in global dialogue" seeks to fuel debate on democracy, society and the legacy of empire. [more]

Hungary

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
In recent years, Hungary has been a constant concern for anyone interested in European politics. We have collected articles published in Eurozine on recent developments in Hungary and broader issues relating to Hungarian politics, history and culture. [more]

The public sphere in the making

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/publicsphere.html
The public sphere is not something given; it is made - over and over again. But which actors are involved and what roles do they play? Is there a difference between an intellectual and an expert? And in which media or public space does the debate take place? [more]

The EU: Broken or just broke?

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/focalpoints/eurocrisis.html
Brought on by the global economic recession, the eurocrisis has been exacerbated by serious faults built into the monetary union. Contributors discuss whether the EU is not only broke, but also broken -- and if so, whether Europe's leaders are up to the task of fixing it. [more]

Time to Talk     click for more

Time to Talk, a network of European Houses of Debate, has partnered up with Eurozine to launch a new online platform. Here you can watch video highlights from all TTT events, anytime, anywhere.
Robert Skidelsky
The Eurozone crisis: A Keynesian response

http://www.eurozine.com/timetotalk/the-eurozone-crisis-a-keynesian-response/
Political economist and Keynes biographer Robert Skidelsky explains the reasons for the failure of the current anti-crisis policy and how Europe can start to grow again. Listen to the full debate organized by Krytyka Polityczna. [more]

Support Eurozine     click for more

If you appreciate Eurozine's work and would like to support our contribution to the establishment of a European public sphere, see information about making a donation.

Vacancies at Eurozine     click for more

There are currently no positions available.

Editor's choice     click for more

Marcus Rediker
Ghosts on the waterfront

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2012-07-27-rediker-en.html
Historian Marcus Rediker describes the sailing ship as linchpin of the emergent transatlantic economic order and instrument of terror for slaves transported from Africa, going on to discuss European harbour cities' role in the slave trade and their responsibilities in reckoning with its moral legacy. [more]

Literature     click for more

Olga Tokarczuk
A finger pointing at the moon

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-01-16-tokarczuk-en.html
Our language is our literary destiny, writes Olga Tokarczuk. And "minority" languages provide a special kind of sanctuary too, inaccessible to the rest of the world. But, there again, language is at its most powerful when it reaches beyond itself and starts to create an alternative world. [more]

Piotr Kiezun, Jaroslaw Kuisz
Literary perspectives special: Witold Gombrowicz

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2013-08-16-kuisz-en.html
The recent publication of the private diary of Witold Gombrowicz provides unparalleled insight into the life of one of Poland's great twentieth-century novelists and dramatists. But this is not literature. Instead: here he is, completely naked. [more]

Literary perspectives
The re-transnationalization of literary criticism

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/literaryperspectives.html
Eurozine's series of essays aims to provide an overview of diverse literary landscapes in Europe. Covered so far: Croatia, Sweden, Austria, Estonia, Ukraine, Northern Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Hungary. [more]

Debate series     click for more

Europe talks to Europe

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/europetalkstoeurope.html
Nationalism in Belgium might be different from nationalism in Ukraine, but if we want to understand the current European crisis and how to overcome it we need to take both into account. The debate series "Europe talks to Europe" is an attempt to turn European intellectual debate into a two-way street. [more]

Conferences     click for more

Eurozine emerged from an informal network dating back to 1983. Since then, European cultural magazines have met annually in European cities to exchange ideas and experiences. Around 100 journals from almost every European country are now regularly involved in these meetings.
Making a difference. Opinion, debate and activism in the public sphere
The 25th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
Oslo, 29 November - 2 December 2013

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/oslo2013.html
Under the heading "Making a difference. Opinion, debate and activism in the public sphere", the 2013 Eurozine conference focused on cultural and intellectual debate and the production of the public sphere. [more]

Multimedia     click for more

http://www.eurozine.com/comp/multimedia.html
Multimedia section including videos of past Eurozine conferences in Vilnius (2009) and Sibiu (2007). [more]


powered by publick.net