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The 18th European Meeting of Cultural Journals
This year’s European Meeting of Cultural Journals is organized by Eurozine and its Turkish partners Cogito and Varlik. More than 60 editors and intellectuals from Europe’s leading cultural journals will participate in this event, and the programme includes seminars and debates as well as an exhibition displaying journals from more than 30 countries.
By looking at the construction of modern cities and the “other”, Esra Akcan analyzes the meaning of melancholy: “In a world where modernization is defined as the ‘universal’ processes guided by the ‘West’, in a world where the ‘West’ is perceived as the subject of history, while the ‘non-West’ as its inferior translation, the ‘others’ that are excluded from this definition of ‘universality’ live through a loss or lack of a natural right. This is the natural right of being a part of this history, of belonging to the process of modernization that is conceived as the inevitable ‘universal’ achievement. This is what I would like to call the melancholy of the geographical ‘other’.”
Memory of evil, enticement to good
An interview with Tzvetan Todorov
An interview with the emigré Bulgarian philosopher in March 2005 about his book Mémoire du Mal, Tentation du bien, in which he discusses historical interpretation and its uses. Todorov discusses how the French understanding of communism is linked with its positive associations with the Resistance movement. The World War II anniversary celebrations provide eastern Europeans with a chance to convey their own very different experiences of communism.
Plastic ferns, ABBA, and intoxicated Russians: over 50 grams of brandy, the seedy charms of the old-fashioned kafejnica seem infinitely preferable to Riga’s new generation of oh-so-trendy coffee houses, finds Tim Ochser.
Imre Kertész and his time
Not Jewish. Not Hungarian. Not anti-German enough.
Although in Hungary during the Kádár regime of the 1960s the literary climate was more open than in other eastern bloc states, the censorship system ensured that politically independent writers did not rise above obscurity. Imre Kertész’s first novel, Fatelessness, was published to mild acclaim in 1975; but Kertész was not able to break into the closed circles of literary eminence, nor to dispel the distrust of the public. Now, Kertész offends Hungarian nationalists, as well as those who feel that, as a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, he should be more anti-German.
Strangeness, the state of being a stranger, pervades the fiction of Imre Kertész. As a child and as a Jew in wartime Budapest, his early years were blighted by segregation, deportation, and liquidation. After the camps, there was socialism and the compulsion to conform. Authors faced the spectre of the censor; now, when travelling is possible, the isolation brought by writing in Hungarian is the obstacle. Helga Leiprecht travels to meet Imre Kertész in his native Budapest.
In order to decide whether liberalism is the right course for Slovakia, Samuel Abraham first looks at the true meaning of the term. He finds liberalism’s greatest strength in its ability to open up public discussions and encourage tolerance.
Drafted by: Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights; Center for Cultural Decontamination; Civic Initiatives; Helsinki Commission for Human Rights in Serbia; Belgrade Circle; Women in Black; Humanitarian Law Center; Youth Initiative for Human Rights.
The memorandum: Roots of Serbian nationalism
An interview with Mihajlo Markovic and Vasilije Krestic
In 1986 the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences published a “Memorandum” that compiled the central theses of Serbian nationalism. Several authors have seen in this document evidence of early and systematic preparation for the establishment of a state of Greater Serbia, and with it the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
When it seems self-evident that commemoration averts recurrence of that being commemorated, it takes a psychoanalyst to point out that making people remember assumes that their responses to their memories can be calculated. An obsession with memory blinds us to the abuses of memory and to the uses of forgetting, argues Adam Phillips.
This year Germany is celebrating the centenary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. The journal Gegenworte reflects on the “eventization” of sciences.
In the European political climate today, more than sixty years since the end of WWII, eastern European experiences of subjugation are often glossed over. This creates misunderstandings that could be avoided by an awareness of a common European history, argues Timothy Snyder. Then, solidarity rather than national prejudice would motivate public opinion on matters of European politics.
European histories: Towards a grand narrative?
The western political representatives who met Putin in Moscow on 9 May to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II were confronted by a version of history very different from their own. The event highlighted the way in which the comfortable historical consensus long obtained within and among western European countries has been undermined after the eastern enlargement. For Russia, this will mean breaking the taboo surrounding the Great Victory if relations with its neighbours are to be harmonious.