Sunday, July 01, 2012

Havel - the satisfying clang of truth

The moment a man can really do his work he becomes speechless about it. All words become idle to him, all theories.
-John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies

Exhibition reveals the man behind the politician I do not hesitate to say that Václav Havel was the most photographed personality of our agency in history. We want to remember the vibrant, vigorous, cheerful man, as ČTK photographers knew from their work. Although the exhibition is composed of photographs of more than two dozen authors, it speaks of one thing: that Václav Havel was an exceptional person. States don't fail overnight. The seeds of of their destruction are sown deep within their political institutions. Havel in photography - the satisfying clang of truth; Boycott threats, menacing graffiti, cyberattacks: Behold the radioactive celebrity of the Polish historian Jan T. Gross

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

A complex escape with a complex history Quite Contrary

More than 12 million civilians were expelled from their birthplaces; at least 500,000 died: This is the European atrocity you never heard about...
I sit in one of the dives
On Macquarie Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade or three ...

The purpose of bohemian poetry is to make the future more tolerable… Past is just a foreign aboriginal country …

During the Second World War, tragic scenes like those were commonplace, as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin moved around entire populations like pieces on a chessboard, seeking to reshape the demographic profile of Europe according to their own preferences. What was different about the deportation of Loch and his fellow passengers, however, was that it took place by order of the United States and Britain as well as the Soviet Union, nearly two years after the declaration of peace. In the largest episode of forced migration in history, millions of German-speaking civilians were sent to Germany from Czechoslovakia (above) and other European countries after World War II by order of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union. The screams that rang throughout the darkened cattle car crammed with deportees, as it jolted across the icy Polish countryside five nights before Christmas, were Dr. Loch's only means of locating his patient. The doctor, formerly chief medical officer of a large urban hospital, now found himself clambering over piles of baggage, fellow passengers, and buckets used as toilets, only to find his path blocked by an old woman who ignored his request to move aside. On closer examination, he discovered that she had frozen to death. Finally he located the source of the screams, a pregnant woman who had gone into premature labor and was hemorrhaging profusely. When he attempted to move her from where she lay into a more comfortable position, he found that "she was frozen to the floor with her own blood." Other than temporarily stanching the bleeding, Loch was unable to do anything to help her, and he never learned whether she had lived or died. When the train made its first stop, after more than four days in transit, 16 frost-covered corpses were pulled from the wagons before the remaining deportees were put back on board to continue their journey. A further 42 passengers would later succumb to the effects of their ordeal, among them Loch's wife.

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