Viewing entries tagged
communism

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December 13th, 1981

My mom woke me up. It was unusually quiet, even for a frosty winter morning Sunday. She looked very worried. I could tell she was not trying to panic and keep calm, but something was definitely wrong. She looked at me, as figuring out, how to break the news, and in a serious tone of voice announced: "I think, there is a war".

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photo from "The Solidarity phenomenon"

"War?!!! But... I am so young...there could not be a war, I have to live my life first..." these were my very first thoughts, and I don't even remember if I said it out loud. Thousands of streaming thoughts were piercing my mind. "War? Like in 1939, when Nazis invaded? Did the Russians cross our borders? Would they be so arrogant and insolent? Are the other Warsaw Pact allies with them? Will they occupy, close the schools, churches? Are they arresting, killing, torturing people? Do I have anything in the house that I should worry about? Any underground bulletins, anti-communist brochures?" I prayed something like: "Oh God, help us"

After few moments we realized that we were cut off from the world. Although living in a popular communist version of apartment complex (bloki), there was silence, like never before. TV (those two channels that we had then) did not transmit anything. Only sadly torturing Chopin pieces in the radio.

I was walking from window to window. No people outside, neither on the balconies or by the windows. Fear invaded not only our country, but now my little apartment, my future, my imagination. "Revenge", I thought. "We crossed the line, THEY had to do something about it. This is it ".

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Then we've heard an announcement on TV. Our general, Jaruzelski, with a typical monotony proclaimed "State of War" (Stan wojenny). Military coup. No traveling. No school for some time. No social meetings. Evening curfew. Telephone conversations censored. Restrictions. Choking up the leftover dreams for something better than this undignified existence.

I went to church. On the streets some armored vehicles, some ZOMO guys warming their hands over the street fires.

During the Mass solemn prayers. Thousands came. It seemed that everybody wanted to check out, if we will give up, if THEY will win. Some were crying, some devastated, many confused, many in rage.

This was my birthday. Not a happy one. I did not have a party. My sweet 16...

mini_czas_apokalipsy

famous iconic photo taken by Chris Niedenthal, Newsweek reporter: armored vehicle standing by the movie theatre "Moscow", and the movie being advertised is "Apocalypse now" by Francis Copolla who was inspired by Joseph Conrad's "Heart of darkness"

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZyenKyJ4c8&hl=en&fs=1]

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McCain-Palin rally in Lee's Summit, MO

Growing up in a Communist country, and being now an American citizen, this is my second time I can vote in the USA. That's why my whole family went today to a rally in Lee's Summit, MO to support John McCain and Sarah Palin.

the crowd

I grew up in a Communist, Eastern European country, during 70-ties and 80-ties. We longed for freedom of choice, for validation of our individual voices, for freedom of speach. I am an American now. I will be voting for the second time. I am Christian. And I am shocked seeing how Christians in this awesome country, are making choices based on pure convenience and personal interest. I still can't believe that the followers of Jesus, who should follow ten Commandments, are even considering voting for a person who is so bluntly (although charmingly) pro-abortion. What happened to their conscience?

Sarah Palin

That's why this Election Year in our homeschooling household, I am trying to teach my children (11, 9, 5) that their choice matters and it is precious. It will be noticed by God and by their fellow citizens. It will be engraved in their conscious forever, so they need to be aware of what the candidates are saying, believing in and living for. We talk about what is most important in life, how to prioritize your political choices, and according to what standards they should be aligned.

JohnMcCain

As we walked just two weeks ago around the Mall in Washington DC, we saw the sign engraved on the Korean War Memorial Wall: Freedom is not free. Somehow that took me back to my childhood, when I remember my grandfather longing for a free country, and dying not seeing it. I remember decade after decade without any prospects for political independence. I remember demonstrations on the streets, people dissapearing suddenly, schools full of propaganda, fear and ridicoulousness. I remember that a life of a person was considered nothing in comparison to the collectiv needs of masses. How could I vote against life of the speechless? That's why I'd rather see USA as one nation under McCain, then one nation under Obama.

Freedom is not free

I want my kids to hear that over and over again, so they will not take their choices lightly, when they grow up and one day will be offered an opportunity to choose the next president of the United States.

kids for McCain

On the technical side: why was the building so small? It could fit hardly 3,000 people and few thousands were still waiting outside.

And for the Hillary's supporters: there was a Hillary Clinton supporter speaking (sorry, don't remember the name) who decided to vote for Palin this year. Guess why...

CNN clip from Sarah Palin's speach.

Read about:

Obama's unrestricted abortion Freedom of Choice Act

one nation under Obama

Obama - the voice of the Joshua generation

Barack Obama on abortion

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trzepak

[tshe-pak] the exact word in English would be: "beater". I remember spending time hanging upside down from trzepak, and soaking the upside down images of the gray world, trying to stir at the sky above, diminishing the sadness of the surroundings. I would make the guards of my mind go down and explore different dimensions of my upside down brain analyzing this not upside down world, trying to discover new possibilities of perception and evaluating the seen surroundings from a new perspective.

This commonly seen element, made out of metal, was a very important piece of every Polish yard. Although used professionally by every family only few times a year, trzepak was regarded as a necessary contraption of every yard. It wasn't making any place uglier, but it wasn't adding any artistic value to it for sure.

The original purpose for trzepak was to clean you rug, as it was valued as one of the most precious possessions of the household. At the appointed time, usually before Christmas, Easter and maybe one ot two more times a year, you would bring your rug over it, take a trzepaczka (carpet beater) and beat the hell out of that rug. There is some logical explanation and order of doing it correctly, but don't ask me about it.

The fog of dust would surely rise around the tortured place, an indication that the beating must be prolonged till the moment of the cloudy, dusty monster disappearing. In the winter time you would put the rug facing down on the snow and beat it.

The pounding would always generate attention from the public, as the sound of the beating would bounce around the walls. It would be impossible to miss that. This sound announced almost always that the holidays were coming ot some special occasion was approaching. Baptism, family reunion, first Communion, just to think of the few most associated with this action.

After hearing the familiar sounds, people would have a look who is down there beating one of their moist valuable items, marking in their minds, that the neighbour was so early trying to start the season of rug beatings or being so late (for example cleaning a rug on Good Friday would cause a great disapproval in the neighborhood).

Trzepak served to others, mostly slightly older crows, as a place of socializing, place of a meeting, but the kids had turned it to an object of invention, relaxation and experiments.

If there was no one to play with - you could always hand upside down from trzepak and sing a song, observe the world upside down. It was a place of challenging your friends, daring them to repeat what you've just accomplished, making some new kind of twisted figure, attempting to mesmerize the audience. If you had no other talents, but the art of stretching and making strange twists out of your body limbs, you could use trzepak as a platform for your show. If I wanted to play in jumping rubber band and there was no one around, I would kindly include trzepak and the tree trunk as my static holders for the rubber band. You could also make a quite fancy puppet show for those not discovered puppet animators and kids hungry for more cultural entertainment.

I can still feel the coldness, which felt almost cruel and unwelcoming, and the metallic smell of the bars. They were smooth in touch, rubbed of by the hundreds of other hands and those victim rugs. I remember sitting on it while eating ice cream at summer times. I remember looking at it through the window in the winter times trying to spot any birds which might rest for a while in our closed yard. I remember beating my rug too.

It seems very strange to me how this particular object is imprinted in my childhood memories, especially the smell and touch associated with it.

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in the shadows of gray

Reminiscing is not easy. Sipping my cup of tea, I'm trying to distinguish between the reality that was awaiting me and the far surpassed life given me as a gift I don't deserve. I came to this world as a rather fearful, somewhat disoriented, internally intrigued and at the same time outwardly sound-minded heart. My first memory is saturated with the color of gray walls in the building where I spent the first years of my earthly pilgrimage. The beam of lights cutting through this deserted place are also present in my memories, invigorating the sadness and overwhelming heaviness.

My mom and I lived in an old building surrounded by 3 sides with similar giant, obscure, upraised old German apartments. These ancient dominating buildings were always there and everywhere. My apartment was on the third floor. From the balcony, I could see another gray giant, with it's windows starring at me.

Some windows were inhabited by people recognizable to this small gray community. One window had a man with a loud puzon (trombone). The man would practice daily at different times of the day. I don't even know if he belonged to some orchestra or was it just his hobby. His window seemed loudly disturbing. The lace curtains decorating it would fly open quite often, revealing pieces of old-fashion furniture. But there was not enough light in our yard to distinguish the interiors of his living place.

There was another interesting window across. This one was always occupied by someone from the family. Mostly by the mother and one of the daughters. It was incredibly amazing how they could be so well informed about the whereabouts of most of the occupants just from observing and watching. They were mobilized if a new person would pass by, they would be vigilant at evening times, they would listen attentively to the echoes of the voices bouncing in between the buildings, trying to decipher the meaning of the words, to feed their hunger for gossips. I was thinking often, when do they have time to cook, to clean and to do other "normal" things of life. They were probably bored. They were waiting with anticipation for something great or even less then great to happen. Something that would change the monotonous existence within the scratched walls.

Every time I stood in front of these buildings I was diminished and conquered by their firm and depressive presence. They reminded me of the times we lived in. These old tenement houses supported the idea of the ruling system, proclaiming loudly the common share, common property, common life as a massive blurb of otherwise not important individuals, working for the better tomorrow in the land of common satisfaction. The patches with falling paint, pieces of bricks and whatever else might stick to them in the last 100 years, were slowly giving in under the pressure of time.

The yard was ugly. Squeezed in between monster buildings, there was black dirt, beater (for cleaning the carpets) and the doors leading to the outside world of streets, cars, shops and people. Nothing else.

Looking from my balcony, to my left, there was a piece called the "Jewish yard", to my front and right was "our yard", and behind my building was the "Gypsy yard". The last one had a story and a social right to be named in such a way. Gypsy families were living nearby, their numerous children would play in there, making constant noise by loud laughter, songs and frequent fights in a language not understood by the rest of us.

This is the back view of my building from the "Gypsy yard". On the left would be the "Jewish yard", to the right and in front - "our yard".

But every space called yard around my building, was the same. It brought the same feelings, the same disappointing "luck of hope and the future" message banging over our heads, falling straight from the sky, sinking deeply into our very conscious and alert minds. No escape was the refrain of this chant soaking daily into our existence, trying to penetrate to the very bone of leftover faith in humankind's goodness.

The only thing you could do in that place called yard was to imagine. Therefore creativity blossomed exponentially. There is a limit to the number of times you can play hide and seek or jumping ropes. Beyond these familiar games there was a wide open world of unrestricted imagination. And the kids were freely exploring this childhood universe without boundaries and borders. But today is late and I need to go to sleep...

These 3 picture are not of the place where I actually lived, but were taken in Poland and depict accurately the feeling of the times.

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