November 19, 2003

Too tired

I'm feeling a bit burnt out tonight, so a short post. I found this piece from KurdishMedia.Com on alleged Ba'athist spies in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdish Democratic Party of interest. The author, a Dr. Rebwar Fatah, looks at the implications, and the potential damage, to Kurdish society. After proposing several different means of investigating the charges, he concludes,

The objective is not only to give the spies a chance to defend themselves, but also to allow the truth to be revealled. The democratic process would set a precedent which would no doubt contribute to the development of a civil society in Kurdistan.

He also notes what the dangers of not proceeding in this manner:

Unless the "spy affair" is dealt with professionally and publicly according to the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’, there will be serious consequences on Kurdish society. The problem will not go away with the political parties putting their heads in the sand and the spies shedding crocodile tears. The issue raises a number of very serious questions and people are reluctant to trust the political leadership. Until credible and honest answers are provided by the political leadership, this mistrust is unlikely to disappear.


Meanwhile, Cinderella Blogger Feller, back from a hiatus, has been tracking the situation in Georgia (the old world version) -- there are earlier posts, but I think one can start here and scroll up to get the flavor of it. It's really amazing -- how much goes on in the world that one misses, particularly if one relies solely on one's hometown newspaper...

Finally, I should write something on Viktor Shklovsky one of these days. He was a Russian emigre; while in Berlin he wrote an experimental novel that actually works (well, experimental -- it's a collection of letters, like Les Liaisons Dangereuses), called Zoo Or Letters Not About Love (amazingly, the translation appears to be back in print!). Elsa Triolet, another emigre in Berlin whom Shklovsky loved, forbid him to send her letters about love. So he wrote other things...well, here's a sample from letter nine:

You gave me two assignments.

1) Not to call you. 2) Not to see you.

So now I'm a busy man.

There's still a third assignment: not to think of you. But that one you overlooked.

Poor Shklovsky. Elsa -- Alya in the book -- becomes for him much more than just a woman. To him, the exile, she becomes all that he has given up by going to Germany. What makes the novel so pathetic -- so effective -- is that the recognizes his pathos, the unfair expectations he has of her, yet he can't quite help himself. In real life, Triolet went on to marry the unreadable surrealist-cum-Stalinist poet Louis Aragon; from the relative safety of France, she got to participate in her husband's monstrous project of justifying totalitarianism. Shklovsky returned to Russia, and managed to be a successful literary critic despite the limitations imposed on him by living in that same totalitarian system.

The third letter in the book, Alya's second, in which she asks Shklovsky not to write about love, she tells him,

I'm writing in bed, because yesterday I went dancing. Now I'm going to take a bath. Perhaps we'll see each other today.

Shklovsky adds, "The letter is tired." So am I, I'm afraid, so I'll end this here...

Posted by Ideofact at November 19, 2003 11:25 PM