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Entries from October 22nd, 2009

Poem (LXVI): Smaranda BRAESCU (1887–1948), Pioneer Pilot, World Parachute-jumping Champion, anti-Communist Fighter

October 22nd, 2009 · 5 Comments · PEOPLE, Poetry

Biographical Note: Winner’s Glory: ” My life means nothing if I’m keeping it for myself. I dedicate my life to my country, and I want to live it in glory. I will only come back as a winner.” (Smaranda Bràescu addressing American lournalists in 1931, in New York, before she beat the World record at […]

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ROMANIA VAZUTA “ALTFEL”: ‘Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women’

October 22nd, 2009 · Comments Off on ROMANIA VAZUTA “ALTFEL”: ‘Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women’ · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE, Poetry, Reviews, Translations

ROMANIA VAZUTA “ALTFEL”: ‘Blouse Roumaine – the Unsung Voices of Romanian Women’ (O carte ilustrata, in limba Engleza, 1.100 pagini, 160 biografii, 600 citate, 4.000 referinte bibliografice.) De ce si pentru ce “altfel’? Din mai multe puncte de vedere: In primul rand mesajul lucrarii NU este unul ‘oficial’, parafat de cei care ne dramuiesc adevarul. […]

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The Best Times, This Side of the Atlantic…

October 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on The Best Times, This Side of the Atlantic… · Books, International Media, PEOPLE, Reviews

All these events were chronicled by the Irish Times during its twists and turns of fortunes and soul-searching which remains truly amazing in being able to secure a steady readership AND survive through thick and thin. Dermot James relates these events from within with the sharp eye of the journalist and his story is riveting – it is not just about the humdrum of life of editors but reflects the beating heart of a whole nation: he tells it with zest and irony in the best tradition of Irish humour. The reader is certainly not disappointed – there is no dull moment, just an alert pace where light stories intermingle with hard facts which caught the staff of the Irish Times at the core of each historic event.

This particular phenomenon of change and adaptation through choppy waters merits in itself the attention of the media in other countries which were equally visited by revolutions, civil wars, strife and radical changes of government and of political directions. Such is the case of the young nations of Eastern Europe, in a broad way going through a same process of renewal as Ireland did, but also of nations of Central Europe who lived through upheavals which toppled monarchies brought in dictatorships, suffered the indignity of defeat or the weighty burden of victory: how might their newspapers been affected? The difference between the Irish Times and its counterparts on the Continent of Europe is that the former has survived through constant change, whilst in most of the other countries, especially behind the Iron Curtain newspapers disappeared overnight. So far as the ethos of this web site is concerned the comparison with the Romania media is of special interest, as one feels that the Irish Times offers a good template for comparison.

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Herta Müller – the Journey to the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature:

October 19th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE


Herta Muller.05 Herta Müller (born in 1953) is an unusual choice for a Nobel prize for several reasons, some of which create, of necessity, controversy and heated debates not just in Germany, her adoptive country, but in Romania too – her country of birth.

Müller is ‘unusual’ because she is only the 12th female to get the Nobel for Literature in the last one hundred years: She also happens to come from a small and much troubled German ethnic minority from the province of Banat known as Suabian Germans (Schwaben Deutsche).

Furthermore, not since the Nobel Prize was given to Solzhenytsyn that such an accolade had been awarded to a writer who focussed on the repression under dictatorship in Eastern Europe and for this reason alone this event is significant.

ceausescu-china-1971196601- Finally, from the Romanian perspective, Müller comes from a country which lives badly the complex of being a ‘small country’ (like Belgium, or Ireland, or perhaps even the Basque Country – Euskal Herria), little understood and much misunderstood. At least through her literary output Müller could change this perception: being nominated for the Nobel Prize, puts Romania on the map in a very different way from the past stereotypes, of vampires, orphanages, human trafficking, trampling on human rights and more. Today and for the past twenty years since the end of Nicolae Ceausescu, the cobbler-dictator, dubbed by its sycophants ‘the Genius of the Carpathians’ (oh, yes…) modern Romania finds itself at the horns of a dilemma: that is not so much HOW TO CONFRONT one’s historic past and assume it, but rather HOW TO BURY this past. In this context Müller is a trouble-maker because she puts the finger on it and confronts headlong those in a position to make a CHANGE. yet are lacking the moral fibre to carry it out: Müller is the girl who kicked the hornet’s nest!

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Poetry in Translation (LXV): Valeriu GAFENCU (1921-1952) – Poet of Romanian Prisons

October 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Poetry, Translations


Valeriu GAFENCU, 1921- 1952

(rendered in English by Constantin ROMAN)

My battered soul lives an eternal bliss
A lily’s flower in the Eden’s Garden
Its open chalice with a petal rim
Is holding tears and drops of holy water
For the redemption of Thy godly kiss.

When evil men will slander and abuse me
Their boiling anger, hatred will be pouring
The flower’s chalice will be overflowing
To cool the embers of my burning body
As Jesus Christ will cast on me His mercy.


Pray, do not cry that I will be departing
Or that a rubbish heap will be my grave
With criminals a common pit I’ll brave
My life-long dreams the highest cost excising
Of a Golgotha on a martyr’s trail.
Under a heavy cross I stoop in silence
As from above archangels sent from Heaven
Will steel my humble spirit with Thy Faith.
From the defeat I’ll wrench the prize of Glory
To glisten gently in your sunshine rays.
As Christ the King will keep my creed unshaken

The shoots of wheat will come to life again

To celebrate with you eternal Grace.

(English version: Constantin Roman © 2009. All Rights Reserved)

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Nobel prize Winner – Exorting Romania to be honest about its Communist Past

October 8th, 2009 · Comments Off on Nobel prize Winner – Exorting Romania to be honest about its Communist Past · Diaspora, PEOPLE

Herta MUELLER 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature (Romanian-born German from the Banat of Timisoara, living in Berlin) ——————————————————————————————— Herta Müller has a sharp sense of realities, as demonstrated in her article published in Tagesspeil of 17 July 2008, which is echoed by the Frankfurter Rundschau: “It is a scandal that Romania put forward as its […]

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