#trumpspeak

Lies are now called “alternative facts“.

#trumpspeak

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My blogging year 2016 – some statistics

This was my blogging year 2016 in a few numbers (in brackets the figures for 2015):

Posts total: 92 (87) – +5.7%
Posts in English: 57 (71) – -19.8%
Posts in German: 25 (15) – +66.7%
Posts in Bulgarian: 10 (1) – +1000%
Number of unique visitors: 46,049 (38,331) – +20.1%
Number of visits: 117,916 (94,639) – +24.2%
Number of visited pages: 609,624 (300,456) – +102.9%
Number of page hits: 803,912 (580,619) – +38.5%
Number of countries of location of visitors: 181 (164) – +20.4%
Top five countries page hits: USA, China, Germany, Russia, Ukraine (USA, Albania, Germany, France, Ukraine)
Number of FB followers: 586 (478) – +22.6%
Number of Twitter followers: 1149 (1026) – +12%
Most popular blog post: The Devil Within (A case of revisionism)
Original language of the reviewed/mentioned book: Bulgarian 100 (25), English 49 (10), German 40 (49), Albanian 10 (0), French 7 (7), Serbian 5 (1), Japanese 4 (1), Spanish 2 (2), Yiddish 2 (1), Russian 1 (4), Indonesian 1 (3), Arabic 1 (2), Dutch 1 (2), Italian 1 (1), Romanian 1 (0), Turkish 1 (0)

All the best and a Happy New Year 2017 to all readers!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Georgi Markov – a footnote on a recent edition

I am reading right now (in Bulgarian) a three-volume edition of the essays of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who is for me one of the most remarkable Eastern European intellectuals of the time between the end of WWII and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately he is in the West mainly known for the fact that he was assassinated in a rather bizarre way by a hit-man in the service of the Bulgarian State Security, and not for his work and the brilliant analysis of the Bulgarian and other regimes in Eastern Europe.

The edition contains many essays that are – according to the information in the books – published here for the first time in print, and it is remarkable how fresh and highly relevant these essays that are at least four decades old, are today. A fact that says also something very unpleasant about the situation in Bulgaria – still very much run by the networks of people with links to the former Bulgarian State Security and their underlings – and most other Eastern European countries.

The publisher, who brought recently among others also Varlam Shalamov, Yevgenia Ginzburg, and works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to the Bulgarian readers, has to be praised for this deed.

However, I have also to mention that the footnotes are to me very annoying. While some of them are ridiculously inadequate – is it really necessary to try to explain in two lines who Thomas Mann or Pablo Picasso were, and does the fact that the publisher added these footnotes mean that this edition is intended for an audience that is missing even an elementary Bildung? -, others are inaccurate, and even manipulative.

One example: Pablo Neruda is described in a footnote as an author that was “occupied by communist ideas”, which is clearly a strong understatement; he was in reality a Stalinist hardliner and active GPU/NKWD agent with blood on his hands; he played a big role in the Trotsky assassination, and allegedly some others, and he personally took care of deleting non-Stalinist leftists from the list of people that would be granted a place on a rescue ship and visa to Chile, people desperately trying to leave unoccupied France in 1940; Neruda knew perfectly well that his selection (I am almost tempted to write Selektion here) was in fact a death sentence for almost all of them, executed either by the Nazis, or by the assassination squads of Stalin (Victor Serge has written in detail about such murderous “intellectuals” as Neruda). The footnote about Neruda is in this context extremely misleading.

Another example is Günter Grass, who according to the footnote was a “far-left” writer. For those who don’t know it, Grass was a life-long supporter of the German Social Democrats, even when he left the party for few years out of disappointment; he wrote speeches for his close friend, Chancellor Willy Brandt, one of the most fervent German anti-Communists, and he was himself a lifelong anti-Communist. The German Social Democrats, and also Grass himself, were never “far-left”, and the footnote is either reflecting a completely uninformed editor, or is – what I don’t hope, but cannot completely dismiss as a possibility – intentionally manipulative, “far-left” being in Bulgaria a common epithet for a Communist sympathiser.

On the other hand, it is mentioned that Salvador Dali left Spain after the Civil War, but “refrained from political activities”; those who don’t know who Dali really was, might get the impression that he was an active anti-fascist who left the country to avoid persecution – while the truth is exactly the opposite: he showed a servile attitude towards the dictator Franco and open sympathies for fascism, and he had even the bad taste to (figuratively speaking) spit on the grave of his former best friend Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by Dali’s new friends. There was a reason why Max Ernst crossed the street when he got sight of Dali during his emigration, and it was not only for artistic reasons that he didn’t want to face his shameless plagiarist!

Unfortunately, all intellectuals with sympathies for the (democratic) left seem to be described in a way similar to Grass, while in cases of intellectuals or artists with fascist sympathies a sudden amnesia seems to have taken hold of the editors. 

But not only when it comes to Western artists and intellectuals, this edition goes astray; almost all Bulgarian authors – most of them household names for the readers of this edition; even the famous Blaga Dimitrova has her two-line resume – have a footnote; only Lyubomir Levchev, a key figure of Bulgarian literary life in the time of Communism is not worthy(?) of a footnote. This gifted poet, a close friend of Markov while the later dissident was still living in Bulgaria, who made a career as an orthodox Communist literary functionary, played for example a very active role in the persecution and partly expulsion of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria in the 1980’s (euphemistically called “Revival process” by the Communists), a role in which he seems to take pride until today.

I doubt very much that the missing footnote for Lyubomir Levchev was an editorial oversight (I have privately my suspicion for which reason the footnote is missing), and this missing footnote, together with the other inadequate, wrong, and manipulative footnotes decrease my pleasure in this otherwise great and valuable edition very much. I hope that this edition will see many reprints, and that many especially young Bulgarians will read it – but with more appropriate and correct footnotes!

Георги Марков: До моя съвременник; Ненаписаната българска харта; Ходенето на българина по мъките (3 volumes), Communitas Foundation, Sofia 2015-2016

My remarks are mainly based on the first of the three volumes, which I have finished so far.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Kiril Vasilev: Bann

Bann 

Ausscheidungen von küchenschaben
auf dem weissen einband des buchs
mit gedichten von Paul Celan

das nichts getrennt durch punkte
und wieder verbunden durch kommata
vor den worten und danach

ich stellte das buch wieder hinter den schrank
nun lasst uns darüber streiten ob die erlösung
unsere stimmen überdauern wird

———————————————————–

Заклинание

Изпражнения на хлебарки
върху бялата корица на книга
със стихове на Паул Целан

нищото разделено с точки
и свързано отново със запетайки
преди думите и след тях

върнах книгата зад шкафа
нека  спорът за спасението
да надживее гласовете ни
 

Übersetzung aus dem Bulgarischen von Thomas Hübner

Kiril Vasilev: Provintsii, Small Stations Press, London Sofia 2015 

© Kiril Vasilev and Small Stations Press, 2015.
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A brief review of 2016 and outlook for 2017

It’s kind of unavoidable: the year comes to an end, and everybody and his grandmother are looking back to sum up the last year and to make a kind of forecast for 2017. So do I.

On the plus side, I am alive and kicking and intend to be around also next year. No major health issues, family and close friends are o.k. Anything additional is an undeserved bonus.

In telegram style: first book translated by me, first book published in our small publishing house, plenty more high-quality books to be published in the pipeline, reading as usual, blogging less than last year; wrapping up my consulting project with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Kosovo and preparing to start something new in another country whose name starts with Mo- (which means I will start to learn another exotic language), not much travelling apart from the Balkans and Germany – there will be more though next year (Indonesia, here I come again!).

On the minus side, the world is not a particularly cheerful place these days, and I am expecting for next year a further deterioration of the international situation. It looks as if Doomsday is much nearer as I thought last year at this time. But there is always a chance that my forecast proves to be wrong…

Thanks to my family and friends for their kindness, friendship, love. May you have – against all odds – a blessed 2017! Love you!

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Krasimir Vardiev: erstickte worte

erstickte worte
rauchwolken
nasse straßen
trübe schatten
vage klänge
was fehlt
über die stille hinaus
ich will
jemanden berühren
fühlen mir einprägen
gib mir feuer
sei mein licht
im dunkel
nur für eine weile


задушаващи думи
димни завеси
мокри улици
мътни сенки
смътни звуци
недостигащи
отвъд мълчанието
искам да докосна
почуствам запомня
някого
дай ми огънче
бъди ми светлина
в мрака
само за малко 

———————————————–

Übersetzung aus dem Bulgarischen von Thomas Hübner

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Krasimir Vardiev: s(r)amota, DA, Sofia 2016

© Krasimir Vardiev and DA Publishers, 2016.
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

News from Retardistan (9)

The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture in Sofia hosts an exhibition room that is very suitable for art exhibitions, and indeed it could be a good, central place to showcase artworks by various contemporary artists.

I remember that the last time I paid a visit to the premises, there was an exhibition with works of Vezhdi Razhidov, a sculptor and painter of modest talent. What annoyed me was not that such a – in my opinion – unremarkable artist was given exhibition space in the Ministry of Culture, but the fact that this artist is – the Bulgarian Minister of Culture himself. He uses this space obviously to promote himself and thus trying to increase the market value of his artworks by exhibiting in the Ministry that he seems to consider as his quasi-private property. That a Minister is using government resources or even premises of the government to promote his own business activities would cause a major scandal, and even investigations by the relevant authorities about misuse of taxpayers’ money in probably any other country; there can be no doubt that such a Minister could not remain in office after such a blatant show of disrespect of elementary rules of political integrity and misuse of governmental resources for private profit-oriented purposes. But there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister.

Some time later, the big opening exhibition of the expensively renovated former Museum of Foreign Art (now part of the National Gallery) took place. As I wrote in my blog post about this exhibition, there were quite a lot of major complaints to make about this exhibition. One of them was related to the fact, that the only living artist representing the period after 1989 in this exhibition was (with two of his works), the Minister of Culture, Mr. Vezhdi Razhidov. Again, the host used his governmental position to promote his artwork, in order to increase his market value. Again, there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister. 

One of these days, I have been again accidentally passing by the Ministry of Culture. And what do I see? The windows of the exhibition room are decorated right now with three big posters that advertise three art exhibitions of works of Minister Razhidov. Again, the host used his governmental position to promote his artwork, in order to increase his market value. Again, there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister. 

I guess these small but symptomatic observations give you an idea regarding the state of cultural policy in Bulgaria.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Krasimir Vardiev: varna 3

varna 3
 
varna
ist keine stadt
sondern ein zustand
den du
vergessen willst
und nicht kannst

—————————————

варна 3
 
варна
не е град
а състояние
да искаш
да забравиш
и да не можеш


Übersetzung aus dem Bulgarischen von Thomas Hübner

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Krasimir Vardiev: s(r)amota, DA, Sofia 2016

© Krasimir Vardiev and DA Publishers, 2016.
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

News from Retardistan (8)

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s the credo of the overwhelming part of the Bulgarian anti-Communists – or possibly the part that makes the most noise. They seem to repeat this sentence to themselves like a mantra again and again.

You are a racist, an anti-Semite, a xenophobe, a revisionist, a fascist, a Nazi, a paid mouthpiece of a media tycoon, a scumbag that sends people with other opinions, or that oppose your lies and propaganda, death threats (either personally or via some of your more “robust” friends, who will let your enemy know that they will shoot him in the neck, or alternatively “break every single bone of his body”) – all is forgiven and forgotten as long as you are a good anti-Communist that condones the murder of a Russian diplomat and who is waiting rather hopefully for the assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Bulgaria, in order to organize a big feast and celebrate the future killer with poems. Dozens of “likes” in social media for your gleeful murder apology will be the consequence in Bulgaria, whereas in pluralistic and more democratic countries with a functioning law enforcement the penal code and the application of its instruments would be the result of such an outburst of depravity.

As long as the democratic anti-Communists don’t draw a clear line between themselves and SA-type “intellectuals” of the extremist right that would gladly practice any kind of violence against their enemies, if they just wouldn’t be such pathetic and impotent cowards, as long as the democratic right doesn’t draw this line, there will be no hope for the development of a democratic and pluralistic society in Bulgaria, and the never-ending story of “transition” and execution of the power by mafia groups will go on and on…

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Krasimir Vardiev: unsichtbar

unsichtbar
 
du sagst
dass es leichter ist sich zu schneiden
am papier
in diesem haus der stumpfen messer
und der aus allen ecken
sprießenden bücher
ich sage
dass es leichter ist
 
du sagst
dass du sterben kannst
vor lauter faulheit
es gibt wenig platz
und schon wieder ist es staubig
ich sage
dass ich sterben kann
 
du sagst
dass es zeit ist dass dein leben
irgendwohin führt
du verschwendest dich
vollkommen vergeblich
an deine und der leute
launen
und an einige bastarde
ich sage
dass es zeit ist
 
so reden wir
schon lange
und irgendwie
sind wir froh
dass nichts
sich geändert hat
unsichtbar zufrieden

—————————————————–
 

невидимо

казваш
по-лесно е да се порежеш
на хартия
в тази къща с тъпи ножове
и извиращи книги
от ъглите
казвам по-лесно е
 
казваш
може да умреш
от мързел само
мястото е малко
и пак е прашасало
казвам
може да умра
 
казваш
време е животът ти
да поеме нанякъде
пилееш се твърде
и напразно
по свои и хорски
приумици
и за разни гадове
казвам
време е
 
така си говорим
отдавна
и сме доволни
някак
че нищо
не се променя
невидимо доволни


Übersetzung aus dem Bulgarischen von Thomas Hübner

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Krasimir Vardiev: s(r)amota, DA, Sofia 2016

© Krasimir Vardiev and DA Publishers, 2016.
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.