I am a descendent of Polish serfs. This is the opening sentence of an essay on Naipaul I've recently submitted to one of those Romanian journals of mine (I hope they publish it soon). What I evoke there is my bookless childhood, and the way how I came (parallel to Naipaul's A Writer's People) to have any idea of literature whatsoever. Yet another consequence of my being a descendent of Polish serfs is the fact that for many years I had great difficulty in throwing anything whatsoever that might still prove useful. A supermarket bag, for example.
This is also the reason why I could make the unusual discovery that I actually made on my balcony. I possess there a triple bookstand with a triple glass door bought in Ikea some twenty years ago. This is where I keep my papers that might still prove useful. And which I eternally try to get rid of.
It is with considerable surprise that I found there a vintage collection of issues of "Gazeta Wyborcza", some of them as old as 2001 and 2003. To celebrate the fact that I religiously kept them for the last 20 years, I decided to read them.
They make indeed quite an enlightening reading, almost like a time machine taking me back to the beginning of everything, to the time before Poland even entered the European Union (2004). It really makes me think, it gives me a perspective. How we could put ourselves in the state we are (jak można było doprowadzić się do takiego stanu).
"Gazeta Wyborcza" was at its best those twenty years ago. I would say it was making quite an unusual newspaper, without an exact equivalent in Europe. It was a cultured journal, full of history, literature, and politics, and ideas. Paying more attention to religion than any newspaper in Europe would. Trying to capture, explain and cultivate values. Publishing memories of people who went to the theatre to see Konrad Swinarski's Dziady 10, and 20, and 30 times over and over again. Reflecting on what our European becoming might be. Organizing those memorable actions that aimed at educating the Poles linguistically ("Polish your English") and improving significant healthcare circumstances ("Rodzić po ludzku").
As I look back on it, I see clearly how it cultivated the Pole of today. There is a well-known, yet curious paradox in recent Polish history: the existence of two brothers, one of them the editor of the main opposition newspaper that "Gazeta Wyborcza" is, and the other one the author of the propagandistic tool that public television has become. It is thus easy to defend that together, they actually made the Pole of today. But of course, this is a matter of recent years, my vintage issues of "Gazeta Wyborcza" are much, much older.
Reading my "Wyborcza" time machine, I realise the shortcomings of this enterprise that was glorious in many ways. Its geographic horizons, for example. The widened worldview signified that it was essentially busy with regional reality, with some sort of Mitteleuropa or Middle-Eastern Europe (our own mythical Europa Środkowo-Wschodnia) with blurred frontiers, stretching to the Balkans and to Russia. The news from Western Europe was significantly scarcer, and they give me the feeling of distance. The news from other parts of the world was dictated by major conflicts, major events that simply couldn't be ignored; but they never occupied an entire page, contrary to the domestic and Mitteleuropean in-depth essays, that sometimes stretched over two pages, up to two and a half. But very little or nothing was coming from that distant world in terms of first-hand ideas, except, very occasionally, a translated article by Edward Said. The peculiar geography of "Gazeta Wyborcza" can be detected relatively easily. But it is only a metaphor for the peculiar geography of ideas, that also had its own blurred and relatively narrow frontiers. Yes, with all the richness of content and ideas, it all turned around just a couple of rather conservative points of view not far from home.
This is how "Gazeta Wyborcza" managed to occupy the place that it occupied in Polish culture: a must of the intelligentsia. But the status came at a price: "Gazeta Wyborcza" never challenged the worldview of Polish intelligentsia; it preserved and protected its self-satisfaction. And it was a class surviving and perpetuating, under the communist regime, on sheer cultivation of the national culture, for only universal content having Greco-Roman antiquity. Perhaps because all the effort of bringing the diversity of the world closer to Polish readers (yes, it had been done) was put under the auspices of communist internationalism. This fact gave the intelligentsia an excuse not to digest it.
When History turned the page, "Gazeta Wyborcza" still made it easy for the Polish intelligentsia to avoid the discomfort of confrontation with the world. Just like the other Kurski's public television offered to the popular audience the world to live in, with their favorite disco-polo stars and without the discomfort of questioning or ambivalence. And this is how, reading the intelligent "Gazeta Wyborcza" or just passively staring at the TV, the Poles remained in that Middle-Eastern Europe of their own, and the true Europe is a transatlantic that slowly departs (has already departed) from their wharf. Being given a free ticket, they didn't even claim their place onboard.
I'm nostalgic of that "Gazeta Wyborcza" twenty years ago, of our fleeting European spring, of being young at the time of those great expectations. Now I'm mature, and far away from that unlucky Middle-Eastern European wharf. At least mentally. And just once, I must agree with Kaczyński: they have never been truly European. There has always been a cultural difference. A gap that is just a bit too large to jump across. And it never occurred to anyone to build a bridge. Oh no, those people of "Gazeta Wyborcza" truly wanted to build a bridge, plenty of bridges. It's just that their engineering proved to be somehow flawed. Too fragile, falling short of reaching the opposite shore.
The first PiS government took office in 2006, only two years after the access of Poland to the European Union.
As the bleakness of summer goes on, I return to a book I have read early in my life, in the last years before the Polish transformation. It could be some time around 1988, just to give the idea. I suppose the Berlin Wall was still standing, but the wind of change was already blowing, bringing an unprecedented appetite for eroticism in Polish society. At the time, a little greyish book was printed on the cheapest paper: Wyznania chińskiej kurtyzany. Obviously, it was a best-seller, moving Polish imagination into hitherto unexplored horizons. A few years ago, I got a new edition of it, by nostalgia (W świecie wiatru i wierzb: Wyznania chińskiej kurtyzany, Warszawa: Świat Książki, 2012). Now, as I decided to pack it in my new transport of unwanted books destined to enrich the book room of Narol, or any other countryside library in Eastern Poland, I start to muse on this mysterious text, published without any indication of authorship - although there is a name of a supposed translator and editor: Jerzy Chociłowski. Checking his Wikipedia entrance, I see that Wyznania are mentioned as a translation from English, in 1987. Not unimportantly, a few years later, in 1994, Jerzy Chociłowski appears also as one of the translators of Kwiaty śliwy w złotym wazonie, which is obviously the famous Chinese classic (Jin Ping Mei, usually referred as The Plum in the Golden Vase). Nonetheless, Chociłowski is mentioned as one of the translators from Chinese(!). Could this journalist, who graduated in law at the University of Warsaw, know Chinese?
On the other hand, the presumable author of Wyznania, by the name Miao Sing, is absent from any source. Could the book be a forgery, just as the Wyznania chińskiej kurtyzany: Tortury miłości, in 1990, supposedly published/edited/translated/authored(?) by Witold Jabłoński, together with Maciej Świerkocki? The only books by Miao Sing (1926-...) on Amazon are these two texts in Polish. On the other hand, I find the indication that the original of Wyznania chińskiej kurtyzany is a text under the title Marvellous Pleasure, published in 1969. Nonetheless, I find no further notice of such a novel on Google.
One thing is certain, the book has nothing in common with the 1972 Hong Kong movie under the title Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan. The film focuses on martial arts as much as sex (lesbian and otherwise). In any case, the brothel of the Four Seasons was a scene of murder and the subsequent police action. In contrast, the Polish Wyznania chińskiej kurtyzany is as peaceful and harmonious a text as an imagination at peace with the patriarchal order could ever invent. There is the Japanese occupation in the background, and at a given moment the Japanese shoot two Chinese clients right there in the elegant brothel, only to die under the revengeful hairpin of one of the courtesans. But overall, the book is dedicated to sex, and sex alone, that becomes the target of systematic study, inspired by the Taoist search for immortality. A lot of attention is dedicated to the sources of yin and yang, in any case.
As my search for Miao Sing is vain, I try to make a close reading of the text looking for any hints. The confessions are supposedly produced by the old courtesan in various locations in and around London over endless cups of Chinese tea. Various kinds and types are mentioned, undoubtedly to enhance the attractiveness of the text; the female protagonists are connoisseurs in this as they are in sex. At a given moment, the interlocutors admire the Cutty Sark, presumably the fastest of ships bringing tea from China to England, which is now a tourist attraction in Greenwich. At least my new copy, published in 2012, mentions that the tea is a fair trade one. I wonder if such a mention also existed in the version published in 1987, when the idea was completely unknown in Poland (although the fair trade movement took shape in the 1960s). In 1987, in Poland, the tea that people used to appreciate was coming from Georgia, as far as I remember, and the trade, under the auspices of the Soviet regime, could only be fair. Most of those tea types mentioned in the text, even the Pu-erh tea, would be a mark of hardly understandable exoticism for most Polish readers. Is thus the book really a translation, and Miao Sing doesn't appear on Google simply because the literary value of the text is so low that it didn't open the gates of posterity to her/him? Somehow, I don't feel convinced. Perhaps because this text is so organically connected with my memory of the late communism in Poland, its specific longings and fascinations. The China Town of London could be just a valid object of it. And that the book, overall, is not as naïve as those of Zbigniew Nienacki, around the same time? Maybe the author(s) were simply more intelligent. This is why the old courtesan's interlocutor makes her shopping in Harrods and acquires Jeanne Lanvin's La Rose perfume, as well as Burberry trench for her husband. On sale, for a third of the price. And then... Gosh!
-- To pani nie wie, że Harrodsa kupił ten Arab z Egiptu?
-- Tak jest. Zgroza. Ale kiedy synek tego Araba...
-- Tak właśnie. Dodi. Kiedy się zabił w aucie razem z Dianą...
Well, definitely, this is not a translation of a novel published in 1969. Neither is this a faithful reprint of the late communist classic. Rather, Miao Sing was a sort of postmodern project, a work-in-progress (including also a next-generation novel, Uczennica chińskiej kurtyzany, by the presumable Liu Sing, written by the same tandem of authors, Witold Jabłoński and Maciej Świerkocki, in 1991). It was completely omitted, as far as I know, in Polish literary studies. The original courtesan of 1987 had the greatest repercussion, at least at the level of popular awareness concerning sexuality and eroticism; it contributed to change Poland and Polish provincial, obscurantist mentality; it opened new horizons upon things hitherto unspeakable and unimaginable (even if hardly anyone doubted that the book speaks of China, and its metaphorical way of approaching sex and speaking of it is profoundly and authentically Chinese). Nonetheless, the 2012 version with the death of Diana had no reception whatsoever; the book was nothing but the cheapest pornographic page-turner. The metadimension of postmodern mystification has been completely overlooked.
And here I am, in Poland, that makes me poor in the end. This last month or so, I've survived mostly on borsch, but today I've resigned from buying beetroots; at almost 1 euro a kg, they are too expensive, in my appreciation. One euro, it should be a kg of oranges, in that Europe of mine, not just beetroots in Poland.
Overall, I am down to the staple food of Eastern Europe: buckwheat groats, beetroots, and bread with sugar. From the list, buckwheat, beetroots, and bread are out of acceptable prices. The sugar is the cane one, in tiny paper bags, that I brought from an elegant coffee shop, at better times. Good I've never lost the poverty habit of stuffing my pockets with spare sugar bags.
Time to return to Lisbon. I have a ticket for a KLM flight to Lisbon on 1st March; I exchanged it against a voucher they gave me as compensation for a flight that had been cancelled at the beginning of the Plague. And I have projects. A research project concerning Adamic restitution, and more than this. I'm thinking about writing a book in English, a thick book, a synthesis of all what I learned about Portugal during those years, and of what I wrote about Portugal in Polish. I even have a title: "Empire and Nostalgia. A History of Portuguese Culture". It sounds like the title of my old book in 2015 ("Imperium i nostalgia"...), so I would probably have to change it later on, but it serves me for now. But I will keep the structure (something and something). I am currently reading a similar book, The Icon and the Axe, by James H. Billington, a 1966 history of Russian culture. It inspires me; it reads so well, it is still so insightful. I like books that age well.
This is why I would like to write something similar about Portugal, over some 500 dense pages. I think it's feasible, after Mgławica Pessoa, and after all those former books, like Terytorium a świat. Alternatively, I also think about a book that would deal exclusively with Portuguese Renaissance, a long Renaissance that would stretch till the end of António Vieira's life, and the evacuation of Mazagao. With all those adventures around the globe, including missions in China and in Japan, it might also fill 500 dense pages.
Which of the two? I don't need to decide right now, I could just open a new file, and start extracting and translating into English whatever was worth having in my old Terytorium. I still have two boxes of notes I made at the time I was working on that book.
Something and Something. A History of Early-Modern Portuguese Culture.
I spent most of my Christmas thinking about my crooked career, and comparing. I really don't know if I'm still thinking about returning to Poland, about claiming my place at any of its universities. Patiently, year after year, Christmas after Christmas, I still need to convince myself it is not possible.
So I was reading the CVs and the long lists of publications of those who died, and of those who are alive. What did they manage to achieve, when I was flying around among all those different planets of France, Netherlands, etc. In some moments, I just felt my breath cut; I have no name for the emotion, just its physiological translation. My breath cut, like a computer that suddenly froze. It is such an unnamed sensation to see how they reached the peak of their careers: profesor z tytułem honorowym zwyczajnego, that's what I read on the official website of my old institute. This is what I could have been. Profesor z tytułem honorowym zwyczajnego.
And what about those who had been removed, discyplinarnie, without any honour?
This is why my breath is cut.
This is mostly about those colleagues who are older than me. But there are also those younger. It is sad to see those boys, professors' sons, reputed so talented in their youth. I catch myself still thinking about one of them as "the boy", eternally hemmed in his Gombrowiczean synostwo, for he was not even ashamed to claim that he was there to "replace his father" ("w zastępstwie ojca", he was telling this quite overtly, in full letters - at the time, my breath was cut as well, for this is very far from the rules and usages of modern universities, and sounds much more medieval than an imam from a North-African madrasa coming to Leiden to discuss the styles of Quranic recitation). "The boy", I say, but the years go by, and he must be almost 38 now, and I wonder if he will ever be a professor like his father. Or he will remain stuck.
I see them stuck, at the Jagiellonian University. On different stages of their careers, but it is as if something went wrong with the institution, as if the triage stopped, and a sort of false equality were established. This is why, in my old institute, I can see eight professors.
So where is my place in all that? I don't see myself as the ninth als ob professor, paid less than the minimum wage in western Europe, and eternally condemned to that hostel on the Leidseplein, to those travels on Flixbus. For I will be old one day, and that day is not as far as I would like it to be.
I gather all the insight I can about the lives of those who are dead. Like Bauman, like Kołakowski. Those people like me, pushed out of the same university, the same country, under circumstances that are only apparently different. I've read Walicki's autobiography already, some time ago. I try to understand their strategy, their secret and their luck. They didn't make such great careers as many people believe. Kołakowski was senior research fellow till the end of his life in Oxford, sort of collateral staff.
But still, among different miseries of the old age, better to be senior research fellow in Oxford than professor z tytułem honorowym zwyczajnego in Kraków.
And I remember that old Polish series, "Alternatywy 4", where there was that funny docent, the hunter, searching for the way of becoming a professor. "No właśnie nadzwyczajnego chciałem przeskoczyć", he was explaining to a lady looking at him in admiration and awe. I was employed as nadzwyczajny for 12 years. What I would like to przeskoczyć is "z tytułem honorowym"; I would prescind the honour, and go direct to the meritum.
Searching so desperately for the way, he became a hunter; in those old times, hunting with the party officials and other important people of the kind might have effectively been The Way. I think auto-ironically about my own falconer episode. But of course...
Is it all but a circus? An eternal "Alternatywy 4", that in spite of History, and in spite of the European Union, we still inhabit? Also myself, as much as my colleagues?
This is perhaps the first reason why I search for a way out. A way out, first of all, of my own mental maze, out of my own attachment to this structure in which I have no place to claim.
I desperately search for something real, serious, for hard facts, hard achievements and hard recognition, for anything at all that would be outside this sphere of illusion. I would like to find a way to my hard seriousness.
Christmas in Poland is no longer what it used to be. The Christmas tree I have this year is good, it is thick, with plenty of tiny branches, and smells nice. But there was practically no fish, just a slice, packed in plastic. Carp, nonetheless, should be eaten fresh, killed ritualistically, with a sharp knife, like on Hieronymus Bosch's painting.
Overall, the food is bad, and I refuse to buy at those exorbitant prices. I refuse to pay in Biedronka MORE than I used to pay in the Auchan at Cergy Prefecture. Because it is simply not just.
So my Christmas in Poland lacked many things. I was expecting local delicacies, but of those there was none. I ate a dead forelle; I guess that at some moment, retired from the pools when they are grown, they ARE fresh, even in Poland(?). Perhaps their Catholic beliefs prevent the Poles from eating the fish fresh, I don't know. Apparently, there was a saint who, being given a fresh herring, used to put it aside, and eat only when it became foul-smelling enough to fit his level of ascetic practice...
And I think of my last Christmas, in Paris, with its fallow deer, and crocodile, and wines, and exotic fruits coming from New Caledonia. As if it were on another planet.
Everyone is tired, deadly tired. Tired of scandals, of reading eternally the same kind of news, even tired of power. I am tired of that eternal fight against my own being-here, being-in-this. Tired of fighting against this invisible net that overwhelms me. Tired of lacking a different life.
We had been in Holland, two weeks, my husband and I, right before the beginning of that new lockdown. There, the fish was fresh, and the lemon was sour, just as it used to be on their paintings. The Hague was like on a Christmas movie, only lacking a tiny veil of snow. There is snow here. Rare, interesting. Who knows, it could be one of my last snowy Christmas. My last Christmas in Poland. It's possible. In one year, a lot of things may happen. Next year I could be somewhere. In Queensland, or New Zealand. Till next Christmas so many things may be different.
I'm tired of falling eternally into the same shitty hole. The hole that becomes shittier and shittier as the years go by.
I feel like nothing happens in my life, there is no change, the stagnation is overwhelming. In my life! I know, I have no right to complain. Whose life is dynamic, if mine is not? But I need bigger change, a game-changing change, a breakthrough.
The world falling apart around me, and I circle around in my place like a panther in her cage, singing that old, murky Joy Division standard: Love, love will tear us apart, again...
And I slowly read that modern classic: Burhan al-'asal.
Oh, the supreme wisdom of the East! The wisdom of Omar Khayyam, and so many imams of the Golden Age.
It is Autumn again, my favourite love season, warm, melancholic, murky, silent, apart of my muffled screams. Oh, the season of lovers who are truly circumcised in their hearts!
This is my return to the source, in a world where things fall apart. Where victories turn into choking ashes, where Europe is a transatlantic that ponderously departs from our (their) wharf.
My cunt the centre of the widening gyre, and I'm immersed in heavenly ecstasies.
I was once a professor in Poland.
I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills.
وَأَينَ ما حازَهُ قارونُ من ذَهَبٍ
وَأَينَ عادٌ وَشدّادٌ وَقَحطانُ
-- Frisch weht der Wind der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind, wo weilest du?
-- En orien vei l´estella creguda
qu´eu l´ai ben coneguda.
There is nothing more common in world literature than loss, an end, and exile, and widening gyre, and way of no return; such things have been expressed in all languages of the humanity, those that I know and those that I ignore. Whoever had, whoever achieved, must be prepared for composing his or her own lament. On the fall of a city, on the loss of a country, on a farm in Africa, on books that burned, on black suns, on enemy armies that blocked the way home. Maybe simply on time passing by; because the time of enjoying is short, no matter the exact duration. We had thirty years. And we put an end to those thirty years with our own hands, because we could not stand that time any longer. Perhaps simply because everything decays after reaching perfection. The golden apple does not remain fresh forever. And the eastern avengers only come when the time of decay is ripe, when the apple already slips out of our own hands.
Everything that happens to me had happened to others before me. Almost to every intellectual that I can think of. To Eliade and to Cioran, and to Miłosz, and to Gombrowicz, and to Cassirer, and to Zweig, and to Auerbach, who would perhaps never become comparativist if he did not have to go to Istanbul. And to Porębowicz, about whom they say that every time he remembered his library abandoned to oriental avengers, he cried.
What does Marcus Aurelius say about such things? Is the cucumber bitter? Throw it away. Are there briars in your path? Turn aside. The paths of exile are winning solutions not for everybody, but nonetheless they are for most. They lead to many a garden of earthly delights, as I know one myself.
And here I am, to chew the bitterness of my homeland, to compose my lament, to fear the armies of the black sun, or to conclude: Et ades sera l'alba.
Many years ago, I had a Palestinian friend. I don't remember any longer what peace talks were going on at the time. But he knew, painfully, that it was a mirage. And that mirages appear precisely when we are in the middle of the most unforgiving deserts.
Apparently, the things seem to wake up in Poland. The turning of the tide, for which I was waiting a year ago, more than a year ago, seems to be nigh. But on the other hand, I see the apocalyptic rider Mendacity even prouder, more arrogant than ever, sitting so high on her red horse. I see the results of that long, patient campaign of indoctrination becoming something obvious, something people get used to, a kind of discourse in which they are almost ready to recognize some sort of essential truthfulness. Those things sank in already. Is not the woman born to suffering and subservience and humiliation? They have never truly left that enchanted sphere.
Is a normalcy still possible in Poland? We have been normal only in relative terms and only for a short span of several years. And then things recovered their usual balance.
And now they are about to quit the European Union where they never belonged. I don't read this in the official declarations, I read this in the distribution of the concepts of "here" and "there", in the implicit construction of space. I am speaking about the society in which the mere fact that someone speaks German may be used as a tool of propaganda, is used as a tool of propaganda, efficiently, because it corresponds to mental structures in people's heads. Because speaking German has a determined place in the implicit axiological constructs. Some years ago, a colleague of mine from the University of Warsaw got his face badly hit in a tramway, because he spoke German to a foreign professor. I imagine that the aggressor, a simple, but honest man, was persuaded of having done something deeply right, something eminently just. Because speaking German is bad, ungodly, it should not be tolerated. Because foreigners, aliens should not be tolerated. Difference should not be tolerated. Millions share this persuasion right now as I write these words. A patient, surreptitious work has been done to shape such persuasions, and they are hidden so deep in people's minds that it will be almost impossible to deracinate them. Such constructs are the land mines of the regime. Those lethal devices will go on exploding long after the regime is no more.
Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine unify their efforts to join the EU. A flight over endless earth, my dream. But how may the European Union stand up after such a disaster, after such a negative experience as that what happened in Poland. How there might ever be trust again? How long would it take for the Moldovans to come back to their rogue leaders again? It is a work of infinite patience, like helping an abused woman who loves tenderly her oppressor, seeks for oppression in any new man she might meet.
Certainly, there is the lure of welfare, of abundance. The same lure that attracts people from Guinea, from all across the Sub-Saharan Africa, that motivates them to take up great risks and almost superhuman efforts. The same lure of beautiful life that once attracted the Poles. But in just a few years they collapsed into their old habits. Contempt, Mendacity, Delusion. This is to what the tide turns, shall turn again and again and again. For the reminder of my life and long after my death. This is the sun that shall rise over my grave.
The country is on its way to Polexit. Well, I cannot say I did not see it coming. It's time to pack the rest of my belongings, close all affaires and go. This time it is really the foghorn of Cassirer's last ship out of Sweden. Time to leave, live that life that I saw in front of me since the very beginning, since the 1980s and 1990s. The Kingsajz.
It is striking how I recognize Poland and the deepest, the most essential Polishness in everything that happens. Their leader exclaiming "we have our own laws", how similar to my old dean, who used to claim that our faculty had its own laws. The same passion for building singularities (what we were, in Warsaw? - I think unikatowy was the adjective, for some time at least). A little fiefdom with our own little laws.
And if it happened, kept happening for years, at the best university of the country, how easy to expect to find a repercussion of the same way of thinking in a macroscale of political life.
Here, in this place. Ale czy tutaj. Bo gdzie indziej, ale tutaj. Tutaj jest inaczej. Tutaj my mamy. I had this spectacle in front of my own eyes for a decade.
Tutaj prawa nie obowiązywały. Obowiązywała wola dziekana. Kiedy chciał, wszystko mógł zmienić, nagiąć. Powszechność wyjątku. I wonder what Agamben might say about it. A permanent state of exception.
That was my faculty. That was my country. And I saw how much people were glad with it. How much they were ready to put up. They felt honoured to put up with that sort of things, with such a state of lawless exception. And if something works good enough for university professors, how could it not work for simple people? How many times I heard: to taki inteligentny człowiek. They never saw anyone more intelligent than him. The tyrant was thus legitimized. The rule of him was taken for the rule of intelligence.
Meanwhile, we were sinking in ignorance and delusion, deeply persuaded we were promoting excellent scholarship. The best in the world. The only in the world. Unikatowy. Anything similar to us was nowhere to be found.
It was unreal, like a dream. On the news, I saw a European commissaire trying to explain, and telling they will ask our government again. They will send a letter. But I know from my experience that the dean used not to open his emails. What could possibly come into his closed fiefdom from the outside world? This is why I deduce those guys won't read the letter. Not even if it were a letter in a bottle, thrown on the stormy waves of History.
I saw the European commissaire like talking behind a glass pane. Jakiś dziwny człowiek dobijał się przez szybę. Like a voice from a different reality, a different dimension, across the wall of a space bubble.
And I know there is no hope. Because the current regime is a fulfilment. They simply want to live in a permanent state of exception. People like Polish university professors. Because it gives them some sort of delusional power, some sense of control over the reality, perhaps. Że można załatwić. Że zawsze można nagiąć. That they won't be obliged to play fair in relation to those beneath them; they will be able to create dependence of those beneath, have their own subalterns. It is a system of power distribution, offering the supreme satisfaction of stepping on other people's faces, unknown to those who always lived in democracies, in partnerships, in respect.